I’ve almost forgotten what it’s like to wake up with the sun as living in San Diego feels like being in the bed of a giant who sleeps in till 10 or 11am each day and leaves its large gray blanket over the sky with just enough horizon showing to know it’s daytime.
There are a dozen deer taking advantage of the beautiful skies and empty roads as we make our way out of Craig and drive the 40 miles north to the Wyoming border. We’ll stop a few times for pictures of antelope, a rocky ridge, an unfinished road, and a construction zone.
I enjoy watching cows trot down a small decline on their morning walk. We see more antelope lying around, jumping, jogging, and definitely getting their picture taken. We stop on the 789 N before I-80 to watch a train, appearing two miles long, pass underneath us.
We were going to take Exit 211 to continue on the 287 N but are redirected by an officer around Rawlins to the bypass. We stop in Jeffrey City, where the population is down from 4,000+ in 1980 with the uranium boom to some 20 people left who appreciate the quiet.
The 135 N will take us to Brown Sugar Coffee Roastery in Riverton for my first sparkling espresso. After that writing break for Dad, we’ll stop at an abandoned hotel in Shoshone with a calendar on the desk from 2005, the year I met my future husband.
Living in the desert helps Dad appreciate water when he sees it so we’ll be stopping at the Boysen Reservoir on the Wind River for a short and steep walk down to see HCB (harmful Cyanobacteria blooms), wildflowers, and the earth-fill dam.
The 120 N delivers us to Meeteetse for a picture at the sign “Where Chiefs Meet” for my chief back home, but we won’t be stopping next to the politicized “Don’t California our Cody” sign on our way to Yellowstone National Park for an extra night.
We check into Old Faithful Inn just after sunset and I’ll go over to the most famous North American geyser for its 1040pm eruption. While I wait, I talk with a couple that drove through Salt Lake City from Los Angeles for their first visit.
If there’s not too many kids making a ruckus you can hear the water flow increase as earth works its melty and explosive science magic that shoots 3500 – 8000 gallons of water almost 200 feet in the air nearly every 90 minutes for up to five minutes.
I’m not the only one feeling the impressive energy surrounding this park but I will learn that I’m of the limited few to show a quiet appreciation for the masterpiece nature has created versus the heavy metal concert families or toddler animosity tantrums.