Yellowstone: Mostly closed

Center map

The roads to the south are all iced over.

Very cold and very windy! There’s a picture perfect miniature rest stop just north of the entrance to Yellowstone. It seems few people are aware of its very existence.

I blew right through Butte and Bozeman, except for some gas.

Get outta Dodge!

There’s a marked change in the terrain in this swath of the country, with the mountains considerably more rocky and at a much greater vertical angle to those also made from uprooted sedimentary rock face.

Since their angles are steeper, I’m going to call them older than those newbies that are closer to the coast.

The pattern.

There’s a pattern to the topography as you drive west to east in the Pacific Northwest. There are great expanses of flatland valleys where livestock and crops—primarily wheat and hay—have a natural home.

And the mountains that were forged long ago by lava dot the horizon in impressive review. It’s all so pastoral and yet, the evidence of massive—and violent—changes made to the early landscape are everywhere I can look!


Pray is the tiny town just before you reach the model rest stop. The imagination reels in deciphering the origin and cogent meaning of naming your town Pray!

And just to CYA, I did say a prayer while driving through. It doesn’t take too long to traverse the whole town so, make your prayers succinct!


The entrance to Yellowstone is a large arch, giving way to the winding mountain roads I have come accustomed to.

But, the road going to the geyser (Old Faithful) is snowed out! You can get a personal guide to take you in—a process that includes miles of walking and a snow cart, whatever that is—and it will cost close to $300 for the day-long excursion.

For that price, I can see the magma feature another time—like in the summer, when I can drive right to it.

I found a little area resembling a rest stop (parking, garbage and outhouse) and stayed there for the night. The low tonight was 5° but, I’ve done that before—without a heater!

I had a rude awakening in the morning: a park Ranger knocking on my glass to tell me I can’t park there (I got a written warning in lieu of a $480 ticket!). Yeah, nice guy!

Tonight, however, the low is expected to be minus 25 degrees. I might be chickening out of that and starting my run to the south and headed to Phoenix, Arizona. It’s 60 degrees there today!

Happy trails my friends!

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