Three Days, Three Seasons & One Closed Road

We got word from fellow travelers while pouring coffee, “Bighorns closed!” Wait, what? This was Monday. Sunday, we caught early Fall in Custer State Park and Saturday it had hit the upper 90’s while we were in Badlands National Park. Now, you’re telling me it snowed enough last night to close the roads?

That’s three seasons in three days. In that moment I knew, what I needed first, was the coffee burning through the cup in my hand. Then we could worry about a new plan.

It happens on cross country road trips. Roads close, park hours are shorter than you thought, a tire goes flat. It’s hard to be prepared for everything when you’re crossing 2,500 miles.

Bello and I had done our best, stocking our first car together with research from online cross country road trip packing checklists. Thing is, most of the lists don’t include a few gadgets we learned about… on the road. But that’s another post entirely.

The moral of this post is simple.

It snows a LOT in Bighorn National Forest. We’re talking an average annual snowfall of  71.4 inches. That’s 219% more than the national average (22.4 inches.) What’s more, only 45% of Bighorn’s snow, falls during the winter months. Which means more than half that snow falls, outside the winter months!

We knew crossing the country on the northern route meant snow, but in early September? Apparently, yes. Yes, it snows in the Summer months too in Wyoming.

By the time we finished our coffee, we realized we were the only travelers at this particular hotel with iPhones. Let’s just say at 40, we could have been called “the youngins.” While, the rest of the breakfast crew was watching the news for updates and unfolding maps. Bello and I were online hatching a new plan.

Turns out, only northern route 14 was closed through Bighorn. We found up to date info on the Wyoming 511 mobile app. In the end, we were able to see Bighorn National Forest and yes, see a third season in three days.

Cross Country Road Trip Tales: How We Afford Life on the Road,  Our List of Stops,  Storm Lovers Love IowaBadlands South DakotaCruising Custer State Park, Wyoming Tourists Don’t Come to See

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