Sunday, July 20, 2008

Observations from the Road: Laramie, Wyoming

We are on our way! We left on our trip two days later than planned (Mark and Annie needed some down time at home after flying back from Georgia on Tuesday, so we put the trip off a couple of days.) We pulled into Laramie Wyoming (960 miles from Joliet) around midnight last night. Here are some observations from our first day West.

1. Note to self: When one is planning to drive 960 miles in a day, do NOT leave home at 10:00 a.m. (This is a lesson Mark and I have to keep relearning for some strange reason.)

2. When one HAS left one's home at 10:00 a.m. for a 960 mile trip, it definitely helps to make up time when the speed limit is 75 mph, the highway is straight as an arrow, and there's hardly anyone else on the road. Don't ask how fast we were going; it will make the grandparents nervous.

3. Topography Lesson #1 for the day. Illinois is flat. Iowa is not so flat. Nebraska is flat.

Topography Lesson #2 for the day. Nebraska is very wide. 459 miles wide, to be precise. Half of our long driving day yesterday was spent in Nebraska.

5. Topography Lesson #3: There is nothing in western Nebraska. Really. Nothing. For proof, look at the state on a road atlas: few roads; hardly any towns. It's not a desert -- there's green fields, and trees, and some farms. but evidently there isn't much consistent rain, and farmers have steadily just left over the years. It's kind of poignant to see fading, abandoned barns and silos along the road. Odd too, for someone who's spent her life in the crowded Northeast, and the busy Chicago suburbs.

6. Where are the Rockies? We spent the last few hours driving after the sun had set last night, but I expected to wake up, throw the shades open and see snow-capped peaks. Instead, we saw this:
I've never seen the Rockies before. I want snow-capped peaks! I want yodeling goatherds! I want Heidi!

So, I asked the sweet teenager who was working in the hotel's breakfast room: any snow-capped peaks to see nearby? She said that Colorado to the south has a lot, and the Grand Tetons farther north in Wyoming does as well. But Laramie? Not so much.

*Sigh* She did say that we can see some higher heights as we head into Utah, and Salt Lake City, where we'll stay tonight. I'll keep you posted.

7. And finally, despite the somewhat snarky nature of my post, I am having a glorious time, and so are Mark and the kids. Out family is used to long hours in the car, and we actually kind of like it. And there's something intoxicating about the open road, especially a road I've never been down before. I feel like Bilbo Baggins, running out his door to catch up with Gandalf and the dwarves on their adventure:
The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.


Mary Kate said...

YEA! I love how you are keeping us posted! Thanks for he time! Have lots of fun!
Love, MK

Catherine Berg said...

How exciting!! You guys are so ambitious, I love it!! That is a LONG travel day you guys that just had - good job. Cant wait to hear more about your adventures.
Love you,

Anonymous said...

hang in there...the Tetons are worth the wait for a snowy peak...they are the mountain range of my dreams!!!! (i even got to horseback ride around the base of them!!)
love the updates!!!! what a great trip!!!

teresa anthony said...

This is fabulous - I love being able to read along as you guys drive along. Keep it coming!