This is Wyoming...
|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...
|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...
|(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
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...
- 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.
- 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
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
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
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...
- 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.
- 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.
- 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)
|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?
For a much more in-depth and motivating
log of I-80 across the state of Wyoming,
More Than Meets the Eye: Wyoming Along Interstate 80
More Than Meets the Eye: Wyoming Along Interstate 80
or, at least take something along to keep you entertained...