Another travel day between attractions. We are heading toward Yellowstone. We didn't know how close we would get, or what the trip would be like. At this point we don't have any schedule, so we could take as long as we wanted to get there.
As it was, we got as far as Greybull, WY, 145 miles from Yellowstone. We left from Newcastle, WY, near the eastern border. We took a state road, no interstate for a while, and saw Wyoming close up. We started out in the foothills of the Black Hills, very similar but lower hills and only scattered stands of evergreens. This soon smoothed out to rolling hills of dry grassland with sage brush. This is mostly cattle country, little or no farming except for some hay and alfalfa (huge piles of hay bales). The only trees you see are the ones people have planted around their homes.
We got back on I-90 at Gillette. There is some coal mining in this area, though not very evident from the interstate. In Gillette, we found a Wells Fargo bank (let's hear it for Garmin) and Jean got some more cash.
We took the interstate to Buffalo, where we had lunch and left the interstate again for WY-16. Immediately after leaving Buffalo, we drove into the Big Horn Mountains (named after the sheep that aren't there anymore --- though they are trying to be reintroduced). We couldn't stop Ooohing and Wowing. What a dramatic change from the last two or three days! The mountains are covered with pine forests, with a few clumps of white birch. As soon as we started into the mountains, the temperature dropped. We even spotted some mountains that still had a little snow on them (in the hazy distance).
The trip into the mountains was great, the trip out was fabulous. The highest point we reached was the Powder River Pass, at 9,666 feet. It was windy with a temperature of 71. The road from there was dramatic, dropping down through the Ten Sleep Canyon (who names these things?). The view was more eye-popping at every curve. From gentle-looking mountains on the east side, we were between high and rugged bluffs. Periodically there would be a sign telling the type and age of rock we were seeing (very old).
We finally got down to Ten Sleep, 6,000 feet lower in the valley. There it was overcast and very windy. There were some green fields where there was irrigation, otherwise it was back to dry grass and sage brush. We pulled in for the night to a very nice, new KOA in Greybull. The price was the same as we had paid in Newcastle --- where the only thing to recommend that campground was the new, clean rest rooms and laundry.
Tomorrow we expect to make it to Yellowstone --- on the weekend, of course. Beautiful mountains and heavy traffic, what a combination.