8:20AM We must go over the Rockies today and the desk clerk says there’s bad weather up there. New Mexicans are not accomplished snow drivers for the most part and Minnesota winter driving is far in my past so I’m just a little nervous. True, we have enough snacks in the car to survive an entire winter—so the need for cannibalism is unlikely (besides given my years and my nasty cold it would be like gnawing on some aging creature with mad cow disease).
We will be in the papa bear mountains today, getting to Black Hills mama-bear size mountains tomorrow and then baby bear’s craggy hills in Teddy Roosevelt Park—and they are just right! Gigantic snow-peaked mountains are okay but maybe a little claustrophobic. It’s much more interesting where you get the variety of the scattered and mysterious formations breaking out from rolling rangeland or flat prairies like so much of TR’s park.
But now we must be off. Hampton Inn offers the common variety of things to toast, lots of bananas and apples and decent coffee so we will fortify ourselves for the road, then feed the Mazda and it’s up to the high country.
10:00PM In our pleasant enough room at the Cheyenne Wyoming Super 8. Long spectacular drive through those splendid Rocky Mountains today. Teresa did some serious work on our route this morning to keep us off the iciest of passes. So a little rain, lots of clouds which of course made me quite happy. Long and extremely winding roads with 10 mph switchbacks, rushing rivers, towering pines, even a few big darkish deer that may have been elk but they disappeared too quickly to know for sure—can I just say they were elk? All the great beauty that geography can throw at us but, for me, a day and a half of towering snowy peaks, rock walls and mighty forests goes a long way. I am ready for some prairie/plains/big sky country now.
Even though it was all so damn gorgeous we were both quite happy to reach Loveland and drive some straight open plains miles to Cheyenne. Which it turns out is the most charming of western towns. Historically, architecturally fine and funky buildings in the downtown. We ate at the Albany, an old fashioned restaurant with comfy booths, friendly old fashioned waitresses AND tasty old fashioned comfort food such as hot beef and French dip sandwiches and a salted caramel cream puff. Oh yeah, Blue Moon and Odell’s IPA from Fort Collins. My cold is leaving so having a meal and a beer was a treat and confirmation that orange juice and zicam are true cure-alls. (Tuesday, May 20, 2013)