Saturday, June 27, 2009
Cheyenne to Laramie....Oh what a day!
After making sure we had enough clean laundry for the next week we headed off. At this point we are off our earlier planed route. We are still trying to stay on the original route, which will take us along some interesting roadways. We headed out west of town into beautiful empty countryside. We drove past the Happy Jack Wind Farm where huge windmills turned slowly and gracefully next to us. It's a funny thing about these windmills. You either hate them or love them - I am of the latter group. I love seeing the big blades slowly turning in the wind. The sky behind them was dark and foreboding of storms to come. We were driving right towards it.
We climbed up and up into the mountains, then tuned south onto Vedauwoo Rd, aka. CR700. We were heading to the Ames monument. The road was gravel, and pretty popular with the dirt bike crowd. We surprised a lot of folks who didn't expect to see us coming towards them. The road climbed into some amazing country. We were having a pretty good time negotiating the bumps and holes when the rain started. The sky above us turned angry almost instantly and the rain came down with a vengance. Dylan and I couldn't cover up fast enough so we got soaked instantly. As Dorothy moved along ahead of us, my engine decided at that exact moment to act up so I was stalled for just long enough to get the only dry parts on my body wet too. Then, to make it much more interesting.....it started to hail. There is nothing as challenging as an open car in a hail storm. The temperature dropped about 30º and we drove as fast as we could for tree covered road. We finally caught up with Dan and Dorothy at the end of the road. I jumped out of the car, dove into the trailer, teeth chattering. There I found a dry sleeping bag to climb into while everyone covered up cars and bodies.
After the rain let up we drove on to the Ames monument. The monument was built to mark the highest point on the Transcontinental RR. While we were there we met a utility worker who had satellite weather in his truck and he showed us the storm. It was heading east, and we were at the back of it. The temperature had dropped enough that we were all bundled up. We drove on to the Summit rest stop for a quick stop and check of the Caddy's carb. It was still giving me a bit of trouble at this elevation. Then we drove on in search of an alternate route to getting on the interstate. We were not excited about driving on RT 80 if we could avoid it. We drove down another road, past a herd of cattle, off into the hills. We found the road that the map said would take us to Laramie. It climbed a sheer rock face for about 10 feet and faded into the scrub. We decided that we would be nuts to take it so back we went, onto 80. That was a bit of a hair raising drive. Only 9 miles to the exit and I drove it on the shoulder. There was enough room for me and I was very happy there. Trucks flew by, Malcolm drove behind me with his lights on, but given that it was a steep decent through the canyon it was really more of a high speed fall. At the end, having survived our hairraising drive on the interstate we whooped with the joy only a near death survivor can geel and pulled into dinner. The first hot meal of the day. Sleep came early and fast, we were probably asleep before we actually got to our rooms. Dorothy was still talking but she was so darn tired that we sent her to bed, following close behind.