Loveland to Jackson Hole

21 February 2017 by 1der Girl

Loveland to Jackson Hole
  1. We met Heidi at our prior stop (Boulder). There's an outside chance 1der's Mom and uncle may know her Daddy as he grew up in the same hood as them. We're hoping that's the case.
  2. 3/3/21: I was very happy when I read this article about coal-country Rawlins leveraging all that wind and moving away from coal. Yes!!!
  3. From my prior post about driving to Taos from Telluride, none of the nav apps, GPS or Google maps showed a major road was closed. This meant a long, out-of-the way detour. Argh!

We spent yesterday hanging out at Colorado Camper Van, and it was good for 1der to see Derek (the owner) and check out the new shop. Derek recently moved his operations to a new location, and it is really nice. And big! All the bays were filled with vans in various stages of production, and the parking lot was filled with vans, in the queue, awaiting pop-tops. These guys are busy!

Derek is a really nice guy; very easy going, calm and friendly. The shop has a good vibe, and Derek's demeanor sets the tone. Derek is the mechanical, engineering, production guy, and Matt, who joined the company a couple years ago, is the operations and sales manager and a great addition to the team. Like Derek, he's genuine and sincere, and he helps the business grow with his no-nonsense, process-oriented, systems-minded approach.

They made us feel comfortable all day and let us take showers (the shop has a nice shower - thank you Derek!) before hitting the road early evening for the 90-minute drive to Laramie, Wyoming, a good stopping / boondocking point on our way to Jackson.

We stopped at the Pilot Travel Center, a truck stop not known for it's cinnamon buns. One thing we're always cognizant about is our safety, and truck stops are usually good because typically, other trucks are stopped for the night, which means safety in numbers. But no matter who's around, we are very careful about where we park, and we do not exit Beastie unless we have to. Thank goodness for the Port-a-Potty, our sink and hot water!

Two really bad things about being around trucks: a) many of them idle their diesel engines for hours. Not only is this very noisy, it's really fume-y and horrible for the environment, and b) many of them leave early in the morning, so you get all kinds of trucks idling and accelerating all around you. Highly undesirable. We drove around the block and thankfully found a nice, quiet area to sleep.

****************

Today started out bright and sunny, and instead of going the way we went last year via Rawlins / Rock Springs, we wanted to go a different route as suggested by Heidi[1], who was very familiar with the area. She recommended going by way of Rawlins / Landers and coming through the Bridger - Teton National Forest. This looked like a great route and would be even more beautiful than our "normal" route.

Last year, when we drove to Rawlins, it was SUPER windy. So windy that there was a high wind alert (gusts to 70 mph) and no travel for small vehicles and light-weight trailers. Even though we are not a small vehicle, we chose to stop at a rest stop for the night, and along with so many other cars and trucks, waited for the winds to die down the next morning.

This year was no different in terms of the wind[2]. It was BLOWING super hard, and it was freezing. When we stopped at the same rest stop (as last time) for a bathroom break, 1der opened the door, and it was literally ripped out of his hand from the wind. At the same time, the lumbar support thingy flew out and went flying across the walkway. He yelled at me (actually scared the you-know-what out of me) just in time for me to turn around and catch the thing before it blew away for good.

This is the view pulling into the rest stop on the way to Rawlins, WY. This is a perfect example of the never-ending vistas prevalent throughout this landscape. It's vastly beautiful, but extremely harsh during the winter. Both times we've been here in the winter, it's been super cold with blasting winds.
This is the sign at the rest stop. Take a moment to read it. I felt good after I read it, because I was happy the animals could survive in this harsh environment during their migration (here) for the winter.
We passed the Continental Divide along the way. Busted! Is that a Johnson's Corner cinnamon bun hanging out and warming up on the dashboard???

Here are some beautiful cloudscapes. No matter how cold, windy and miserable it is outside, we have the best front row seats, all cozy, warm and comfy while moving along in Beastie.

Thank goodness for cellular technology so we could monitor the weather. It wasn't looking good at all.

Based on what happened on the way to Taos[3], we were skeptical about the roads staying open. I checked the Wyoming highway website (don't rely on map apps, GPS and Google Maps if you want 100% accuracy, and it showed no road closures.

Luckily, we were able to connect with Heidi, and as our expert advisor, she confirmed our thinking — better to go via Rock Springs. Thank you, Heidi, for being available at the perfect time, for we were just pulling into Rawlins (the decision-making junction) when we got your text

Within an hour or so, it started to snow. It was blowing snow, and visibility started to diminish.

And then it snowed even harder. And harder. We were going very slow. It got so bad, we could barely see out of the window, and we had to pull over so 1der could clear all the ice from the windshield.>

Notice how I didn't say "we" got out to clear the windshield? I'm not taking credit for 1der's bravery and snow-clearing heroics. But don't think I didn't help out. Oh yes I did indeed! I stayed inside and blasted the defroster so the ice would melt. Someone had to stay inside to appreciate all the heat, and it might as well be me, right? Without my integral role, there would be no ice melting / windshield clearing. I was also making sure that cinnamon bun was getting nice and warm for 1der. Oh wait, he already ate it hours ago!

Long story short, we made it safely to Jackson, checked into the campground (Fireside, specifically the campground behind those cute, expensive cabins; we camped here last year), and it finally stopped snowing.

Total travel time was nearly eight hours, so we're very tired and need to get to sleep. Lot's of freshies tomorrow on the slopes. WOO-HOO!!!





1der Girl
1der Girl

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