Epic Road Trip West, Part 4

Wyoming is breathtakingly beautiful, a solitary man’s dream. I’ve already witnessed several paintings yet to be. I could be alone deep in my thoughts and let my beard grow out salt and pepper for years. I could be a mountain man here. And be happy. But most likely alone.

The sunrise this morning greeted us with the most vibrant array of yellows, oranges, pinks and magentas against varying blues to form a perfect entrance to the day. I looked at it like I do all sunrises (and sunsets) – like I’d never seen one before and never will again. And so I thanked it for being a big part of my life this morning and for being the harbinger of good things today.

There are trains in the distance, it and its tracks cutting thru the snowy landscape. Norman Rockwell would be inspired. As am I.

From what little I’ve seen so far, Wyoming could be Colorado without the population. At 7000 feet in elevation, I pass the Continental Divide. Only 1043 miles to go before I get home. It’s only 8:24 AM and the rising sun hits the snow capped mountains and hills just right. I’m driving through a postcard, as I have so often these last two months.

Then there’s Utah, which is on another level. Driving past Park City puts a thought into my head, that someday I could see myself living here. Past Salt Lake City, I-80 could be the straightest highway in the country, cutting thru the Great Salt Lake Desert. It wouldn’t be long before we would be in Nevada. We were in the home stretch now.

By 4:30 PM, the skies had darkened and pretty soon, we were hit with a torrential downpour that lasted an hour. Still, as slow going as this was, I would have taken this over the last couple days fighting the blizzard. We were in Reno within a few short hours. We only had to cross the Tahoe National Forest before the rest would be quick, smooth sailing.

We only had 200 miles or so to go.
And the first fifty would be the hardest miles to drive on our entire trip, which is saying a lot considering what we went through in South Dakota diverging down to Nebraska.

Incredibly tired and frustrated, we really had to dig within ourselves for Tahoe. The fifty mile drive during the daytime is stunning, and was a great way to start the trip three weeks ago. With beautiful white snow and immense green pine trees and snowcapped mountains, Tahoe is a postcard. As with all things, there is always another side. Once I saw all the cars stopped to get chains on their tires, I knew this wouldn’t be easy. Luckily, my car is all-wheel-drive, but it still wasn’t easy. It had snowed. And because it was so cold, much of it had turned to ice. We were slipping and sliding. Most of the drive, I was barely going 20 mph. Twice, a car almost rear-ended us. The worst of it came when a truck did a 360 in front of us. I didn’t want to slam on the brakes, and I didn’t want to hit the gas. Lightly tapping on the brake, and moving the steering wheel left, and staying calm (as calm as I could possibly be), I avoided the truck. In the rear-view mirror I could tell no other car hit him either. Taylor was white-knuckling the drive as surely as I was; but we were unharmed.

That fifty mile drive took almost three hours.

We arrived at home just after midnight, so happy to be home to ring in Christmas.

Merry Christmas!!
And by the time this post is posted, Happy New Year!!


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