Archive for the ‘Wyoming’ Category

Classic Cars, Coal Trains, and a ………

August 9, 2013

Part 3 of our road trip in June….

Let’s see … it’s the morning of June 14, 24 hours into our trip. (David wonders if I’m going to spend more time blogging about the trip than we actually spent on the trip.)

We hit Highway 25 from Casper, WY, destination:  Rapid City, South Dakota.

We pull off into a rest area and meet up with a mini classic car show

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en route to a bigger car show in Scott’s Bluff, Nebraska.

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“An early 60’s Corvette.”  (David is naming the models off to me – having come of age with these ‘classic’ era cars.)

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“That’s a Ford Fairlane 500. Late fifties”

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’57 maybe.  Look at that continental kit on the back!” David seems mezmerized.

“Oh, that thing built around the spare tire?” I ask.  I am pretty clueless with late fifties car terminology.

“Yep. And that fender skirt! What a beauty!”

(Hmmm …Fender skirt, eh?  Every woman should have one …)

We met a lot of coal trains –

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This one is empty.

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… headed back to Wyoming’s Powder River Basin to load up more coal to deliver to power plants mostly up and down America’s east coast. According to the BLM link here,
http://www.blm.gov/wy/st/en/programs/energy/Coal_Resources/PRB_Coal.html
over 100 coal trains enter Wyoming empty and leave loaded and bound for all points daily. The largest U.S. coal mine, Black Thunder, lies within the Wyoming portion of the Powder River Basin.

Wyoming as a whole, accounts for 40% of all coal used in domestic electricity generation.

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Moving on ….  we’re driving along and are curious enough about that welcoming sign to pull into Lost Springs and check it out:

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Population … 

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4?

Looks more rigorous than that.

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Well, there you have it.  A Post Office/Antique Store

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and

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a bar. All you need for a town, really.

Let’s see … one person to run the Post Office/Antique Store, one person to run the bar, and 2 regular patrons to keep them going?

Don’t overlook the bicentennial plaque on the entrance of town.

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Lost Springs hails as the smallest Wyoming bicentennial town.  Hey, there’s apparently a spring one mile south, the Chicago and Northwest RR came through here in 1866, they built a Grade School and High School, and in 1911 they had a jail, town hall, newspaper, and bank.  The community developed around the Rosin Coal Mine (1909 – 1923) and in 1920 the official estimated census was 120.

Well, the current estimated census has almost doubled while we’re here.

Onward now … through rolling grasslands

Past another lonely house

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To the next big town,  Lusk, where we stop for lunch.

We decide to visit the local museum on the main drag – The Stagecoach Museum

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I just took a photo of the Stagecoach out in front of the museum – This link to the museum includes a photo of the museum

http://www.wyomingtourism.org/thingstodo/detail/Stagecoach-Museum/4315

There is a Wyoming Standard (one room) School in back of the museum

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Inside the museum they have a gasoline iron on display:

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David’s mother, Marie, (who lived to 99) used a gasoline iron early in her marriage. I dunno. The thought of gasoline sloshing around while I press that flaming hot iron over a wrinkled garment scares the bageebies out of me. How would you keep from setting off an explosion, setting yourself, or your house on fire? I have a hard enough time avoiding burns (myself, garments, ironing board cover) with an electric iron.

And what have we here?

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Why, it’s a party line. (Which David also recognized from childhood.) You know, where the phone rings and you pick it up and listen to someone else’s conversation. And they, yours. It’s a PARTY! (in 1950)

On the road again. Oh we must be approaching a town

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Haha. Very funny. Let me guess. The tourist activity was the tornado that blew through here yesterday?

A ‘build the sign and the activities will come’ – kind of vision for the future?

We’re back in nothingness

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as far as the eye can see.

We finally get to another town, Hot Springs. We have a little time to kill, and David parks on this quaint little street and suggests we get out and stretch our legs a little.

“Okay, honey.”

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He rounds a corner with Megan close behind. I’m fiddling around, getting my flip-flops on, I grab my purse, get my phone camera ready in case we see anything of interest…

What the

Heck! It’s a … you hear that music? See those ‘la’ ‘day’ ‘di’ ‘du’ ‘doe’ notes flashing at us in colors? Playing faster… now…

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“David, stop!” “Come back!” “NO-OOOO!” “You’re too close!”
to an Encounter of the Third Kind!

June 14, 2013. Hot Springs, South Dakota. 150 miles from Devil’s Tower. Think about it.

Cattle, Gargoyles, and Oil Rigs

July 28, 2013

So, where did I leave off? Oh yeah, lunch at the ‘Cafe’ in Dubois, Wyoming. We’re back on the road now – headed east on Highway 26.

200 miles to Casper…

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The outside temperature is 95 degrees.

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Beautiful Wyoming!

“Slow down, honey. Cattle drive ahead!”

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I decide to roll down my window and capture it on video. (Click on photo below)

Flying by a cattle drive at 35 mph. Now, watch the video again, while imagining your head out the window getting hammered by a high wind in what feels like a 120-degree convection oven.

