Tag Archives: Wyoming

GAR: Day Seventeen – West Yellowstone MT to Gillette WY (462mi)

With Sio feeling better, we headed for eastern Wyoming today, leaving Yellowstone behind us. This was a glorious place, and I will definitely be coming back.

Once again, we were treated to a change in landscape today. The high peaks around Yellowstone gave way to the rolling hills of eastern Wyoming as we made our way east. I really hated to see the mountains dwindle in my rear view mirror — I really love being in and around them! — but I know I’ll be back in the mountains again.

When we got to Gillette, we realized we got in just ahead of a huge thunderstorm complex. That means lightning, and that means I’m out shooting. The hotel had a concrete canopy (an old drive through) that I used as a shelter, and shot some amazing lightning images. This is the first chance I’ve had to use the Lightning Trigger since the trip began, and it was great to be out there in the lightning again!

GAR: Day Three – Rawlins WY to Winnemucca NV (652mi)

The shortness of the day yesterday — driven by the windy battle from behind the wheel — dictated a long drive today. With proper stops and a timezone change, we made this leg with wind left in the sails.

We stopped at a rest area along the way, and took some photos of prairie dogs. Very cute little critters, and fun to watch play and romp. From a big game perspective, this was the biggest mammal we’d gotten close to, and was certainly enjoyable to watch.

Crossing into Utah, we drove to Salt Lake City, and stopped for a bit at the edge of the lake. It was gorgeous! The weather was so much nicer than the weather I endured there a few years ago. The skies were blue, and there was plenty of visibility, with plenty of reflections in the lake. The best was yet to come, however.

As we were winding up our time in Utah, we came to a rest area just at the edge of the Bonneville Salt Flats. Again, three years ago, there were nasty skies, and really bad weather. This time, the weather was wonderful… and there was water on the flats! We pulled up, and found folks wading in toe-deep to ankle deep water atop the crusty salt. We dropped our shoes, and proceeded to wade in the water. The salt was hard, and really rough on the feet, but it was well worth it. We saw folks walking hundreds of feet into the salt desert, wading and exploring. This was by far the best stop of the day.

Another cool thing lay along the roads. Wherever the side of the road was light colored, folks had left messages, spelled out in rocks, for passersby to see. This was a kind of viral graffiti that was really amazing. Some messages were quick ones — someone’s name, or school mascot. Others were pledges of love, memories of other folks, along with some elaborate buildouts made of wire and beer bottles. Mixed in among these were tire tracks entering and exiting the salt desert, testimony to folks who’d spent a little youthful time breaking the law.

The weather was certainly a big deal during this leg. We left Rawlins at 35 degrees, and arrived in Winnemucca at about 85 degrees. In fact, the heat was pretty doggone oppressive, even more so with our room.

The hotel was just adequate, nothing fancy or elegant, and reflected the style of a 60s casino… kinda like it was trying to look like a wild west saloon room. Styling didn’t bother me, but there seemed to be no way to get it cooler. The air conditioner was definitely blowing, but it wasn’t cooling the room off. In truth, the whole hotel was that way. Waaaay too hot and sticky for my tastes!

GAR: Day Two – Kearney NE to Rawlins WY (475mi)

We awoke this morning to relatively clear skies, after a night of pretty amazing rain, thunder and lightning. After grabbing a quick spot of breakfast, we got moving…. and realized that the roof on the Jeep leaks.

I’m not terribly surprised, as this has been a common complaint I’ve seen on some of the Jeep forums. From what I can tell, water may be getting in the channel between the two front halves, and then works its way forward, draining at the windshield onto the top of the dash. It only did it when I stopped, so I assume that there’s something weird about the water path when the Jeep lurches at a stop. Strange thing is that I picked up Sio in some torrential downpours Friday, and had no issues. I’ve gotta do some research on this one…

So, remember yesterday, when I said things were windy? I had no idea how windy “windy” could be until today. We stopped at Tree Rock, and I thought we were gonna get blown over as we walked around. All through Wyoming, we saw signs heralding “High Winds Next 5 Miles”. Really…. 🙂 The winds were incredible most of the day, which made for a really long drive. Fighting the wind all day just ate me up, and I was too tired to go too much farther tonight.

BTW, it’s much colder today. Yesterday, I don’t think the temps dropped below 85 all day (at least, until the storms came through). Today, we started out around 60, warmed briefly to 70, but spent most of the day in the 50s. And I hear rumors of near-freezing temps overnight…. that should be fun!

I’m still in awe of the change in the landscape today. This morning, we left the flats of the Nebraska plains, and shortly after lunch, we got our first glimpse of the Rockies. By the time we landed for dinner, we’d cut into the mountains. What a great, picturesque view of this big ol’ country!!!