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- Day 5 Recap of Ultimate Adventure 2020: Montana to Wyoming Via Yellowstone #UA2020
Day 5 Recap of Ultimate Adventure 2020: Montana to Wyoming Via Yellowstone #UA2020
The abandoned Missouri Mine and Mill, Old Faithful, elk, buffalo, and even bear sightings!
We had a lot packed for Day 5 of UA2020, so we roused the group early for a 7:30 driver's meeting and had everybody rolling shortly thereafter. Our campsite on North Meadow Rd, which took us up to McKelvey Lake on Day 4, was just adjacent to South Meadow Rd, which leads to a pretty spectacular site.
The abandoned Missouri Mill, which processed ore from the Missouri gold mine much farther up the mountain, lies in ruins smack at the end of a spectacularly beautiful one-lane dirt road. The shelf road drops off steeply, with grazing cattle running freely about the area. We ran into some bear hunters on the way up and some light UTV traffic, but otherwise we had the ruins to ourselves. We explored the remnants of the mill and marveled at what it must have been like when it was in operation from the late 1800s all the way up until the early 1980s. Sadly, the harsh Montana winters haven't been kind to the wooden building, and most of the structure has collapsed. There's still plenty to see, from the old stamping equipment to water pumps and even some parts of the old hydro-electric systems.
With history ringing in our minds, we came back down the mountain and quickly passed through the quaint town of Ennis, Montana, with its quaint buildings and then pointed the vehicles east on Hwy 287 toward West Yellowstone. Along the way Ian Johnson's TH400 transmission overheated, blowing ATF out of the breather vent, so to prevent a second vehicular fire, Crony Skinny Kenny towed Ian into town. Once the rig cooled, Ian and Kenny topped the tranny off in West Yellowstone and met up with the rest of us at the Old Faithful geyser.
Our timing was accidentally impeccable, since we arrived in the Old Faithful parking lot less than 25 minutes before the geyser's next eruption. We bought some souvenirs, took a quick Clark Griswold look around, and caravanned out past Lake Yellowstone for the East Gate of the park en route to Cody Wyoming. The wildlife must have heard UA was coming to town because we were greeted by dozens of elk, a bunch of buffalo, a few moose, and even a juvenile black bear, which was going to town on a bush of some sort on the side of the road.
After crossing into Wyoming and entering Shoshone National Forest, Tiger LeBrun called out over the radio that he had lost power in the big green Quigley race van. Skinny Kenny once again bailed for the shoulder with Tiger, and Chris Durham slid in behind for good measure. After diagnosing a broken NV261 T-case, Tiger and Kenny had the T-case in no time, and parts were already on the way before they got the van back to the hotel where others were making late-night fixes. Ian was adding a second transmission cooler, Dave Chappelle was working on the rear calipers in his MazGrande pickup, invited reader Joe Greishop was doing a little welding, reader Brody Botts needed to fix a power steering ram pressure line, Randall Speir was fixing a factory upper radiator hose in the Dana Gladiator, and Jeff Ismail sleeved his fuel lines with insulation to help mitigate a vapor lock issue that had plagued the Scout off and on thus far on the trip.
But there's still lots of adventuring to be done between now and then, so check back at fourwheeler.com/ultimate-adventure to see what Day 6 of UA2020 has in store and keep an eye on #UA2020 on social media to keep up with what's going on with UA2020 each day!