Traveling the U.S.A. – Chapter 12 – Wyoming

How did we get to Wyoming?  We had to drive through Iowa and Nebraska.  That drive was just a travel through spot to get to a place we wanted to spend time.  I find it interesting that many states no longer say, “Welcome to (you fill in the blank).  Are we no longer welcome?  Is their sign just advertising?  Or, did they really not want to welcome us in the first place, but felt it was the polite thing to do?  

One of the things I did not expect to see was the windmills in Iowa.  They are all over, and in the middle of cornfields—how does the farmer work around those?  I am assuming they accept the challenge because surely they are being paid by some energy company to place a windmill on their property.  If you have any thoughts on that, let me know.

We kept our car connected for our two stops, one in the Des Moines area, and one in Cheyenne.  Both of those stops were overnight stays to continue travel. 

Our 8th anniversary was a six hour trip through the state of Wyoming, from Cheyenne to Rock Springs.  There was a lot of construction on I-80, and the wind was crazy.  As we arrived into Rock Springs, the wind was gusting up to about 40 mph.  The news said the wind and weather conditions were from the wildfire in California.  I suggested we stay in for the evening because the wind was awful and the sky so smokey, but Dennis had already disconnected the car because he wanted to take me out to dinner to celebrate our anniversary.  We went to a steak restaurant that Yelp had great reviews.  I ordered a rib eye steak.  It was a marinated steak, and was filled with gristle.  I could barely cut through it, much less eat.  I do not believe this was truly a rib eye steak.  I ate maybe a third of it. I think the Yelp reviews were written by their family members.  Regardless, it was still nice to go to celebrate 8 years of marriage.  

The wind was blowing so hard the bushes at the campground were leaning sideways.
See this steaK? Looks wonderful, doesn’t it? It was terrible! I couldn’t even cut through it with a steak knife!

The following morning we were on the road again.  Our goal was to get to Thayne, Wyoming.  Leaving Rock Springs, we were in awe of the white mountains, and how rocky the area was.  There was still a haze in the sky from the wildfires so far away.

We really didn’t have an idea why we were going to Thayne.  I think it was because we could not find any place to stay around Yellowstone.  We decided to just see a part of Wyoming we had not seen before.  Thayne is a tiny town just north of Afton, Wyoming, which isn’t much bigger.  We arrived on a Saturday.  By the time we got connected and the RV settled, we stayed in for the evening.

Our drive from Rock Springs to Thayne was on a small state highway.  We were on a road less traveled.  We felt like we owned the road, it was so empty.  Although getting to Wyoming on I-80 from Chicago was convenient, we loved these state highways that are less traveled and that have views all around. 

I love this view of the river, the railroad track, and power lines.
The snow fences were everywhere!

No longer was I seeing corn fields and beautiful farm houses.  The view was rocks, mountains, and ranches.  I was also struck by so many old abandoned buildings along the road.  We were in the mountains of Wyoming, traveling through the national forests.  The views were breathtaking.  

Sunday we decided to visit Intermittent Spring which is in Afton, Wyoming.  It had been recommended to us by a couple people, so off we went.  We took a county road that became a dirt road as we were driving into the mountain in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.  There was a stream running through it, and we saw that there were large green pipes alongside.  It was a water pipeline, and it was curious because it didn’t seem to have a lot of water at this stream.  We drove until the road ended at a large area for parking, and the sign read, “Intermittent Spring 3/4 mile.”

You can see the green pipe on the right–part of the pipeline that brings water to the surrounding area.

We started the hike not sure what we were going to see.  It was pretty up there with the tall evergreens on the mountainside. We got near the end where this spring was coming out from the ground.  It didn’t look like much.  I figured we walked all this way for a nothing-burger.  There was hardly a trickle of water.  I couldn’t figure out the fascination with this location.  We spoke to a lady who was sitting on a rock watching this spring above.  She told us to wait just a few minutes and we will see this spring come to life.

I took a photo at 1:34 p.m, and nothing was happening.  Two minutes later, I took another photo and I see some water making its way down.  In another two minutes the water was gushing out and tumbling down the rocks and moving very fast.  We learned that there is an underground lake, and as it fills, it syphons off for about 12-15 minutes.  Then the water gets low in the lake, and the water stops flowing.  About fifteen minutes later, the huge gush of water happens again.  It was such unique phenomenon to watch.  Satisfied with the show of gushing water, we decided to make our way back to the car.  An ice cream shop sounded like the best reward for our little hike.

1:34 p.m.
1:36 p.m.
1:39 p.m.
1:40 p.m.

As we were walking back, once again along this stream which now had a good flow of water, I suddenly stopped.  Dennis turned toward me and asked if I was okay.  I replied, “Shh.”  Then he turn around and he saw what I was looking at.  In the distance, in the wide part of the stream, was a mother moose and her baby.  Mama was drinking water and the baby was frolicking in the water running around his mom.  It was a better reward that an ice cream shop.  

When we got back to the county road, we turned into downtown Afton.  We had been told that the county fair was going on there.  We thought we could get ice cream there or at a store on their main street.  We also wanted to stop at the grocery store or a drug store.  To our surprise, Afton is closed on Sundays.  There wasn’t a single store open, and the fairgrounds was closed.  Afton rolls up its sidewalks on Sundays!  It was not a big deal for us.  We did see a self serve car wash.  Our Jeep was really dusty from the drive to the spring, so we put our money in the slot, and the green light came on to pull in.  I drove the car until the red sign said to stop.  Then the car wash started with the prewash.  It spit out a little bit of water, and then the whole thing stopped.  There were no lights for the wash or anything.  It just lost power.  Maybe we should have sat there for 10-15 minutes—maybe it was an intermittent carwash!  We pulled out and drove back to our home on wheels.  When we got out, the car was now streaked with mud.  

This was taken on Saturday–Sunday the roads and sidewalks were empty!
Our dusty car became a mud streaked car thanks to the “intermittent” car wash!!

Fortunately, Monday morning, as we drove to the post office, we discovered a car wash that worked.  We also found a really sweet grocery store to purchase a few supplies before we head off later in the morning for Idaho.

I cannot wait to tell you about Idaho.  What a gem.  It will have to be in the next blog, because there is too much to tell.  I had never been there before, so everything was a total surprise.

We are so grateful for God’s safety over us on this trip.  We have been relatively healthy the whole trip.  We had a few vehicle mishaps, but we have been on schedule the whole time.  It is so much fun to see the U.S.A.



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