Wyoming, Snow Storms, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas

Thursday May 9, 2024

Dear Diary,

I woke up at 3:30 am. I wrote my blog until 5:20am. I woke up Angel, we packed up the truck and left at 5:45 am. It was 31 degrees out and snowing when we left. I knew a snow storm was coming but it wasn’t supposed to be arriving until 8 am. I thought I was going to leave ahead of the storm but that wasn’t the case. We had 18.5 hours until we reached our next destination of Claremore, Oklahoma. I planned on driving at least 10 hours of that today before stopping for the night. 

I filled up on gas on our way out of town and the snow was coming down even harder. When I went to make a left turn toward the on-ramp going onto I-80, I felt the truck slip a little. I instantly felt my body tense up. That wasn’t a good way to start out the day. As I merged onto the interstate, I took a deep breath and prayed my thanksgivings. 

  • Thank you for our safe travels. 
  • Thank you that I know how to drive in the snow. 
  • Thank you for brand new tires. 

I drove below the speed limit following in the tracks of semi trucks. The snow was steadily coming down but at least it wasn’t a blizzard. The roads were wet but there wasn’t any ice. I kept my eye out for black ice anyway. Every time I would feel myself tensing up, I would take a deep breath and consciously relax my shoulders and body. Assuring myself that everything was fine and reminding myself that I knew how to drive in these conditions. I’d done it my whole adult life until I moved to Texas. The main rules are: don’t hit the brakes, ever; if sliding, go with it and don’t jerk the steering wheel; stay way way back from vehicles in front of you and drive slowly. The scenery was white and beautiful, like a winter wonderland. I listen to an audiobook called “Bloody Jack” while we drove. My sister Trish had recommended the book and it was ok. About 2 hours into the drive, I had driven in and out of several snow storms. With all the snow, I got to thinking it might be fun to find a hot springs. When we stopped at a rest stop I looked up hot springs along our route. I didn’t think there would be any but I wanted to double check. Lo-and-behold there was one and it was only 20 miles out of the way. 

I set the gps straight for the hot springs and saw that it would still be a couple of hours before we arrived there. I called Christopher and actually got a hold of him. I hadn’t heard from him for close to 48 hours and was glad everything was ok. He said his phone service hadn’t been working very well. While we were talking I drove into another storm. I came to a continental divide sign and pulled over to take a picture. Shortly after that, I drove out of the snowstorm. It seems that winter is still happening in Wyoming. Christopher told me that it was already hot and muggy in Texas. That made me glad to be experiencing winter. I’m not ready for hot and muggy. Christopher looked at radar forecast for Wyoming on his phone to see whether I would run into any more snow storms. He said the radar showed that I would be driving between a few storms as I continued through Wyoming but it should be clear on I-80. 

We arrived at the hot springs in Saratoga, Wyoming at around 10 am. As I pulled up, I saw a sign on the building that said “pool closed”. I had thought it was open 24 hours but oh well. I started to pull away when I saw another sign on the side of the building that said hot springs open 24 hours with an arrow pointing. Hmmm…I parked the truck and told Angel to wait there while I checked things out. I walked down the side of the building and realized the “pool closed” sign was for the public swimming pool that was open in the summer. Behind the public pool there were 2 other pools that were hot springs and they were open. I walked back to the truck and told Angel the hot springs were open. 

I let Bits out to use the bathroom and he ran around in the snow a few minutes before I put him back in the truck. Angel and I got our swim suits and walked to the hot springs. We changed into our suits and got in. The pools were really hot with only one being tolerable. We got so hot in the water that the air outside didn’t feel cold anymore, so we went exploring. There was a small river next to the hot springs and it had rocks built up to create pools along the edge. I figured people had placed the rocks there to capture hot water coming from the springs. There are a lot of hot springs like that in Idaho. I tried out the first pool and it was cold. I tried out another pool that had a pipe directing hot water from the springs directly into the river. That pool was perfect. Not too hot and not too cold. The cold river water mixed with the hot springs water was a great combination. I soaked in the small pool while Angel played with her toys on the rocks. The water felt amazing. A lady from Illinois joined us and we talked about where we were from and shared about our lives. We stayed about an hour and decided to get out to find somewhere to eat. I would have stayed longer but I could tell that Angel was getting really hungry. She hadn’t eaten since breakfast and was getting hangry. 

