Day 15: 460 Miles
Total: 5,341 Miles
I mentioned in yesterday's blog that Route 20 is the "long road". It's actually the longest road in America. The route changes from time to time, but according to Wikipedia, Route 20 is 3,365 miles long. We will get at least as far as Auburn, NY. Hopefully we will have time to make it all the way to Boston. There are always trade-offs though. We spent quite a bit of time today on side trips. We could drive faster and miss some things now, or we can take our time and possibly miss some things later.
We had a good night’s sleep in Mountain Home last night, and we managed to get on the road at about 9:30. The scenery in Idaho improved dramatically at this point with beautiful sweeping vistas.
After a while the landscape changed again and we found the Craters of the Moon National Monument & Preserve. We spent about a half hour there wandering around the landscape created by volcanic eruptions and lava flow. Very unusual and interesting.
After that the landscape changed again. It was flat farmland; pleasant enough, but not really any different than anywhere else. As we approached the west entrance to Yellowstone National Park, the mountains of Montana and Wyoming loomed in the distance. The jaunt through Montana was exactly 12 miles, including the first mile of Yellowstone itself. Can’t say that what we saw was spectacular, but I’ve been to Montana before and this little corner isn’t really representative of it.
As we moved into Wyoming inside the park we were struck by the huge patches of dying and dead evergreens throughout. The mountains, rivers and lakes were really marred by the destruction. Nonetheless, there was also some very beautiful scenery. It often made you forget the dead trees everywhere.
And of course you can't go to Yellowstone and miss seeing Old Faithful. We arrived, and as if on cue it erupted in all of its glory. A very impressive sight.
Upon leaving the park via the east gate which is a continuation of Route 20, it was starting to get to be early evening. We intended to get to bed early tonight so we didn't want to drive much further. The next good-sized town was Cody, Wyoming, so we decided to drive the 50 or so miles and find a place to stay. Upon hitting town we saw signs showing that the rodeo was in town. We worried that we might not find a room but our concern was unwarranted. We found space at the first place we tried, the King's Inn. It is the most expensive place we have stayed so far on our trip. It isn't particularly fancy but it's nice. After a good night's rest we'll explore the rest of Wyoming tomorrow, and perhaps some of Nebraska too.