Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Something's Wrong with Wyoming

Today was supposed to be my exciting day of driving. After two days of flat flat flat farmland, I was excited to make my way through the scenic Rocky Mountains. The last time I drove through the Rockies (via Idaho), I was blown away, and after the beauty of Denver I was ready to be stunned.

Taking I-25 north was great, with the Rockies to my West the whole way. Then I got to I-80 and the cool rock formations started.

I paused briefly at the "Gateway to the Rockies," which also happens to be the highest point on I-80 and home to the Largest Bronze Bust in the World. The view was beautiful, the bust was large, and I was ready for the hills to turn into mountains.

I kept driving. And driving. And there were no mountains. So I drove some more, and still no mountains. I saw some mountains in the distance and, as you can see, it looks like the road will run right into them. But no. No mountains.

I knew there was something amiss about Wyoming when I saw a sign with a pretty glaring typo: "Exxit." Really? That might be the most common word on highway signs, so it takes pretty amazing oversight to not only print up a sign with that error but to actually plant it in the ground and leave it there. Then--according to the signs--I crossed the Continental Divide twice. A quick internet search tells me that this is acceptable and that for the 52 miles in between the signs the water just sits in a basin, but it was still weird.

I am still confused by the lack of mountains. I know I've crossed the Rockies north of Wyoming (in Montana and Idaho), and yesterday I was definitely in the Rockies south of Wyoming, not to mention that every map of the Rockies I can find seems to include the entire western half of Wyoming. So where were the mountains? All I can say is that I hope that for the sake of their oxen, the Oregon Trail-ers were able to find I-80 and skip climbing any massive peaks. On the other hand, a trip through the actual mountains would have at least been entertaining.

1 comment:

Linda said...

I have suspected for years that there is/was something amiss in Wyoming. Be glad you did not drive through the center of the state where you can't even see mountains in the distance most of the time--just vast expanses of nothing dotted with the occasional sagebrush bush. Your grandfather used to say that the only decent parts of Wyoming were the parts that they stole (his word) from other states--i.e. along the borders with Colorado, Montana, and Idaho. Your great-grandfather, on the other hand, said Wyoming was the most beautiful place on earth. To me it will always just be the first place I ever got airsick and the place my grandmother made me take three baths in one day (she was forgetful) and made me her eggplant casserole. Not really fond memories.
Keep driving, with both hands on the wheel and none on the camera.
Love, Mom