Friday, August 01, 2008

It's 105°...but it's a dry heat!

So...that's the quote that I got on the phone. When I called to check in as I was outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming.

I'm in the midst of my road trip. I was late getting started, because I didn't pack until just before I left. I know. I'm a guy. It doesn't take much. This is the time I left my apartment's parking lot. Anyone who knows me at all understands how totally obscene this is...

And ten minutes later, the sun is rising.

I do like this one...

Please excuse the incredibly dirty windshield. There's only one, maybe two readers who will appreciate the significance of this sign (click it to big it--well, all of them on this post!).

The first leg of my trip takes me to Hardin, MT. Nothing exciting there. The second leg takes me to Casper, WY. REALLY nothing exciting there. Last leg gets me here, after 11 hours, 15 minutes of nearly non-stop driving. Let me pontificate about Wyoming for a moment...

First of all, the last time I took the first leg & a half of this drive was December of 2005. That was OsTourNashville. Drove through southeastern Montana, all of Wyoming and South Dakota, and half of Iowa through a non-stop blizzard (and no, not the thin minty kind). On the left, 2005. On the right, Aug. 1, 2008.

  • Gas prices! $3.71 in Casper. About 40¢ cheaper/gallon than at home. Significant budget gift!
  • Big sky! Montana is known as Big Sky Country, but Wyoming (particularly central WY) doesn't have mountains in the way. I could see the weather two states away in any direction!
  • Clean rest areas! Montana rest areas are little more than brick shithouses. Also few and far between. Wyoming's are big, clean, and plentiful!
  • Desolation! There's literally dozens upon dozens of miles of nothingness. Which means very little to no presence of highway patrolmen!
  • A consistent speed limit (75 mph). As opposed to some states (*cough*Oregon*cough*) where it varies from 50 to 75, but mostly sits at 60. As soon as I hit interstate, I set the cruise control to 81 mph, and life was good!
  • Clean air! Actually, Helena has been very fortunate in that Idaho and western Montana aren't burning out of control. We've gotten haze from California, and that's about it. Closer to Billings, however, there's a fire near the MT/WY border that made the mountains disappear. Which is too bad, because there's some good ranges in northern WY.

  • Desolation. I know--I'm putting it here, too. Some of WY is just butt ugly. And flat. I swear I could look east and see Jen and Jessica (*waves* Hi, girls!) Old age and experience allow me to see these parts less horrifically as I did when I made the same trip over 20 years ago, but damn, there's some serious ugly out there!
  • River naming. Every little gully has a bridge over a "river". I-25 crosses both the north and south forks of the Power River. Know why it's called the Powder River? That's all there is! Literally! I've seen more of stream after I've peed on the side of the road!
  • Hell. I know there's more. Eleven hours of driving allow you to think of alot of posts. Unfortunately, it also makes one very sleepy. If I can remember the others, I'll mention them later....
Oh, and one last thing--why am I here? Well, you should maybe clicky-click here! More to follow!

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