Monday, May 20th, 2013
There was an old greasy spoon all the locals seemed to go to called “The Chuckwagon” where we got ourselves a hearty breakfast. After we waddled out of there, Trevor told me he was still feeling dizzy and thought he might have an ear infection. I think he’s just suffering from altitude sickness and suggest he get hydrated and skip the coffee. We stopped in “Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply,” so Trevor could buy pants. The lady at the register told us we should visit Arkansas’ diamond mine south of Little Rock. She told me, “Go get yourself a diamond! I’m going to get myself one one of these days!” I hope she does. She was really sweet.
It was still raining and Trevor was still feeling off balance. We looked for a clinic in town, but they were closed. We walked in a nearby doctor’s office and they were filled up for the day, but directed us to the local urgent care. We went there and it was a 2 hour wait, which was fine, but it was going to cost $115.00 just for someone to take a look at his ears. He decided to tough it out one more day. One of the cashiers we spoke to said she moved to Laramie months ago and the altitude still bothered her on occasion.
It was time to leave Laramie. We took I-80 West and passed grassy fields with freckles of black cows, several Pronghorn Antelope, and a few wind farms. We drove by Elk Mountain before turning off on Wyoming 130 South to Saratoga. We stopped by the Chamber of Commerce which looked more like a trophy room with all the dead animals hanging from the walls. They told us how to get to the free hot springs, cleverly called the “Hobo Pool.”
I was a little insecure in all my hairy glory, but got over myself. Inside, we met some interesting characters. One was an old war veteran who was talking about our involvement in the Middle East and how it was not good because, “both sides are too stubborn.” A “former” junkie started telling Trevor his life story about how he was running from the law in Denver, CO as he was skipping court. There was also a group of hillbillies, and then the lone local woman who warned us not to go in the tiny area in the middle surrounded by stones. She informed us it was called the “Lobster Bowl,” and was too hot to sit in. The hot spring was a refreshing pit stop.
We left Saratoga and saw a lot more Pronghorn Antelope on our way out. The more I stared at them, the stranger they looked to me. We hopped back on I-80 West and stopped in Rawlins. There wasn’t much to it, so we went to McDonald’s to use their WiFi so we could plan our next course of action. While we were re-grouping, we watched the news on TV and heard about an F-4 tornado that just tore through Oklahoma. We grabbed food at “Penny’s Diner” before taking US-287 North through the Continental Divide.
We caught a beautiful sunset before passing through Jeffrey City which looked very creepy at night. I had my fingers crossed that our van didn’t decide to break down since we were in the middle of nowhere and I didn’t want to knock on any of the doors of the residents there for fear I might get slaughtered. We decided to stop at the Sweetwater Station Junction rest stop, which also marked the halfway point of the Oregon Trail. There were signs stating “No Overnight Parking,” but we decided to take our chances.
Jump Back to Part 33: Firewood Thievery & Angry Abe
Jump Ahead to Part 35: Great Coffee, A Dead Moose & A Meth Lab
Start Over at Part 01: The Blue Bubble, Freebies & A Rude Awakening