Tuesday, October 14, 2014

West to Colorado: Wyoming is God's country

After driving through the dark night from South Dakota and eventually into Wyoming.

My dad and I called it a night at some roadside motel in Lusk, Wyoming. When we awoke the next morning, the motel manager informed us that storms with snow and heavy rain were approaching the area. After a brief and simple breakfast, strong winds and dark horizons approached. Rain started to hit as soon as we packed our overnight bags into the wagon. I stopped for gas to top-off before embarking back onto the interstate west, into the open land that was Wyoming proper. While filling up, a Niobrara County Sherrif's deputy pulled up in a muddy Dodge Ram pickup. 

We soon passed through the town of Fort Laramie. Per our TomTom GPS, we had about six hours of driving lay ahead until we arrived in Granby, Colorado, our final destination. We'd head south down on I25, passing through Cheyenne before crossing the border into Colorado. Driving the "Adventure Mobile" through Wyoming was a treat. Rolling hills and endless fields were covered by moody blue skies, with an occasional tall rocky bluff poking upwards. This was, without a doubt, God's country. 

Wyoming was a truly beautiful state. It got me even more excited to head west. It was so desolate too. There'd be times we'd go nearly 30 minutes without seeing another car or building along the highway. Another thing the "Equality State" had going for it, was its generous 80 mph speed limits on some interstates. Wisconsin's roads take a big step back with its miserable 65 mph posting.

In the late afternoon, we passed through Denver and were making our way up I70 into the mountains. Things started to feel more real. This next adventure and journey were starting. I was almost to my new home. As we approached the town of Empire and began our climb up Berthoud Pass, it started to pour rain, followed by transformation to snow. Berthoud Pass is a beast to drive, crossing over the Continental Divide near 12,000 ft then falling into Grand Valley, where Winter Park, Tabernash, Fraser, and Granby were. Thankfully, my Saabaru wagon had all wheel drive and it wasn't as treacherous as I had expected. Though being my first time driving the pass, it was a bit white-knuckled.

A minor snowstorm in October? Dreamy for sure, and a nice way to welcome us into Granby, Colorado, which sat at a steep 8,000 feet of elevation. The air was thin but I was too happy to notice. Almost 2,000 miles on the odometer and three days later, I set foot on my new home and place of employment, YMCA of the Rockies Snow Mountain Ranch. Let this new chapter begin. I'm so grateful my father shared this adventure out to Colorado with me.