Monday, January 6th, and we get on the road at about 10:30 am, heading for Casper, Wyoming. It is a sunny day and we are hopeful for a safe and fairly quick journey.
Although things look promising to start, the weather takes a bit of a turn by the time we hit Cheyenne. There are strong, steady winds, with gusts exceeding 55 miles per hour. There are signs on the highway warning “light trailers” to stay off the road. I keep telling myself that our RV is more than a light trailer; especially with Gypsy Rose in tow behind us. I don’t know if I have any scientific basis to back up my belief, but I hold to the thought that the lower-profile car acts as something of an anchor, perhaps lending us a little additional stability in the face of the high winds. Even so, there are times I slow down to 45 mph to better navigate the gusts. There are also stretches of blowing snow and ice.
There was an incident in Kearney, Nebraska, where Lola (our insane GPS) took us on a circuitous route to an RV park that ultimately took us across about two miles of very rough-graded road, causing the whole RV to shake and tremble. Ever since, Rufus has grown skittish when the RV shakes or vibrates while travelling. He wants our comfort and reassurance, so Pony has been going into the back to sit with him on the couch (at least, in this way, he is not trying to climb on me while I drive).
Meanwhile, I just do my best to keep a steady hand on the wheel. I have my thumb drive in the USB port of the RV’s stereo, and each song is a few more miles down the road. I focus on the road, and on each song, holding on to the notion that with each song we are a little closer to Casper.
We arrive in Casper at just shy of 5pm. There is not time to check the RV into the storage place we have lined up, let alone considering the task of shuttling pets, clothes, and various other articles and supplies up the mountain. The RV storage people have an adjoining park that they let us use for the night. We have dinner at Johnny J’s Diner (a 60’s retro-style greasy spoon we discovered on previous trips to Casper).
The next day, we go to Johnny J’s again for a spot of breakfast. By about 9:30 am, we have loaded up Gypsy Rose with the first batch of boxes carrying various clothes and other articles. The plan is to stay in the cabin of our friends, Rebecca and Geoffrey, for the remainder of January and the month of February. Rebecca’s brother, Sam (and his son, Sam Jr.) plowed a path from the main mountain road down to the cabin and offered to let us use an old pickup truck to cart things down to the cabin. Our initial plan is to take this truck down to the RV to get the pets and the remainder of our supplies, but as we drive this old pickup down the mountain to town, the truck blows a tire just as we get to the base of the mountain. It is not a small flat: the tire is entirely shredded over the course of about 100 yards. We talk to Sam, and he allows that the tires are some five years old and haven’t seen much distance in that time. He suggests we get the spare put on, drive it back up to his place on the mountain, and we can borrow his other truck (a newer one, with better tires). However, the lug nuts on the rim are rusted tight, so we end up shelling out for a guy from Casper Tire to come (with his are pressure jack and all). He gets the spare put on in quick time and we are back in action.