Sunday, August 19, 2012

Crossing the Bighorn Mountains to Buffalo, WY

 Highway 16 leads from Cody, WY, over the Bighorn Mountains, to Buffalo, WY and is billed as the "Safest and Fastest" Route to the Yellowstone. It is also a very scenic route and one that we have used several times in the past.

 The mountains are high, and beautiful and we looked forward to a pleasant drive on our way to Buffalo. Many of the hills are bare rock and very formidable.

 We stopped for lunch at a rest area about half way up the mountain and enjoyed the great views at about 7,800' up. Rick was very pleased with the performance of the coach -- the Cummins 400 did a great job of powering us up.

 A short way later, things changed in a big way! The road literally disappeared in a flurry of construction. The pavement was gone and we followed a very slow pilot truck for several miles.

 This is not the best conditions for large motorhome travel, but we took it easy and had no problems. Of course, the dirt tossed up on our Buick tow car was amazing and Rick had to do some real cleaning in Buffalo.

 After a few miles of construction, we finally got back to the paved roadway and reach the crest of the Powder River Pass at 9,666'.

 Obviously, the pass is above the treeline in the area. Given the difficult terrain, we were very happy for the great weather and decided that we would not be excited about crossing the pass during the winter.

 We also quickly learned that what goes up -- must come down! We negotiated some 7% grades as we descended, but again, the great compression brake on the Cummins worked like a champ and we had no problems.

Once we were out of the construction zone, Hwy 16 was great and we enjoyed the drive, although we were glad that we didn't have to run on the dirt any longer than we did.

No comments: