9th December 2005
Malal City, Idaho

After taking a bit of advice about road conditions we decide to head down the scenic road - Route 191 - down to West Yellowstone. The drive is truly spectacular, clinging to the hills and turning under rocky outcrops. The wildlife is almost as spectacular as within the park and here, where the snow is less disturbed, we get the chance to see a true winter wonderland. As we head further out into the sticks the roads turn from merely icy to solid ice tracks. It's not quite as bad as it sounds. The road has clearly been used by a lot of heavy trucks leaving strong gauges in the ice which cling to the wheels of the car. Nevertheless we take things slowly as we meander through the pristine snowy landscape.

We arrive at West Yellowstone and fill up on petrol. Fuel is somewhat more expensive out here, I guess sales are a bit slower at this time of year. After leaving the petrol station we get a bit lost and end up at the blocked off West entrance to Yellowstone park. After a bit of backwards and forwards we find the right road that leads towards Idaho Falls. The roads don't improve for some time, and lorries used to these conditions overtake us on a regular basis. When the roads do clear the rise in temperature is quite sudden, and within 15 minutes the roads are perfectly clear of snow and ice.

We stop for lunch in Idaho Falls. At first we search for a restaurant mentioned in our guidebook, but in the end we have to resort to a little diner we spot off to one side of the road. It turns out to be a good choice. The food is excellent. Fed and watered, we head further south, ending our day in Malal City. Our room is non-smoking, but I get the feeling the owner changes the sticker on the door daily. The air is tinged with smoke and rather unpleasant and the air conditioning is noisy. But it's a bed and we're tired.

Chris Cottam

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