US Route 20 Coast-to-Coast - Leg 7: West Yellowstone MT to Yellowstone Regional, WY

Thanks again to @newtestleper984 for a great cross-country flightplan. It’s available on for those who want to try it out.

Leg 1: Newport OR to Jefferson OR

Leg 2: Jefferson County OR to Grant County OR

Leg 3: Grant County OR to Ontario OR

Leg 4: Ontario OR to Mountain Home ID

Leg 5: Mountain Home ID to Arco Butte Co ID

Leg 6: Arco Butte Co ID to West Yellowstone MT

Leg 7: West Yellowstone MT to Yellowstone Regional, WY


Leg 1: Newport OR to Jefferson County OR ETE 60 mins 134 NM

Departing beautiful coastal Newport Municipal in morning light

Headed deeper into the Cascades, passing Corvallia, Albany, Lebanon, Sweet Home…

A great view of the Cascades Giants - Mt. Washington, Black Butte, Three Fingered Jack…

Arrival at Billy Chinook State Airport; caution - safe altitude leg is 6,000 until you’re just abeam of Runway 17/34, then a steep drop to about 3,500 elevation.

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Leg 2 - Jefferson County OR to Grant County OR ETE 60 mins 156 NM

Departing Billy Chinook State Airport - the only ramp point is a refueling pit.

Doing some cloud dodging as this is definitely not VFR at the chosen cruise altitude. Also - passing some amusingly named mountains - three clustered ones called the Sisters (North, Middle, South) and a lone one nearby appropriately named The Bachelor.

Traffic Advisory - near miss with a Delta flight Co-Altitude. A Southwest flight later was much further away.

Buttes abound in this section of Oregon, a prominent one int he middle of the city of Bend, and a whole field of them further east:

Approach into Ponderosa Ranch as I’m handed off from Cascades to Salt Lake Center; civilization is two parking spots on the ramp:

Leg 3: Grant County OR to Ontario OR ETE 46 mins 90 NM

Departing Ponderosa Ranch OR - it snowed overnight (Live WX turned back on)

I can never get enough of how amazing it is to watch Live WX, especially precipitation in the far horizon - NEXRAD shows we’re skirting the edges of the storm:

Passing Warm Springs Reservoir - hoping for a glimpse of the retention dam holding the waters in place, but no luck:

Safe leg dropped from 6,000 to 4,500 as I pass Harper and follow US-20 through the foothills. We eventually end up at Miller Memorial just outside of Ontario, OR:

Leg 4: Ontario OR to Mountain Home ID ETE 65 mins 120 NM

Live Weather forced an alternate airfield, there was no way to safely land at 2UO Smith Prairie, not with the blowing snow and low overcast hanging over the mountain ranges.

Passing over Meridian and punching through low cloud banks, the obvious alternate with an IAP was Mountain Home Municipal, just past the Airbase.

The wind was coming out of the West, so I had to double-back for the approach. The NXi smoothly took me through a course-reversal and safely down.

Leg 5: Mountain Home ID to Arco Butte Co ID ETE 53 mins 97 NM

Another cold and blustery departure. Given I was at minimum safe leg, the Cirrus was struggling a bit to close that last 1000’ - it was hard reading the MFD between the terrain warnings and figuring out where the actual precip formations were.

Broke out into a clear patch about a third of the way on the trip, but it wasn’t going to last long - the unbroken cloudbase that stretched horizon to horizon told the whole story - passing over the mountains to stick close to US-20 wasn’t a sustainable plan at this point.

I started picking some alternate Navpoints south of the ridgeline, staying in the relatively safe plateau, passing the I-75 split headed North into the mountains towards Bellevue, and kept headed East over Carey. I even caught a glimpse of a lonely farm complex hard on US-20 - from the cruise altitude, it probably didn’t look much different than it did perhaps hundreds of years ago - an outpost of lonely civilization in an otherwise frozen landscape. It’s at that point I also note the icing buildup on the leading edges - good thing the Cirrus has icing boots!

Right before the turn North to Arco-Butte County, I passed a butte field marked on the map as Craters of the Moon National Monument. I did glimpse a few craters, but it was hard to make out at MEA.

Following guidance for a Visual approach to Runway 24, I pass over the tiny town of Arco hard against the mountain foothills. Originally known as Root Hog (I can see why they changed the name!), it was the junction for two well-known stagecoach trails. Interestingly enough, this tiny town of less than a 1,000 residents was the only town in the US to receive power by nuclear energy (from the nearby Idaho National Laboratory) in the 50s.

The approach doesn’t bring me any closer to the mountains, whew, and good daylight makes it an easy landing.


Leg 6: Arco Butte Co ID to West Yellowstone MT ETE 56 mins 138 NM

JT-A got a new paint job, and we depart in clear conditions, but that won’t last very long.

Passing Idaho Falls; we’re a 1,000’ below safe leg alt and need to divert west for a bit to stay out of the freezing precip around 9,000’.

West Yellowstone is socked in from the south, no choice but to penetrate. We luck out and it’s clear on the far side for a turn to short final.

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I’m now one leg behind you, assuming you stayed grounded today.

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Got sidetracked testing Mugz latest update to the TBM. I’ll be back on the trail this week.

Leg 7: West Yellowstone MT to Yellowstone Regional, WY ETE 70 mins 140 NM

Departed Yellowstone NP with the snazzy Blue livery on the Bonanza. We’ll need the power and performance crossing the park’s Eastern Mountains. It’s cold but clear.

Between the tailwind and the updrafts crossing over the peaks, I had to add 2,000’ more safety clearance on the leg, which just made the descent on the far side steeper. I elected to head North and get some lateral separation from the approach, buying time for a reasonably safe descent back to 8,400’.

Level ground north of Cody WY, we curve Southeast for the approach into RWY 22. I’m actually the slow exiter on the runway this time, forcing a Skywest flight to go-around.


@newtestleper984 I’d be interested to check with you on this last frame above. I botched an earlier attempt to fly this leg, but managed to land (terribly) at KCOD. However, that terminal building? It was missing. The cars were all there. Where the building was was simply a flat placeholder from the overhead. Does the building show up for you too?

I’m seeing a building there, but a different design.

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Wow! Inexplicable.

Does the “buildings” slider in settings affect the looks in this manner? I remember seeing a friend’s farm in Sweden in the sim, and the buildings were more true-to-life the first time than on the second visit. I can’t swear that I changed the slider between times, but I have been known to.

Possibly. Maybe Object LOD or Quality as you said. i’m mostly Low on settings to keep the FPS up as I’m on a fairly minimum spec rig.

High here - for buildings, at least. I’ll try low next load in. Had to bail shortly after takeoff yesterday.

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Confirmed: changing to low makes it how it appeared for you.

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Thanks for checking! Someday I’ll have a high-end enough system to run the good stuff.

There doesn’t seem to be a difference between high and ultra for buildings, not that I expect many to have buildings on ultra.