Wednesday May 31st 2017
After a week in Arco ID, today was moving day. I finished packing up and was on the road for West Yellowstone MT around ten this morning. I departed the Snake River plain for the mountains just it time to avoid the hot weather. Some of the areas on the plain were expected to have temperatures in the 90s. It topped out in the high 70s in West Yellowstone.
I had around 180 miles to travel. My route seemed simple it was following US 20 all the way to West Yellowstone. I always review the route on Google Maps ahead of time. If it is particularly complicated I will program the RVs GPS, but for simple routing it is more annoying than helpful. Today I should have had the GPS program. In Idaho Falls US 20 gets onto Interstate 15 north for one exit. I knew this routing fact from my Google Maps review. What I didn’t realize was that the exits were so close that traffic following US 20 don’t even merge in with the northbound traffic. The on ramp turns into the off ramp provided you stay in the right lane. I saw an opening and merged into the I-15 northbound traffic, only to see my exit pass by. The next exit I could use to reverse direction was a long way away. Luckily I knew there was another east west route further north that I could take east to rejoin US20. I took Idaho 33 from I-15 over to US 20. Overall it was a twenty or thirty mile detour.
Overall it wasn’t a difficult drive. The worst climb was on US20 northeast of Ashton ID. The road climbs fairly steeply in the Caribou-Targhee National Forest. It then flattens out at altitude passing through grass lands and some of the Henry Fork of the Snake River head waters. After about 20 miles it starts a gradual climb over the continental divide into Montana. I am staying at the Yellowstone Park Moutainside KOA only a short ways down from the top of Targhee Pass.
I arrived at my destination shortly after 1PM. After getting setup and having a quick lunch, I drove the seven miles into West Yellowstone. This is very much a tourist town, but that’s what I’m here for. I found the bigger of the two grocery stores in town. It is more like a combination of a convenience store, liqueur store and deli with some hardware thrown in for good measure. Luckily, all I needed was fresh bread for sandwiches. The prices were what you’d expect at an isolated mountain tourist town.
Tomorrow I’ll head into Yellowstone to see what I can see.