10/11/2011: Day 12: Little America to Shoshoni, WY
I woke up our Deluxe room in Little America at 6, and Karen was up by 7:30. She noted interesting light thru the gap in the curtains that I'd opened so I could see my keyboard. So I bundled up and ran outside with my SX-20. There I saw a rainbow! Good portent. Well, the lower leg of one was a sharp double in the low morning light. I got good and chilled shooting the waxing and waning rainbow with my Canon until it faded.
After a bit more computer puttering while Karen got us packed up, we had breakfast with pancakes at the town restaurant. As Karen checked us out, I cleared out the glove box to not-find an eyeglass repair kit for Karen's lens and my sunglass nose piece. So we shopped the L.A. convenience store and I fixed our glasses. We finally got on the road at 10:40.
It was only 15 miles on I-80 to the next exit, and we turned north on WY-372, the La Barge Road. This was, in part so that we won't be on interstate for 200,000 mile event. So we stopped to take pix of the odometer and antelope at 199999, and stopped again to capture for disinterested posterity the odometer at 200,000. Right by the Seedskadee National Wildlife Refuge, where we mostly saw mining trucks.
Then we turned up WY-28 toward: Atlantic City, Atlantic City here we come. Yes, we drove though scattered showers up a fast but rolling highway to a barely marked side road that turned to dirt after a few yards. I enjoyed driving the muddy road in light rain, up and down and zig and zag to Atlantic City. Karen was not as blase. The old mining town, named for its perch on the eastern side of the continental divide, was shut down for the winter. Almost. The town gathering place, bar, and grill was still open for a week. But the proprietress had just moved here six weeks ago, and hadn't yet absorbed enough of the local lore to inform tourists. But she suggested that we go back to South Pass City at the other end of this dirt road, where an old-timer ran a shop and National Historic Site. She warned that that lady would talk our ears off.
We continued forward on the dirt road till it looped back to the paved highway, and backtracked up the slope to the divide and into another dirt road over to South Pass City. It was a shorter off road jaunt than Atlantic City. This town is laid out and set up for tourists, a true roadside preserved gold mining ghost town with some still-active mines. But it, too, was closed for the season. However, the owner of the gift shop and gatekeeper of the first Mason lodge in Wyoming was as voluble as promised. She and I chattered for quite a while, till Karen gave up and walked over to the old town. I joined her and took some snapshots. We were a bit too late this season at several sites. Northern treks should be limited to the May-September tourist season.
So onward up WY-28 to US-287 to Lander. Lander? Yes the same place we'd stopped for cappuccino on our way out. The Old Town Coffee House was in between grinders, so we had to settle for Mellita filtered steamed milk cafe au lait. It was we-eak. But we looked at maps and decided to head on through Riverton and stopin Shoshoni. My Droid siad there is one motel in town, and it was fairly nice. Driving through Riverton proved to us that it was no place to stop. Yes, it was cheaper, and yes it had cappuccino, but it was a gambling, smoking, drinking capitol of the Wind River Indian Reservation. We wanted a quiet room.
So we called ahead and got a room at Shoshoni's Desert Inn. An old roadside motel run by a very friendly hunter, After checking in, we found that their wifi was good, but the internet connection uselessly unreliable. The manager was so friendly about it that it didn't really bother me. This town has 645 residents and is only 4820 feet above sea level, our lowest town in many days. But the sun was setting, and I went out to see if there was any scenery to see. I took sunset pics out in a cactus laced field and the wind grew strong. I chased my hat a few times, and retrieved it from cacti. But after a snack, I was done in, so turned that way.
After 3 days of travel, we are now about 4 hours from Old Faithful, via direct route. As I have come to say, the trip is the destination. But now we proceed downhill, planning to take US-20 across Nebraska. Well, we expect to get into Nebraska, today.