We found a little Italian restaurant in town called The Grumpy Italian. Italian restaurants usually have decent salads. We walked in the door and were told to sit anywhere. Angel chose a spot with a bar and high seats that had little games for kids to play sitting on it, games like connect four and jenga. As soon as we sat down, a little girl who was around 3 years old came running up. She told me that she needed my seat. I obliged and moved over and helped her up so that she could sit next to Angel. They started playing with the games. The waitress came over and apologized for her daughter. She went to pick up the little girl to take her to the back. I told her, it was fine if her daughter stayed and then the girls could play together. She said ok and to let her know if I changed my mind. The girls were so cute playing together. I told them to smile so I could get a picture of them and the little girl smiled and winked, she was a character. When our food arrived, the waitress took her daughter away so that we could eat. Angel ate up her noodles right away. The owner of the restaurant noticed how hungry she was and said he would bring her some more, which she promptly ate as well. He offered to bring her out even more but she said she was full. It was a wonderful experience at that small town restaurant and I tipped generously when I paid. 

Back on the road we promptly drove into another snowstorm. A few minutes before that, Angel had asked me if we were going to drive through anymore storms and I told her “no, we were past them all”. Gleefully she pointed out that I was wrong when we drove into the storm. This storm went from snow to sleet to hail all within 5 minutes and then we drove out of it. It was officially our last storm. 

We drove through Laramie, Wyoming and I was reminded of a young gay man that was murdered by his classmates in Laramie years ago in 1998 named Matthew Shepard. It had been all over the news in Idaho. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matthew_Shepard

As we passed Cheyenne and got closer to Nebraska, I saw that we were right above Colorado. If I drove south a few miles then we could hit 4 states in one day..Wyoming, Colorado, Nebraska and Kansas. I decided to drive south a few miles just to touch the Colorado border and then get back on the interstate to continue on our route to Nebraska and Kansas. I turned off at an exit and drove 20 miles south down a narrow highway through farm country to the Colorado border. I could see that I was at the border on the gps but there was no sign that said Colorado. The only sign there said we were entering Weld county. I wanted a picture of a Colorado sign. I drove along a dirt road that followed the border for a while but every road I came to that crossed the Colorado border was dirt and only had a sign that read entering Weld county. I followed a few more dirt roads and ended up going through a huge dairy farm that ended in a dead end. I had been wandering around farm country for about an hour and decided I wasn’t going to get a picture of a Colorado sign. I turned around and headed back to the interstate. I had gone quite a bit out of the way and it took another hour to get back. I wasn’t too concerned about the time though. It had been a fun adventure exploring the farm land. 

As I neared the Nebraska border, I noticed on the gps that the interstate dipped down and almost touched the Colorado border. I decided to give it another go at finding a Colorado sign. I turned off and headed 5 miles to the town of Julesburg. Right before we reached the town there was a sign Welcome to Colorful Colorado. Yay! Now I could get my picture. I took the picture and Angel said she was hungry. We found a little restaurant and ordered some food to go. I got some steamed broccoli, Angel ordered a pancake and Little Bit got a scrambled egg. I filled up on gas and we got back on the interstate. My friend Sarah called and we had a great conversation about being present with our feelings and praying for guidance and clarity when we are triggered.

 We crossed the Nebraska border and it was getting late. I was determined to make it to Kansas though and we continued on, plus I wanted to have a shorter drive tomorrow so we could arrive at Angel’s grandmas in the early evening. Then we would get to spend more time together. I finished listening to the Bloody Jack book and I was glad it was done. I turned on music. 

At 10 pm we finally crossed the Kansas border. Now I was ready to find a place to sleep for the night. We found a small motel in the town of Smith Center, Kansas. It was a tiny motel with only around 10 rooms but it was the cleanest one we had stayed in. It seems like these little mom and pop motels are cleaner than the super 8’s, Quality Inn’s or other chain economy hotels. The mom and pop motel we stayed at in Utah had also been very clean. Thankfully it was our last night of staying in a hotel this trip. We got settled in our room and went straight to bed. I fell asleep at around 11:30 pm. 

Thank you for reading my blog and being a part of my life. I dearly appreciate you. 



P.S. This blog post was inspired by the Holy Spirit. 

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