A Trip Across the USA
Jon Vermilye's Photo Page

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May 6 - Tetons to Yellowstone

We got an early start, but the light wasn't any better on the mountains than yesterday so we didn't spend too much time in the Tetons. I did take a photo of Carol & the car in front of the mountains just to prove we were there.

One of the best things about both the Tetons & Yellowstone has been the lack of people. The last time we were here was in August, and the roads & attractions were backed up. I know everyone wants to see their National Parks, but May gives you a much more pleasant experience.

The South gate to Yellowstone opened for the year this morning at 8:00; we went through around 10:00. Lucky for us since it was scheduled for the 15th. I don't think it was the snow keeping the it closed; the roads were clean. They are rebuilding a section, and a very rough section was one lane only with our "follow me" truck weaving in & out construction equipment. They often had to move the bucket of a backhoe to let us through. Very little was open, but again, very little traffic. We did get the chance to see buffalo & elk, but no bears (they are probably still on vacation). Even "Old Faithful didn't seem up to snuff, but I included a photo anyway...

We are staying in Bozeman, MT tonight, and plan to spend some time over the nest few days exploring areas of Idaho that we haven't seen before. It's graduation day for the University of Montana at Bozeman, so rooms are hard to find. We eventually lucked out & found a room at the Rainbow Inn on 7th Ave. Even AAA approved!


Us at the Tetons
Waiting for the "Follow Me" Truck
Mom & the Kid
One in a Field of 75
Stopping Traffic
Elk Cooling His Heels


Old Faithful


May 7 - Through Missoula & Into Idaho

The time has come! LAUNDRY! We kept putting it off, but it became essential today. Stopped at the Main Street laundry in Bozeman, MT & did 2 double loads. We are now back where we started, at least as far as our clothes go. That gave us a late start, but since we are well ahead of schedule, no problem. At Karin & Brian's suggestion, we took MT Route 1 (also called 10A). It cuts through some mountains, along a couple of lakes, one of which is the only full one we have seen in the West. The current drought seems to have hit Colorado, Wyoming & Montana quite hard. Some areas have had less than average precipitation for the last 7 years! We arrived in Missoula, MT around 3:00PM.

We have been driving more miles per day than I estimated, and don't need the extra two days I put in the schedule - just in case. Since we arrived at Missoula a few days early, and Karin & Brian are out of town at a wedding, we decided to continue on & see parts of Idaho that we haven't seen before, and won't be seeing on the rest of the trip. So, we took US 12 out of Missoula through the Lolo Pass into Idaho & a new time zone. Once in Idaho, Route 12 is called the Lewis & Clark Highway. Those guys must have covered every square inch of the West - half the roads in the area are the Lewis & Clark something or other.

The plan is to follow 12 to 95, going south to 20, then back to Missoula on 93. If possible, we will stop at The Craters of the Moon campground. We stayed there in 2000 - it is a strange but beautiful place. Of course, that depends on it being open, something that has not happened yet. We tried a couple of National Forest sites - they seem to be closed, at least the roads into them are gated. It would be handy if they put some information at the locations that noted when they plan to open, or at least an official notice that they are closed.

We stopped for the night at the Lochsa Lodge at the Powell Ranger Station. I'm not sure what state we are in - we crossed into Idaho, their clock is an hour earlier, but the receipt says Lolo, MT. Maybe that is the nearest post office? Anyhow, we are in a cabin that has running water, electricity, TV (alright, we are roughing it - no cable) and a shower. It is nice & quiet - the road is quite distant from the Lodge & not doesn't have much traffic.

Not much in the way of pictures today - Only one of the Lochsa River along Route 12 a little ways below the Lolo Pass.

The Lochsa River Near Lolo Pass
Our Cabin at the Lochsa Lodge
The Lochsa River Near Lowell

May 8 - South to Boise, ID

We added today's pictures above - Not much new other than our cabin & another image of the river. We had planned to take ID 55 from New Meadows south to Boise, but somehow I managed to program "Harry" (the name for the talking voice coming from the Delorme Street Atlas USA 2004 mapping software) to take us all the way on US 95. Not as nice a road, a bit out of the way, but eventually, we arrived. By the way, we finally beat Oswego gas prices. Actually, the last couple of days we have been paying just under $2.00 per gallon for 85 octane (for some reason, that is considered regular in much of the West.) Today we broke $2.00, in fact we paid $2.08 along 95 in Idaho.

We are at the Best Western Vista Inn near the airport. The good thing about the room is it is one of the few in the area that has exterior corridors. As I mentioned before, since our stuff is kind of scattered throughout the van (and even more scattered due to road settling) we usually end up making at least 4 - 5 trips between the room & the car. A Hotel type room doesn't work well for us, but most of the new motels have interior corridors. Another advantage is the room has a WiFi connection. You need to pay for it, but at least I will be able to catch up on email, update the trip page, and catch up on the various web sites I regularly read.

Until the next update!


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Last Update: March 25, 2012