Road-Trip Ramblings #2: Driving Through Wyoming is Really, REALLY Boring! (And a few things to break up the monotony)

When an Iowa-girl meets and marries a Utah-boy, it's inevitable that the two of them are going to make the drive back and forth every once in awhile.  I think in 11 years I've made the trek more than 25 times.  Trust me, very little of this 1000-mile section of I-80 is very interesting!  About a year ago my sister moved to western Nebraska and I'm so excited to have somebody else out here "in the west" with me, but after visiting her there three separate times, I'm ready to scream from the mountaintops that Wyoming is really, REALLY boring!

This is Wyoming...
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Seriously, even the shape of Wyoming is boring.
I'm not exaggerating, this is traced straight out of my Rand McNally Atlas.
At least 49% of the people who visited Wyoming in 2012 focused their entire trip on this one corner of the state...
A Local Wander
That would be Yellowstone National Park.
Three other top visited places are within a short driving distance from there.
 Unfortunately, I-80 does not go anywhere close to there...
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(an approximate drawing)
Let me take you along the longest of 5 hour drives.  (I will say one nice thing about driving through Wyoming:  the major towns are all equally spread apart at about 100 miles.  It does make it easier to envision how long until your next reprieve) Here we go...

    Evanston to Green River/Rock Springs

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With Utah as my starting/stopping point, this section is pretty much a throw away for me.  Either we're barely on the road so it's still exciting, or we're almost off the road so we're only thinking about finally getting there.  There are two things to note, however...



  1. Little America-An AWESOME Oasis of Green in the middle of nowhere.  I'm going to write about it more in a separate post, so for now know it's a gas station/play area/restaurant/hotel stop thriving where nothing else is living.
  2. The Green River Tunnel.  I-80 crosses the bluff above Green River and you have to go through this tunnel to get to the other side.  A Greyhound driver once told me he saw a compact car literally blown off the road from winds coming down the canyon on the west end.  I've experienced the strong winds a handful of times and will add my testimony that this is definitely a place to exercise perfect 10 & 2 on the wheel.
     Rock Springs to Rawlins

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Brown, brown, brown, brown, brown, train, train, brown, brown, brown...You get the picture.  When you finally do get to Rawlins look north of the highway for a small conglomeration of horse and llama corrals.  They really will make you feel for a second like you're in cowboy country.  Also watch for the Kermit the Frog house.  You'll know it when you see it.    

If you have time to leave the freeway in Rawlins, I highly recommend venturing up to a place called Martin's Cove.  There is a visitor's center operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and opportunity to experience hiking like the Mormon Pioneers did back in the 1800's.

     Rawlins to Laramie

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There is nothing more disconcerting than coming up on a section of interstate temporarily closed due to severe winter weather. And something very eerie about being the first car through the crossing gates when the road reopens. If it is going to happen while you're driving across Wyoming, odds are pretty good it's going to be on this particular stretch of the highway.  I have been in white-out blizzards here as late as Memorial Day and even when the weather is warmer, wind and fog can be a major hazard.  On my recent drive, in fact, this is the only place I encountered snow.  What is there to see along here, then?  Impressive miles and miles of snow fencing.

     Laramie to Cheyenne

A Local Wander

The good news about Laramie (if you're traveling east) is that it's the beginning of the end of your drive through Wyoming.  The distance from there to Cheyenne is only about 45 miles and after what you've been through, it goes so quickly!  In addition, there are actually a few interesting things to see...
  1. Medicine Bow National Forest-there is a REALLY steep climb east of Laramie that takes you out of the brown through a red rock canyon up into an evergreen forest.  It is such a treat on the eyes!  In winter the snow on the side of the roads can be higher than your car, though, so be careful.  Also, I've rarely made it through this stretch without some kind of heavy fog impeding me.
  2. Most people would never put Wyoming and Abraham Lincoln in the same sentence, but here he is right on the side of the road immortalized in stone at the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Monument.
  3. And just for something strange, there is a monument in the interstate median with a tree growing out of a boulder.  I've never stopped because it's in a very odd place, but you should.  It seems like something interesting.  Now that I think about it, it's pretty amazing they didn't destroy it during the construction of I-80 on either side.
   
     Cheyenne to Pine Bluff (Nebraska Border)
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Whether the end or the beginning,
 you'll be excited to finally be here!
It's all back to normal driving now.  If you're just coming into Wyoming, it's pretty exciting to just FINALLY be out of Nebraska.  And if you're on your way out of Wyoming, you're singing the praises (which won't last long if you're now heading across all of Nebraska) of dropping down onto the western plains with new scenery coming up ahead.

Obviously I write a little tongue-in-cheek, and the other parts of Wyoming I've traveled to are absolutely beautiful and interesting.  But, I'll tell you, I don't look forward to making the exact same trip again the next time!

Where is that section of road you could do without ever driving again?


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More Information
For a much more in-depth and  motivating 
log of  I-80 across the state of Wyoming, 

or, at least take something along to keep you entertained...




37 comments:

  1. I've never had the pleasure of driving I80 across Wyoming, but I have driven through parts of Indiana where we sing the same song - different verse "Corn, corn, corn, corn, tree! corn, corn, corn!!!" This the funniest post I've read in a long time! Loved the trip across Wyoming with you! And Honest Abe in Wyoming? We love Lincoln history here in KY but that's one piece of memorial we've never seen! Thanks for the tour!!!

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  2. Kiera @EasytravelmomMay 9, 2013 at 12:25 PM

    I loved this post too and I have to say, I hate I-80 through Pennsylvania! It's a bit better than it was 5 years ago when we moved out to Ohio but driving across I-80 in Pennsylvania is the longest, most painful drive for us to Connecticut. I may just have to write about it! :)

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  3. Ladies, I've driven every mile of I-80 from coast to coast at one time or another and I've painted myself this rosy picture where the rest of it is absolutely amazing. Thanks for the reminder! :)

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  4. Love it! This post reminds me of the books about all the things to do along I-75 from Michigan to Florida, except that you fit it all into one post, not one book! My least favorite stretch of road is I-74/I-65 from Cincinnati to Chicago through Indiana. Like Sharon said, corn, corn, corn, corn, and more corn!

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  5. You've been where I've been? The kids and I find the U2 song "Still HAven't found what I'm looking for" very fitting on that road! lol

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  6. The drawings are just great! Love it!

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  7. So glad I stumbled upon this blog. I plan to make a road trip thru California, up to Sacramento and then on the 80 all the way to Fort Wayne Indiana. (New job) This was great information and let's me know what's in store. Thanks!

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  8. That is quite the drive! We actually drove from Monterrey to Iowa, back to Utah, and then back to Illinois this summer. I'll say that since writing, Wyoming has kind of started to grow on me :) If you have time, I'd definitely recommend stopping for the Lincoln monument. The visitor center there has some great information.

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  9. I have taken that drive several times but not as many as you. I loved it but then I have lived in a very large city for the last 33 years even though I grew up county for the first 25. To me Wyoming is so beautiful and I love the long stretches. But I do get what you are saying and your post made me laugh.


    For me it might be the drive from LA to Vegas only because I have done it so many times. But it is basically desert and not much else but a bunch of Joshua Trees and tumbleweeds.

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  10. Aounds like the drive in Arizona when travelling to Yuma. Not much of anything. This is much longer however.

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  11. Terry My Journey With CandidaSeptember 10, 2013 at 4:35 AM

    Hahahahaha... Love this post. I don't think I have ever driven through or... ridden through Wyoming. You did get to see a few neat things though.. but then, I guess you have seen them all before.

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  12. I've actually never been to Wyoming. Not even close. They do seem to have a few good sites to visit but not sure if its worth driving through nothingness to see it. :)

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  13. Seney Stretch! 20+ miles with no turns! http://yoopersteez.com/post/seney-stretch-m28

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  14. Dawn Spatulas On ParadeSeptember 10, 2013 at 6:51 AM

    LOL I have a friend from WY and they talk about that drive. They lived in Laramie and Cheyenne.

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  15. That's good to know! We love to do road trips and our dream is to rent an RV and go all over the country!

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  16. This is a great post! I love your sense of humor. :) I am from Minnesota and actually know a couple doing the LD thing; he is in Wyoming and she is in the Twin Cities. I'll have to share this with them, as their plight is rather similar!

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  17. oooo road trip!! always wanted to take one.

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  18. Road trips are always so fun! I never plan my trips by myself! :D

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  19. I've fancied just taking off on a road trip of late sounds like a great time:) x

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  20. Really nice post! I love road trips but sadly cant plan any trip now due to busy schedule . these drawing are great :)

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  21. Kentucky! It seems like it takes forever to get out of the state we come from Illinois.

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  22. I love road trips, there's so much to see and just take in. I think I don't even have to go to a certain spot, just drive and enjoy the new land!

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  23. Hmmm, sounds like some of our more endless trips. I would love to drive that way some day just to say we did. Thanks for sharing.

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  24. Love your sense of humor! I used to love road trips. I can't imaging doing it now. Any trip that takes longer than a couple hours at this point means I'm purchasing a ticket and relaxing with my headphones on.

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  25. That's so funny. I love road trips over flying. You really get to know each other better.

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  26. Melinda Kuffler DunneSeptember 10, 2013 at 4:41 PM

    Great post! It was very entertaining. I agree driving through Wyoming is pretty boring but so is Kansas...I have done both.

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  27. It's nice to have places of interest to visit on long road trips. When we drove to Chicago this past July, it was a long and boring ride.

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  28. Haha I love your illustrations! I actually want to visit all these places now! I love the idea of road trips but then I get uncomfortable and restless very quickly!

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  29. I love your illustrations! What in the world is up in that left hand corner?? Haha.

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  30. Yellowstone and the Grand Tetons. Kind of important places, I guess... :)

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  31. No argument, there. Kansas, Nebraska, the plains. All pretty boring! (Although Nebraska is growing on me. I'll have to write about it soon.)

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  32. I love road-tripping, but would also love the luxury of flying all the time!

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  33. Thanks, Akhil! Here's hoping your schedule frees up a little bit soon!

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  34. Thanks, Casey! What part of Wyoming is he in?

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  35. I think you're right that a lot of it is in perspective. I've done the drive between Vegas and L.A. a lot fewer times and do still kind of enjoy it.

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  36. I hated everything but devils tower, a plaute looks like a volcano

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  37. Crazy cold in the winter with dangerous winds and snow and fog? crazy hot in the summer? yes it is a beautiful place but dont you wonder why or how anyone could live there full time?

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