We woke in Evanston to 33º, fog, and windblown snow. After an hour of checking road reports and weather reports, trying to decide whether to continue east across Wyoming, drop down to Salt Lake City and come east through Colorado on I-70, or just go home, we decided to try I-80 across Wyoming as planned.
I’ve driven that route many times in all sorts of weather, and it can get awful before they close the road. I’d found that a road report of “slick in spots,” like it said this morning, could mean anything from almost unnoticeable to patches of ice 100 feet long. We hoped we wouldn’t get stranded anywhere. Once we started, we were committed. If the Interstate was too difficult, we wouldn’t be able to avoid it by going south to Colorado because the connecting roads would be worse.
The first 100 miles were pretty bad but OK, with temperatures hovering around freezing and blowing snow. There were a few bridges that were frozen slick, and a little slush in one area, but we managed all right. Things were better from Green River to about 50 miles west of Rawlins, when the clouds closed in again and we hit sections of snow, sleet, and grauple, a form of frozen snow pellets common in Wyoming. I drove because both Andrea and I are happier if I drive when the weather is bad.
We stopped in Rock Springs to charge the car. The closest rest rooms open at 10 AM were in a TJ Maxx. I thought those stores only had clothes, but it was like a mini-Target. We stocked up on dried apricots and Kind bars in case we got stuck somewhere along the road. (The new almond butter and dark chocolate bars are delicious.)
Crossing southern Wyoming is mostly just paying attention enough to keep the car on the road. Today it was more intense, but we were able to make good time through the sections with no snow where the roads were only damp rather than wet.
It was snowing again with the usual stiff wind by the time we got to the charging station in Rawlins. The only food within walking distance in weather like that was a Burger King. It’d been a few years since we’d been in one, and it was pretty much as we remembered.
The road between Rawlins and Laramie rises up over a shoulder of Elk Mountain, a section of the road that can be particularly treacherous in the winter, and I dreaded it. I’ve heard that the truckers refer to it as Snow-Chi-Min Trail. But today it was dry pavement and fast, with just a little blowing snow at the top. We got to Laramie by 2:30.
After a short charge in West Laramie, we went to Coal Creek Coffee downtown. There have been a few changes downtown since I lived here, but a lot of it is the same. Coal Creek has been painted but is still very much like it was. I had my first decent latte this trip. Sitting there, looking out the window, I could feel my heart slow. It’s nice to be back in an old haunt, even for a short visit.