And suddenly, just like that, the travel leg of this adventure is over.
I didn’t get sick of driving, surprisingly. Good books helped. So did Diet Coke and Starbucks (the FEW FEW FEW times I could FIND IT!) and Hint of Lime Tostitos and Wheat Thins and apples and Ghirardelli chocolates. So did the stunning, eye-popping beauty of this amazing country of ours. It really is incredible. And photos just can’t do it justice.
I was up so late last night, and today was my last day of travel, so I took my time getting moving this morning. Actually made it to a hotel breakfast for the first time, though, ironically. They had those make-your-own-waffle flip-over waffle makers. YEAHH. Actually, a bit sweet for early in the morning, but you don’t ever remember that till after. Sigh.
I was floored by how much gorgeous country South Dakota still had to offer in its last gasp from Hot Springs out to the border with Wyoming…which, incidentally, I never saw. There wasn’t one, as far as I could see. I just arrived in a little “town” – a meeting of roads with a building or two…and suddenly I was in Wyoming, and had been for some ten miles.
Talk about wide open spaces. Holy COW. And lots of them. And a few antelope. And a couple of raptors on the wing. And one little lizard-type guy who ran under my back tires when I was doing 65+ and couldn’t even consider swerving and I heard the little bump and saw him squished in the side view mirror.
Craggy mesas, scrubby sage pastures, rolling fields of green, four or five horses pressed against one another back-to-front to swish the flies from each other’s faces and their own backs at once…and an iron-colored sky that gradually gave way to more and more blue. Little homesteads in oases of trees.
Every man I saw was wearing a cowboy hat. One was even in honest-to-God spurs, coming out of a gas station convenience store. I pumped gas at an ancient-looking gas pump and paid after. Haven’t done that in years.
Signs today: “The Bitch’s Corner Bar.” (GOD, why didn’t I get that picture? Real live bar title in Lingle, WY.) “WE R 1 DAY CLOSER 2 RAIN.” Outside a nursery. And on the other side, “CLOSED UNTIL IT RAINS.” The word “Buckaroo” worked into every business name conceivable. And, most interestingly, “St. Joseph’s Children’s Home.” As in, a real live orphanage. That one almost ate me alive with curiosity.
I wasn’t in a hurry today. I kept pulling the Blubaru over to the right, straddling the rumble strips, letting people behind me pass. I just couldn’t go over 65 for some reason, though the speed limit was often 70 or 75. Just felt like that was too fast. Wanted to linger? Maybe? Most people who passed me when I pulled over waved to me.
I was listening to “The Hour I First Believed” today. It’s getting tough to listen to. It’s about the Columbine massacre and includes real-life details about the two boys and their writings and videos prior to the act. And the character telling the story is an East Coast transplant to Colorado. And his wife is dealing with PTSD and lashing out at everyone. It’s hitting close to home for me due to this and other recent experiences…and having a very strange effect on me.
After the orphanage, Denver suddenly appeared on the mileage signs, along with Lusk and Cheyenne and Casper. Some time after that, I saw Fort Collins. By the time I got onto I-25 South, my new interstate artery, the FC signs were billboards.
I had my camera ready the whole 7 miles to the state line after leaving Cheyenne. Road work was happening right ON the state line, but I found a turnout where I could pull over and get this shot.
Some 30 miles later, I got off I-25 and onto Prospect Rd, and followed the GPS to my new place of residence. That description will have to wait till tomorrow, when I’ll have more time.
Once I was done there, I headed for the Wilbourns’ new place…found it…they weren’t there…and then down to Johnstown to my friend Mandy’s place, where I’d be staying the night.
We had a wonderful salmon dinner and watched the sun sink down in flames behind the Rockies. It was mesmerizing. And I’m looking forward to several more. I love my beautiful green Virginia, but it doesn’t allow for sunsets. I don’t plan on missing many while I’m living here in Colorado.
And now I do. Though I’m in a strange state of limbo, and I can’t really take possession of my new abode till 8/16 (I’ll be in Reno for most of the intervening time), I do finally live in Colorado. It’s come true.
Guess I better find a job now….