300 miles down and 2700 to go, I've made it this far in a car that turns like a bowl of soup and rides like a waterbed.
The flight into Billings was over some great countryside and I couldn't wait to get on the road. It was with great relief that the car rolled onto the Interstate on the right side of the road, and I ploughed on to Gardiner, just North of Yellowstone. The further down the route, the taller the countryside became, until the mountains on either side of the road were snowcapped.
An early start in Yellowstone meant I was strolling alone amongst the Mammoth Springs, great plumes of sulphurous steam erupting from between the rocks and snow, keeping me warm and on occasions positively sweating. Some of the boardwalks were closed due to bear activity, but I took a 'few' steps on over the line just to check what was up ahead.
Checking in at the Ranger Station I found that there was no way to get to Tower Falls or Yellowstone Lake. Instead I spent the day strolling the boardwalks around the geysers and pools. That makes it sound easy, but more often than not the raised boards had retained 2 or 3 ft of snow which I had to traverse, and in the sun the surface was mushy and slippery. Still, the pools were often an amazingly clear aqua or blue colour, fringed with bright yellows and billowing steam clouds.
By the time I reached Old Faithful there were plenty of other folk around and I felt a bit jealous having to share the place. Still, as there were virtually no visitor centres or services open it was quiet by high season standards.
The drive to West Yellowstone was slowed by 10 or so buffalo meandering down the road, taking advantage of this snow-free route to the next patch of grass. I'll have to slow down the photography as every bend in the road has revealed a stunning scene, slowing my traverse. I need to make some serious miles tomorrow... All the way to Salt Lake, maybe beyond.
By the way, I've had no mobile reception since arriving in Billings. It's been bliss!