“The video’s lame!” you say? No. It’s MOO-velous!

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Don’t ask me. We passed it.

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And more cows…

Oh. We’re entering a town.

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Left to Thermopolis? What, they have a monopoly on hot springs or something?

“Where are we?” I ask David.

“Shoshoni.”

There’s even a bar on the main strip ahead.

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Yeah, well, how many Lucky Lounges have you been to?

A few miles further we see these formations

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What have we here?

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Gargoyles? Trolls? Did there used to be a bridge across here?

I asked David what he thought they were.

“Petrified Pac Man chasing a squirrel.”

We passed several oil wells

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‘Rich Wyoming.’

And a lone house

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surrounded by a vast emptiness.

‘Lonely Wyoming.’

“How would you like to live there, Megan?”

“NO!”

David pulls over to stretch. There is actually a sign at the pull-out.

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“No hunting?” Hunting for what? Beetles?

We are entering Casper now, where we will bunk for the night.

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We eat dinner at Sanford’s Grub & Pub, a few blocks from our motel. Where (it turns out) the food is less than stellar and the décor is … shall I say, not understated?

For example, yes, that is a Brontosaurus

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greeting you as you pull into the parking lot..

Hey David, pose in front of Bugs Bunny for my blog!”

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Fat chance.

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“Thank you, Megan. What a sport!!”

We enter the restaurant. Thank goodness we don’t have to sit and wait for a table. I feel a little uncomfortable with this couch:

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Although I have never given much thought to American Flag etiquette, I sure wonder if this couch is in flagrant (and gross!) violation of it. “Hey, how about we upholster a near-exact replica of ‘Old Glory’ across a couch so people can park their butts all over it.” I dunno. It just doesn’t sit right, if you know what I mean.

We’ re back outside now in front of the restaurant. I ham it up with “Charlie”

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and ‘Hank’.

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Who is really rather sweet.

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Just the kind of guy I like. (David knows.) The quiet type. One who keeps his mouth shut.

Life is good.

Through the Tetons to Dubois, Wyoming

July 15, 2013

I can’t help it. I’ve about a hundred or two new photos on my i-Phone from this road trip we took in June.  And I can’t wait to share them with you.  HUH? You don’t want to see ALL the photos?  Awwwwww. Okay.  That’s fair.

So where do I begin?  At the beginning, of course! 10 A.M – Thursday, June 13. Today’s destination: Casper, Wyoming, about an 8-hour drive from Idaho Falls. We’re driving west now – on Highway 26 – out of Idaho Falls toward Jackson, Wyoming.

Approaching Swan Valley.

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It’s going to be a beautiful drive!

Every so often you see the peaks of the Tetons poking up on the horizon.

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We turn left at Swan Valley onto Highway 31 toward Victor, Idaho and the Teton pass.

We have just passed over the Teton pass summit. Here we are, overlooking Jackson ‘Hole’

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Making the descent toward Jackson now

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Except, we turn left after Wilson, to bypass Jackson, onto Moose Wilson Road.

The Tetons come into full view.

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There is nothing quite so magnificient as the Tetons painted across the sky on a vibrant June day.

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The view changes every few seconds. Don’t want to miss the show!

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It’s amazing how close we get to them by car (with maybe a little help from a zoom lens…)

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The Grand is the tallest Peak, at 13,770 feet. The two peaks to the right are Mount Owen and Teewinot. To the left are the Middle and South Tetons. This link:

http://faculty.deanza.edu/donahuemary/stories/storyReader$2802

gives you the names and elevations of all the peaks:

 

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“Pull over at the scenic overview for tourists, honey, so I can snap a photo of all the peaks!”

“Naw. You’ve seen the Tetons a hundred times. We still have a 6-hour drive ahead.”

But …. “We’ll never see the Tetons again as they look today!” (I wanted to call out, but I suppose he’s right. Also, he’s the one driving, while I’m the one, uh, snapping photos.)

I snap a photo of the Teton’s as we whiz past the scenic overview on the Wyoming Centennial Scenic Byway.

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I have to admit. The photo looks remarkably similar to the June photo I took of the Tetons several years back, now framed and hanging on a wall at home.

We have passed the Tetons now, headed for Moran junction, where we turn south. Wait a minute! They’re in my rear view mirror!

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Visible as ever. They are just behind us now.

“Are we coming back this way?” I ask the driver (David).

“No.”

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“What are you doing?” He asks.

“The Tetons are in the rearview mirror! And out the back window! We are missing the view you get when you approach Jackson from this direction!”

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Here’s my last shot of the Tetons as we approach Moran Junction and head south.

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We’re headed into the the Absaroka mountains now.

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This view of the Absaroka peaks opens up and and disappears very quickly

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after you round that curve.

Well, that’s my photo tour, that gets us as far as Dubois, Wyoming, where we stop for lunch – on the first day of our six-day road trip (uh, minor detail there).

I did take one photo in Dubois. At the place we pulled into for lunch with the sign out front that said “Cafe.”

This precious little notice was posted inside the restaurant on their bulletin board:

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I guess life is pretty much the same every where you go.

