The World According to Keitho

Just another weblog

Posts Tagged ‘wyoming’

Let’s hear it for the west

Posted by keithosaunders on August 11, 2011

I’ve driven across the country three times.  The first time, in 1989, took me across on I 70, which meant, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Colorado, and on into Nevada and California.  Contrary to what most people had to say, I loved the rolling hills of Eastern Kansas, followed by the stark, pancake-flat western half of the state.  Eastern Colorado was impressive, not for its scenery, but for the fact that you could make out the Rockie mountains from hundreds of miles away. 

Last year we took a northern route — I 90.  This saw us through Wisconsin, Minnesota, South Dakota (the Badlands!), and Wyoming.  We turned south through a corner of Idaho and came down I 15 in northern Nevada, picking up 80 into Cali at Reno.

This year has me splitting the difference, taking I 80.  Contrary to last year, when we took our time and spent a few days sight-seeing, this year we’re trying to get home in a reasonable amount of time.  80 goes from the George Washington Bridge to within a mile of my house in Albany, California, so it is a direct route.

In regards to I 80, the country does not begin to get interesting until you cross the Mississippi River.  Sure, Pennsylvania is a pretty state, but it’s long, and there is so much country ahead of you that you’re mostly concentrating on getting your sea legs for the trip.  Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, at least the parts that can be viewed from I 80, are bland and chock full of fast food restaurants and factory farms.  Also, the fact that you are tolled every ten miles puts you in a surly mood, negating any beauty you may happen to encounter.

But once you cross the Mississip — BAM — it’s as if the country emerges, Wizard of Oz-like,  from black and white into Technicolor.  The most striking thing is the sky, and how much of it you can see.  It’s as if a giant blue dome has been lowered. 

I love the old Plain States towns — beat up, way-gone, and bursting with character.  You can tell that they were once great places to live.  People built homes and buildings with loving care, and there is still a whiff of that feeling, even in their ghostly modern state. 

Chappell, Nebraska


Kimball, Nebraska

 Wyoming…is there a more beautiful state in the union than Wyoming?  Last year we were in Grand Teton, which was a mountain paradise.  This year we are in the southern portion of the state, but it is no less striking.  We pulled off the road at Medicine Bow national forest at a park called Turtle Rock.  We spent an hour among gorgeous rock formations, which we hiked up. 

On the way west there was a thunder-storm which we could see in the distance for miles in advance.  The storm was to the north of us, but we were able to make out a small tornado.

We are currently staying at a hotel in the Rockie Mountains in Rawlings, Wyoming.  Tomorrow we have 250 more miles of Wyoming before we turn south-west into Utah.  We plan on stopping off in Salt Lake City for a respite to view some Mormons before continuing into Nevada.  

This is the life!

Posted in life | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

The big push

Posted by keithosaunders on August 18, 2010

We started the day in Jackson,Wyoming. Sixteen hours and 800 miles later, we find ourselves in Rosedale, less than two hours away from our new home in Albany, Ca. Let me tell you folks something: When it comes to driving, I am an animal.

I was one more cup of coffee away from being able to make the entire trip, but what for? There is no furniture in our new home. This, of course, begs the question, where are we going to sleep tomorrow night?! We know that the movers are somewhere in California, but even assuming they have made it all the way to the Bay Area, what are the chances they will be amenable to scheduling an impromptu delivery? I’d say there are two chances: Slim and none.

We’ll cross that bridge when we come to it. (not the Bay Bridge,silly, the movers bridge!)

In the meantime, here is your August 16th road trip marathon happy recap:

We drove west from Wyoming into Idaho, then down into northern Nevada. We had dinner in a pretty good Mexican restaurant in Elko, after which I drove practically 400 miles to our current destination.

There was a 3/4 moon staring directly into my windshield and it was fun watching it gradually set into the western sky. After it set I pulled off the road, just past Lake Tahoe and spent five minutes star-gazing.

Tomorrow our trip ends, and so begins our new life as Californians. You can have your airplanes – there is nothing like the road!

Posted in road trip | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wyoming day 2: The goring of Keitho

Posted by keithosaunders on August 16, 2010

The first thing we were told upon entering Grand Tetons is that there is a lot of wildlife to be seen. Moose, elk,bears, and bald eagles, to name a few — each one more treacherous than the last. I’m not exactly sure how treacherous the bald eagle is, but I understand he/she can be pretty crafty when he sets his mind to it. Even the chipmunks, so I’m told, are mean!

