Snow - but not as much as we feared.
BUT STILL WINDY!!!!
We weren't sure what to do - make a break or stay another day - and night, to let the winds die down.
By 9:30ish the clouds moved off leaving blue sky - wind or not we decided to hit the road - at least we could see where we were going - right?!
Back on I80 heading west. Overnight I had made a plan to head back to Cheyenne and go up I25 - at least with all the bad weather we'd be on the interstate - I was worried that the secondary roads up to Thermopolis wouldn't be plowed.
In the end we decided to continue on to Rawlins - after all - our last weather report in Laramie had showed that Casper wasn't much better off.
We almost couldn't believe our eyes! Where is the snow?!!!! This is only about 10 minutes into our ride!!! Yup - we had spent the night in a pass - a pass that collected snow. Sheesh!
Still high winds which we either had to drive into or have on our side - Derek had to hold strong - but at least it wasn't snowing! This is the road north of Rawlins - we had actually stop at McDonald's in Rawlins to check the weather - it was hard to tell exactly what was going on - so we continued.
We were on the 789/287 heading north - snow but still not so much. BUT amazing scenery.
We took this route to Sweetwater Station. Not much there except a really nice rest area. We were turning here to head up the 135 to Riverton.
Pretty neat that Sweetwater Station is on the Oregon Trail - I've read many Oregon Trail books.
A bit of history - yup - not a lot to see in this part of Wyoming - beautiful nonetheless.
It's a really GREAT ride from Sweetwater to Riverton - we were really impressed. We were never quite sure for the whole day weather we would get snow or blue sky - it was constantly changing.
From the rest area we could see a sign alerting travellers on the 135 that in 11 miles there was a 'steep grade'. For some reason Derek and I assumed it was a steep 'up' grade. We sat and thought for a moment. Since there was a fellow coming out of the restrooms, Derek went and asked him about it. He assured us we would be fine - just put it in low gear he said. Ok - so we continued on.
Well - here is the 'steep grade' - it's DOWN! Steep alright - 9% - I don't know that we have done that steep before - I was so glad we didn't have to go UP it in this wind.
We stopped in Riverton for gas and continued on the 26 north. This photo was taken just as we were approaching the northern end of the Boysen State Park north of Shoshoni. It sure looked like we were headed into the mountains to get to Thermopolis.
But before we took on that, we turned off the highway into a camping area along the Boysen Reservoir.
The road winds down for a few miles to a really nice campground. You can camp there now for $17 per night but nothing is open. I bet it is really popular in the summer.
We had a pretty cold look around but nice to be up and around after hours of driving.
We continued north - not far now to Thermopolis - our destination for the evening.
Amazing already - just wait and see!
Amazing ride - Wind River Canyon - a scenic byway!
We saw another campground and decided to take another look.
Also very nice, quite a few along this stretch.
We followed the road at the end of the campground up to the dam - just to take a look.
As we were going up this van was coming down. Derek stopped and we talked to the driver for a few minutes - funny - he had the same hair do as Derek. They are from Seattle and have been up to Alaska and down to California with their cool rig - again - racks we dream of.
Tunnels - three of them - up ahead. Always popular with the Wood Clan.
It turns out that this 10 mile strip that starts 4 miles south of Thermopolis is a scenic byway and considered one of the most beautiful drives in Wyoming. Take a look - but take my word for it - the drive is AMAZING - the pictures don't even touch the shear magic of this route. What we can't figure out is why our map doesn't have the green dots along this route!
Just as we were nearing the end - look what was starting to happen!
Yup - snow!
WoW! What timing - we were sure glad that we made it through the canyon and were able to see it without the blowing snow.
In a few minutes we were pulling into Thermopolis - and look - no more snow!
And blue sky.
A quick look at downtown - we'll be back.
The Hot Springs State Park - our destination.
There is no camping at the HSSP - we knew that. Originally our plan would have been to stealth camp but really - with all the cold and such - a hotel sounded like a much better plan.
So - we are here at the Days Inn at the State Park - right across the park from the free hot springs bath house. We arrived last night with the intention of staying for one night - but with all there was to see today around town we booked in for a second night.
From here it's a push to our home for the summer, so we thought we would live large for a couple of days first. Ahhhhh more hot springs.
TODAY'S INTERESTING LINK: Next post I'll fill you in on why we decided to stop in Thermopolis - for now here is the link to their website so you can get a head start.