The pictures from Chugwater, with the soda fountain, are from two days ago when a windstorm kept me in a rest area for 24 hours (I wrote about this last post).
From Chugwater, I drove quickly through Colorado, and then on to Goodland, Kansas, where the Van Gogh tribute painting is. From there, I drove to Hays, Kansas and parked at a Walmart for the night. Again, there were high winds and worst of all, my heater stopped working and it was freezing cold. I tried to sleep until 2 am, when I finally got up, packed the trailer, and drove to a Days Inn, which didn’t turn out to be a pleasant experience and I couldn’t sleep. I drove, very tired, to Wichita and stayed in a fantastic Super 8, and the desk clerk, another guest and I all ordered Chinese food delivery. Really fun! I met a couple from Washington this morning and they gave me a something-something fruit (have to look this up) that I’ll photograph later. It’s huge and supposed to keep spiders away – will definitely try it in the trailer!
On the way here, I kept seeing signs for Swedish handcraft and the biggest little Swedish town in Kansas (Lindsborg), so of course, I had to stop. It was such a cute town! The shops were all super friendly and invited me to the big Swedish festival this coming Saturday. They only the festival once every two years, and I would’ve loved to stay, but need to get to Texas, meet my friend Christie, and fix my heater.
I’m looking forward to traveling a bit slower after I get to Texas. So happy I’m getting into warmer weather!
I haven’t been able to post anything because I got caught in the scariest ever (for me) wind storm after I left Wheatland. I only drove a little more than 20 miles when the big, neon road signs warned of heavy wind gusts. After the trailer got a couple of side gusts, I decided it was time to wait it out at a rest area. Turned out the gusts only increased, up to 65 mph and it lasted for 24 hours! It was violently shaky in the trailer so I slept in the Tahoe as best I could.
Finally on the road again, I was really excited to see a former student of mine whose parents I love dearly. Unfortunately, I was a bit sad because I thought the student would be equally excited to see me (haha, such an ego!), but I guess he turned out to be too busy since I only received sporadic replies to my questions about where we could meet. Oh well, no worries – turned out to be a great day, and I made a lot of time. After days of sketchy weather and looming chill, it felt great to finally make progress, and see the subtle beauty of Western Colorado. This was on Colorado Hwy 86 from Castle Rock to Limon – highly recommended!
I stayed at a KOA campground for the first time last night and it’s a great one. This is in Goodland, Kansas. Seems like the only real point of interest is a Van Gogh billboard here in town and the Wizard of Oz house a few hours away in Liberal, Kansas. Really wanted to see the Wizard of Oz house, but since it’s raining again, I think I’ll just hit the road and make time towards Paris, Texas.
Sadly, I still haven’t had time to process other photos from the trip, but here are some from a very sweet family I met (I’ve been given permission to post these) who went on a little road trip with me to Guernsey, Wyoming where we saw all these birds’ nests, ruts from the Oregon Trail wagon trains (don’t understand how they got so deep), and Registry Rock, where the pioneers and many since have carved their names in the cliffside.
I found a free campground with free electricity in a sweet little town near the freeway. The highlight of my day today was meeting two local women at the nearby pool where I thought I could shower, but the pool is unfortunately closed for the winter. I got lots of tips from them about future spots to see and we had a nice visit. The lowlight might have been driving out a gravel road (it started out paved!) to look for bison and other animals to photograph. I drove nearly 10 miles trying to find Laramie on the backroads, only to end up having to turn back and re-do the entire drive. I didn’t make it to Laramie, but I did see this creepy dead snake that I guess must be a rattlesnake – it was way bigger than I though rattlesnakes get. I was afraid to get to close even though it was clearly dead. Imagine if it suddenly came back to life!
The full moon rise was amazing tonight. It’s also warmer, so it’s nice and comfy in the trailer. No need for long johns or hat in bed tonight – yay!
I left Banff to snow and freezing temperatures. I was really afraid I was going to run out of propane and not have heat, so as much as I would’ve liked to stay and explore, it was clearly time to move on. I was so tired of being cold that I stopped in Fort McLeod to stay in a great little motel. I just picked the town at random because I was tired and it was there. It turned out to be a really great little town that I’d love to visit again someday. Several movies were filmed there, understandable with its wild west vibe.
I left Canada and visited my cousin and family for two weeks in Livingston and Wilsall, Montana. It was such a great time and busy, so no time to post. Three days ago, I had a beautiful drive from Wilsall to Thermopolis, Wyoming. This is another amazing place, with the world’s largest natural hot spring and a fantastic campground! It’s once again getting cold, so I’ll head south toward Texas via Colorado tomorrow. I’m really looking forward to warmer temperatures. So far, this is a very, very good trip – I catch myself smiling at the good fortune of being able to work remotely and see all these beautiful places.
So I had a couple of adventures yesterday and today. I had planned my campground on the highway between Jasper and Banff and it was getting late when I pulled in. Turns out it closed for the season 2 days ago! Luckily, another campground let me park in an overflow area.
When I woke up it was pouring rain, but I really wanted to move my trailer to a prettier spot next to the water. I did that, super-proud of my backing-up skills, and then I left the back of the Tahoe open while I leveled and set up. Stupid me – my battery died and I needed a jump start 🙁 It’s still pouring rain and might even snow tonight (fingers crossed that it doesn’t snow because I am not set up for it!), but I found wifi at the tourist office so I can work a little and post a bunch of photos from yesterday.
I’m so glad I got to see the Rockies yesterday! It’s incredibly beautiful here.
I’m so proud of myself for driving over this 4000 ft. pass, up and down! My trailer made it and the truck didn’t overheat – no disasters whatsoever. I pulled over every time cars piled up behind me. At one of the pullovers, I saw this guy who had ridden his bike all over the Rockies and also in Crater Lake, Oregon. Gave me a reminder that I shouldn’t feel like I’m doing anything special – look at this guy!
Now I’m sitting outside with the mountains all around me, hoping these pictures show up okay. The last picture is from where I sit right now. I just did laundry here – great campground. It’s a beautiful morning!
I’m uploading these from my laptop, so not sure how they really look to other people. I can’t use my fancy big computer to adjust colors and such until I’m somewhere else. I’m sitting in a Tim Horton’s using their free wifi. There’s rain now. Hopefully, it will dampen the haze so I can see the Canadian Rockies tomorrow or the next day!