Across Wyoming and Home

June 29, 2010

On the road again
Just can’t wait to get on the road again

Well, we’d better be. It’s 12:30 PM Thursday, June 3. We’re pulling ourselves away from Ben’s house in Boulder, Colorado, with a 600-mile trek ahead of us (most of it across Wyoming) to make it home to Idaho Falls.

It’s about an 11-hour drive, depending on who’s driving. Which, in our case, it should be under a ten-hour drive, since David is driving.

We’re on our way:

Yay! Woming border, five miles ahead:

Hey! Up on that hill. It’s a giant beetle! It’s a camel! No,

It’s a buffalo.

We’ve entered the great state of Wyoming.

Here we have Wyoming tax dollars (or is it federal stimulus money?) at work,

while oil wells churn out more Wyoming State revenues.

Oil is transported in trucks

on roads

to nowhere.

Oil contained in parts unknown.

A hopeful thought. Unless you’re trying to keep your mind off oil, and spills:

Oil spills? I don’t know. Ask my iphone.

We pass Happy Jack Road.

which makes us feel … happy.

Then climb a mountain pass, reach the summit

and head down, down, down …

We’re Smokin’! again

past an oversized … cigarette? –

on our approach

into Laramie.

Hey – what’s that sign ahead supposed to mean?

The curly Q’s get a Paul Simon song playing in my head :

Slip sliding away, slip sliding away
You know the nearer your destination, the more you slip sliding away

Whoah and I know a man, he came from my hometown
He wore his passion for his woman like a thorny crown

Now, I don’t know how his passion, that woman, and the thorny crowns played out, but I’m sure glad we don’t have to worry about slip sliding off the road on account of a blizzard, or any combination of slick roads and high winds.

So, where are we? Oh yeah,

96 miles from Rawlins, which make us, uh, about 470 miles from home.

Sigh.

Hypnotized by endless snow fences

going ‘zip’ zip’ ‘zip’ ‘zip’ (space) ‘zip’ ‘zip’ across our vision as we zoom past the landscape.

Into close-ups of

conglomerated trucks.

Butting up against

high winds, that jolt the 4-Runner, rattle David, and gobble up the engine’s gas with the mouth of its resistant force.

Windmills poke out of the landscape like earth’s one-day stubble.

Now entering an area

with patchy snow? ARRRGh!

Those clouds above make me wonder …

Does Wyoming have a tornado season? Does it look like a tornado could spring from those clouds? How would you know unless it happens?

Outside the city of scenic Sinclair

lives an oil refinery. Hmmm. Does this explain the origin of Sinclair gas stations?

Oh boy. Another wind warning. As if we didn’t know.

Where across southern Wyoming is it not a high wind area? That wind sock is a nice touch, all puffy and cutesy, pointing in our direction. Okay so we know we are driving into a strong head wind. The 4-Runner would be jumping all over the road like a bronco buck if David weren’t controlling it at all times with both hands in a vise grip on the wheel.

Entering Rawlins, Wyoming, now.

With its own definition of ‘scenic’.

Home of the Wyoming State Penitentiary.

Which, I suppose it’s not a bad thing that we can’t think of any reason to stop here. Ask if we could get lunch in their cafeteria?

We zoom on over the Continental Divide:

Which, shouldn’t you feel a ‘bump’ or see a crack or something when you cross the Continental Divide?

Pay attention!

See – someone’s paying the price!

Keep on truckin’

Through Rock Springs

and Eden:

That must be Adam’s cabin.

We drive on, through the threat of leaping deer,

under ominous skies

that gather up rays of hope

and rain them back to earth as a promise.

Past clueless cows

into Pinedale.

Population 1412. We pull over and dine at the

Wind River Brewing Company Brew Pub and Grill, which, to our immitigable surprise, provides excellent food in a jovial, elegant atmosphere jammed with people abuzz in activity and conversation.

Who would have thought that such a place could exist in Pinedale, Wyoming?

We exit the restaurant all sated and happy as Happy Jacks, and jump in the truck to finish the trek home.

It’s approaching dusk.

And now we have to watch for

leaping, dark, blurry deer.

Which causes chaos

in the front seat.

We pull over to let an ambulance pass

and then follow it for the next 70 miles. And we wonder, can you pass an ambulance with flashing lights if it’s traveling too slow? We chuckle as three other cars zoom past us only to pile up in front of us, behind the ambulance, which finally turns off toward Jackson, Wyoming, while we speed on into Idaho.

It’s dark now. My iphone is pretty much kaput. So are we. You are also, you say, with this long, strung out account of the last leg of our trip? Hey! It was a long, freakin’ drive, man.

Wyoming is a gigantic state to cross.

We arrive home about 11 PM. The next morning, June 4, I’m out in the back yard experiencing a miracle.

The miracle of our flowering crab, which has finally flowered.

Our lilacs are blooming too.

I plant some flowers in pots.

And will plant the rest of the gardens when it stops raining.

June in Idaho. It can be windy here, too, but not like Wyoming.