June 14 – Rawlins to Boulder Wyoming

Having heard the weather report for today … winds from the South at 20-25 MPG and gusts as high as 40 MPH during the afternoon, we opted for an early start as the first 100 miles of our drive was due west … meaning the we'd be catching the winds on our beam!

Leaving our Rawlins Campground, Debbie wanted a picture of an "uniquely painted" motorhome.

Once back on I-80 …

the road stretching 10-miles plus into the distance …

and the landscape largely barren … with few signs of human interventions other than electricl poles, railroad tracks and never-ending fences lining both sides of the highway …

we were passed by several trucks with unusual and wide loads.

The first time we've seen 80 MPH speed limits, albeit we'll never get close to that speed.

Unfortunately, we were quickly all-too-aware of the winds long before being advised to do so by WDOT signs,

To make matters worse, road consruction on the eastbound lanes put all of that traffic on the westbound lanes. 

Betwen the winds and the additional air pressure from passing18-wheel semis and tandem trailers (which significantly outnumber the number of cars and small trucks on this section of road) driving was a challenging and exausting exercise.

 

We passed over the      

not once but twice!

We're confused!

As we traveled west, the landscape slowly morphed from endless sage brush …

to more rugged cliffs through which the road wound as we neared Rock Springs (a real town with a population was 23,036 making it the 5th most populated city in the state of Wyoming).

Other sights along the way included two huge trains,

a Fireworks store in the middle of nowhere,

while other gas stations, cafes and businesses just off the Interstate had folded years ago,

a homestead … with an oil storage area in the distance ,

a rusting water tower,

remnants of potash mining operations,

an ad for a 75-cent ice cream cone (if you're willing to drive 50 miles for it),

the first bridge we went under since entering Wyoming,

and at a rest area where flags attested to the wind conditions

and several familes of prarie dogs had taken over one area.

There was also a sign warning visitors not to wander off paved areas.

Nearing Rock Springs, there was a generating plant.

We hit Walmart for groceries and a Flying J station for gas in Rock Springs before heading north on U.S. 191…  initially through more barren landscape, paralleling a butte to the west.

An occasional large home can be spotted… miles from anything.

while other homes have seen better days

It also seems that some sort of RV can be found in the driveways of the vast majority of homes, irrespective of the size or apparrent value of the properties.

U.S. 191 contines for miles and miles

through plains with forests of low lying sagebrush.

Typical of the very few "metropolises" along the route.

The flags continued to bear witness to the strength of the winds buffeting our coach.

We finally neared … if you can call 20-plus miles near … the Wind River Range which we'd first seen in the distance while still on I-80.

The Wind River Range is a part of the Rocky Mountains in western Wyoming.  The range runs roughly NW-SE for approximately 100 miles . The Continental Divide follows the crest of the range and include Gannett Peak, which at 13,804 feet, is the highest peak in Wyoming. There are more than 40 other named peaks in excess of 13,000 feet. With the exception of the Grand Teton in the Teton Range, the next 19 highest peaks in Wyoming after Gannett are also in the Winds.

Then there are the Pronghorn Antelopes which we've seen along the way.

At one point, Debbie had seen enough landscapes and focused on the shapes of animals she saw in some of the cumulus clouds.

 

This evening we are in Boulder, Wyoming …western part of the state about midway between the Utah border to the south and Tetons to the north.

with views from our site of the Wind River Mountains, some peaks topping 12,000'.

Note the trees blowing in the wind

Late this afternoon, the winds are gusting to 35 MPH and not expected to abate all that much over night.  We are also looking at morning temperaterus in the mid-40os.  And with one of the longest mileage days facing us tomorrow, we'll need to be on the road well before the thermometer gets into the 50os!

 

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