Thursday, July 2, 2015

Like driving through Dangerous Postcards: Day 4 of On the Road
[ I’m too tired to load a picture.]

This morning I woke to a sunny, windy day. Most hotels offer free breakfasts, and most of them are tasteless and tepid. The breakfast at The Best Western Frontier in Cheyenne is an exception. The main entree was a western omelet, bacon and sausage, along with toast and other sides. The food manager, Chris, was efficient at keeping food stocked and making guests feel welcome. Other than the wonky remote on the TV in the room, I had a five star experience at this hotel.

My sunblock failed me yesterday so when I filled up the tank this morning I bought a hat. Today’s drive was largely pleasant. Cheyenne, Wyoming lies on the eastern end of a state filled with desolate beauty.  One of the Big sky states where you can see miles ahead on a clear day.
Yet there are reminders how under the beauty lies constant risk of brutal storms and road closures.

Little has changed since the last time I was here. On that trip, more than forty years ago, my mother and I took a bus trip from Portland, Oregon to visit friends in Greeley Colorado.
Throughout my drive today the winds gusted, kicking up dust in the construction zones. I can see why pioneers wanted to settle here because of the sharp landscape. It's an artist’s paradise with its varied textures and hues. My sister-in-law, the family paparazzo, would go into picture snapping overload here.

Driving across the open terrain, even at 80 mph, it feels like slow motion. Unlike the east, there are vast distances between exits, and many post signs saying no services. Also unlike the east the road are uncluttered by excess signage. In fact there is little warning on upcoming exits. Rest areas are far apart and few, and many were closed. The two where I stopped, though, had glorious views.

As beautiful as it is, I can't imagine living here. If I were a horsewoman, Wyoming would be ideal. But I'm a bookish nerd who craves a faster paced lifestyle.

The last hour is hardest any day of my trip because by then the cats and I are tired. They start whining, and I find myself counting miles. One thing that keeps me alert is pain. My right shoulder has been hurting, and I have this rubber, spiny thing that you can massage or pound on pressure points. It resembles something from the Middle Ages a knight might carry in battle. I place it between my shoulder and the seat and lean into it.  

We pulled into Ogden right around 5:15 amid rush hour, yet it I found the hotel effortlessly.  I walked across the parking lot and enjoyed a porch chop dinner with salad, potatoes, mixed veggies and a glass of wine, and my bill was only $17.74.  So far the room is also the cheapest on my route.  Cost of living must be low here, and I believe it was on AARP's list of places to retire on a budget, but I also don't see myself settling in Ogden Utah.

Tomorrow I set out for Caldwell, Idaho, right on the tip between Idaho, Oregon and Washington.

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