The point being, watch yourself. Trouble is that I’m a New Yorker, soon to be second-time Californian. My mug-dar is fine tuned. Looking out for wild animals…not so much. To top it off I just saw a YouTube video in which some putz tried to get a close up shot of a bison and ended up getting a one way ticket to goresville. Not cool!

All of this was top of mind when we took a hike up to some beautiful waterfalls, and a great scenic vista called Inspiration Point. (Wasn’t that where the gang from Happy Days went to make out? Heyyyyy.)

So I’m walking up the mountain Fred Sanford style, the slightest sound causing me to pivot sharply and brace myself for an Olympic record 50 yard dash. All of a sudden I’m face to face with a bison the size of Maspeth. I began to tremble like Don Knotts as the bison arched his back and growled. In desperation I whipped out my iPod and hit play. As the sounds of Bud Powell playing Ornithology wafted out into woods the Bison turned up his nose and walked away. He said he just couldn’t gore to that kind of music. Once again the unpopularity of be-bop saves the day!

Of course this didn’t really happen. Had this been a real goring you would have been instructed as to which hospital or funeral home to send flowers.

We still have one more day in the Titons, I mean, uh Tetons, and let me tell you, it will be action packed. Stay tuned for possible maimings.

Posted in road trip | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Wyoming and me

Posted by keithosaunders on August 15, 2010

We’re in Wyoming in the part of the Rockie mountains known as the Grand Tetons. I’m straining against every fiber of my being not to make the obvious pun, but I’m fighting a losing battle. Who am I kidding? I’m a guy and therefore must leave no fart joke or titty reference unsaid. If you have problem you can always take it up with my lawyer, Fred Lite.

The drive through the Little Big Horn pass was spectacular. I like everything about this part of the country. Except for the politics.

Lee and Lucy got into one of their arguing jags halfway through the drive. It’s good sport for them. Nobody wins. Like a soccer match, or a baseball All Star game where the manager manages to burn through his entire 87 man roster in 8 innings. My older boy, Jake, who is not on the trip, suggested chloroform.

We’re going to hunker down here for the next few days before the final leg of the trip. We expect to arrive in California on Wednesday. Hopefully our furniture will be there to meet us since we’ll have run out of country by then.

Posted in road trip | Tagged: , , , | Leave a Comment »

Born to be mild

Posted by keithosaunders on August 14, 2010

As we were driving across the beautiful state of South Dakota I couldn’t help but extol the virtues of driving on the open road– the wonderous scenery, the freedom to stop and explore your surroundings, and the feeling of movement. Point A to point B. I couldn’t help but break into an a Capella Born to be Wild. This is, however, extremely difficult to pull off while driving with your wife, kids, and dog in a brand new minivan. Also, real rebels don’t ask the wife, “is it OK if we listen to the ‘Nanny Diaries’ on books on tape now?”

But what a day! We drove through the Badlands which were breathtaking and otherworldly. The entire state is a feast for the eyes but the Badlands, with their craggy rocks and stark beauty are something else.

There is a motorcycle convention going on somewhere in the state which has brought tens of thousands of bikers. They’re all over the place. I pulled off one exit and was immediately engulfed by dozens of them. I’ve never seen so many spread out over such a wide area.

I have to say, though, they are very good drivers. None of them speed and they are extremely attentive on the road- no swerving in and put of traffic, or drag racing for them.

Although I didn’t go drinking with them tonight, they seem like a fairly benign bunch. Most of them are middle-aged and a few are seniors. I noticed that a couple of the women took off their t-shirts and rode around the Badlands in their bras, but that was the wildest they got.

We ate dinner in a pretty little town nestled between mountains called Spearfish. A man sitting at a table at an outdoor cafe struck up a conversation with me about our dog. He was sitting with the owner and they ended up inviting us to eat with them.

Richard and Frenchy had great anecdotes about South Dakota and were well versed in its history. Not only were they interesting, but they were extremely friendly and open. It’s not often that you are able to make such a quick connection, but when it happens it is not only heart warming, but life-affirming.

Yet another reason to travel by car!

Posted in road trip | Tagged: , , , , | 2 Comments »