Cross Country to Montana and Wyoming... (Very pic heavy)

GreggNY

Well-known member
September into October 2019

It’s impossible to go online these days in the world of overlanding and social media without being inundated with beautiful pictures of built up rigs and backdrops of majestic mountains. Being born and raised in New York, this world feels completely out of touch. For years it was a pipe dream to be in these locations, until it wasn’t. In 2018, I made a plan and spent countless hours, some blood and sweat, along with a considerable amount of cash to build a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon up to the task of handling the Colorado mountains. Driving 30+ hours was unheard of for me. Sure, I had taken plenty of ‘long’ road trips up to this point with the longest being a couple adventures into Northern Maine. But this was a different world, and an overwhelming task. Spending a couple weeks exploring Southwest Colorado in a Jeep will make any overlander reconsider living anywhere else. Words on paper can’t even begin to
describe it.

Fast forwarding one year, my longing to be in the mountains had been building daily. I learned a lot from my last cross country trip. The main one being that Wranglers are not the most enjoyable vehicles for truly long road trips. The second being that I wanted to spend more time having adventures, and less time turning wrenches. Enter the Ram Power Wagon- factory lift, lockers front and rear, sway bar disconnect, winch, solid front axle, and full size truck comfort. A short test drive and I was sold. A set of AEV Salta wheels wrapped in 37” Toyo MT tires were really all that was needed to beef up the appearance. I also added a Leer cap for secure dry storage that would trump the small interior space of the Jeep. It was the quickest ‘build’ I’ve had and was completed in about 2 weeks. I decided my trip this year would take me from New York to northern Montana, then traveling south through the state and into Wyoming.

My work affords me a generous amount of vacation, but my girlfriend could only get away for a little over a week. I would make the drive solo from New York to Montana in a few days, and meet her flight in Kalispell, Montana. From there, we would head to the Glacier National Park area. The drive cross country was largely uneventful and I burned off miles through the night. The truck is a road trip beast- super comfortable, tons of power, decent gas mileage range to keep me going for long stretches, and I wanted to be in Montana pretty much this second. After two short overnight stays in road side hotels, and 30+ hours of driving later, I rolled into Big Sky country-

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Montana definitely knows a thing or two about placing real estate -


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Still en route to Kalispell, I took a pretty big detour about 7 miles into the backcountry to attempt a short hike to a lake that looked nice in some of my research. It was late in the day by the time I got to the trailhead, and I decided to make it an out and back drive instead. Bear country + hiking out in the dark= I’ll play it safe and skip this one. The sun dipping behind the mountains made for some good photo op lighting though-

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In sync with my arrival, the East side of Glacier got hammered with a freak early season blizzard dropping about 4 FEET of snow. Luckily for me and my incoming passenger, the West side only got a few inches of the crazy mountain weather. I knew I was taking my chances traveling to this area at the end of September, but I had hopes that the fall foliage decorating my photos would make the risk worth it. I had a day to kill before the incoming flight so took a drive south to explore some areas that I had pinned on google earth. This paid off in spades with a lakeside location all to myself for hours. I was in awe.

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The incoming flight landed without a hitch, and now plus 1, myself and the girl headed to our accommodations just outside of Glacier National Park. Our first drive into the park yielded some sensational views-

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To be continued...
 
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GreggNY

Well-known member
We both aren’t too big on crowds and tourist attractions, so we set out the next day with no destination in mind. Getting lost in the miles of mountain forest roads through Northwest Montana was the goal and one that was easily achieved.

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Leaving GNP, and heading the truck South through Montana was great and brought me towards Wyoming. Rolling through Paradise Valley just North of Yellowstone -

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I had planned to just pass through this area and make good time to the next destination, but Mother Nature had other plans with more snow closing the high pass through the park - _DSC3464-Edit.jpg

To Be Continued...
 
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GreggNY

Well-known member
A back track and exit through the West Entrance took me into ID and then over finally over Teton Pass. Welcome to WY -

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Photography was a good part of this trip so the iconic locations were knocked off the list- Oxbow Bend, Mormon Row, and Schwabacher Landing. There were plenty of detours, and even more impromptu truck shots -

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To Be Continued...
 

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GreggNY

Well-known member
The mountains of Wyoming were really showing off with a light dusting of snow, and making the truck look tiny. A run in with the beasts of the river beds made me feel a little uncomfortably small as well.

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This area definitely deserves another drive at some point. Headed East for the 32+ hour drive home wouldn’t be complete without another dumping of snow the night before. Slow going, but more of the epic scenery -

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Just under a few weeks, 7000ish miles on the truck, a couple thousand pics, and forever memories. The next drive out West will be happening this Fall…
 
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jadmt

Well-known member
Nice. I am spoiled living here for over 61 years. Been mulling over a pw. What was your real world mpg on this trip?
 

GreggNY

Well-known member
Nice. I am spoiled living here for over 61 years. Been mulling over a pw. What was your real world mpg on this trip?
Well you live in some amazing country! The PW exceeded all my expectations on this trip. Below is a pic of the trip 2 from leaving the driveway here in NY to parking in the same spot when I got back. I never bothered to hand calc for the whole trip, but when I did on regular fill ups locally, it’s usually been in the 13-14 mpg range (slightly lower in extreme cold). So this should be pretty close given a ton of highway driving, not too much idle time, and a decent amount of dirt/forest roads thrown in. I did use the AEV pro cal to set things for the new tire size.

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