Friday, September 15
Sinks Canyon State Park, Lander, Wyoming
After a night of rain, I wake to a cold morning.
In the race south against winter weather, I plan to move to our next camp today after one night at Sinks Canyon. Silently I slip out of bed and sneak outside, not wanting to wake the crew.
Fog! Thick fog all the way down the canyon walls! And cold!
I grab the keys that hang inside the door and hurry to start up the Perfect Tow Vehicle. I throw on the heat, full blast. Then I sprint to the Best Little Trailer, pick up all my electronics, and take them out to the PTV to be charged.
Of course, Reggie and Roger are up by now.
“I know it’s cold, babies. Eat your breakfast and I’ll take you where it’s warm.”
NOTE: The last time we (Bridget and I) camped at Sinks Canyon in September, it snowed:
“Last day at Sinks Canyon, a walk in the snow.”)
Sinks Canyon National Forest Campground, September 14, 2014
When the crew and I are settled in the blessed warmth of the PTV, I go online to read weather reports.
Fog, rain, wind, snow…. What? Snow? Oh, that’s in Rock Springs. Whew! Even so, this isn’t a good day for travel.
We have to cross the southeast end of the Wind River Mountains and then cross the notoriously windy, flat land to Farson.
Later I walk Reggie and Roger around Popo Agie Campground.
The fog has lifted but it’s still a cold, damp, dark day. On our return to the BLT, I notice a sheriff’s vehicle in the day use parking lot. A man in uniform sits in the driver’s seat with the window down. The dispatch radio is on.
We exchange greetings and I ask him if he can tell me about road conditions. I explain that I’ll be going out of Lander on Route 287 and taking Route 28 up to Atlantic City and through South Pass, all the way to Farson.
“Lotta’ fog up there. Really thick fog. I’m hearing reports of herds of elk blocking the road. The rut has started and elk are all over. Moose, too.”
We discuss the route.
“You have three long grades. Once you get past the first one at Red Canyon , the other two are easier.”
I elaborate that I’ll be towing my trailer. While we talk I come to a decision.
“It probably would be best for me to stay here another night. Maybe it will clear by tomorrow morning.” I add, “But then I won’t know from here what it is like up there.”
“Do you get up early? When you get up, look at the canyon walls,” he advises. “If the fog is down into this canyon, it’s going to be foggy up there. You’ll be okay if you go slow and watch for the elk. . . . Of course, I don’t know what your capabilities are.”
We talk more on various topics (He’s obviously waiting for someone.) Then I thank him for the information and tips.
The crew and I return to the BLT.
Capabilities. I have the capabilities. I’ve driven in all kinds of conditions, from white-out blizzards in New York state to black ice in Georgia, hair-pin turns on a dark, foggy night in West Virginia to torrential downpours in Florida. Then there was that time I was caught in New York City rush hour chaos . . . .
It’s not me that’s the problem. It’s the idiot who drives too fast for conditions, comes around a curve in the fog, I’m stopped for a herd of horny elk crossing the road, and BAM! That’s all she wrote . . . .
Enough of that! I’ll wait and see what tomorrow brings. Better to be cautious than sorry.
Saturday, September 16
I step out our door into . . . sunshine!
“Wow! I couldn’t ask for a nicer day! A few clouds across blue sky.”
Any fog is gone now!
After breakfast I give the crew a quick walk-around, pop them into the PTV, and take one last photo of the fog-free cliffs above us.
It’s a beautiful day for a drive.
We motor over the mountain with ease, go through South Pass and across the northwest portion of the Great Divide Basin. The strong winds of yesterday are gone.
So are the amorous elk. I don’t see any.
Route 28 intersects Route 191 and we’re at Farson, Wyoming.
Last time I drove through Farson I bought gas and kept on going.
Readers read a blog post about this and chided me in comments, “What? You didn’t get any ice cream?!!”
This time through Farson will be different.
It’s lunchtime and what do I have for lunch?
Caramel Praline Crunch. My favorite.
I have the young woman make it into a milkshake with whipped cream on top. I take the shake out to the PTV and discover she did an excellent job, chopping the pecans enough to fit through the straw, but still crunchy.
The crew watches me with longing as I consume the shake. I leave some in the domed top and some in the plastic cup.
“Here ya’ go. Reggie, you get the top. Roger, here, you take this.”
When they finish licking the plastic clean, I examine my Wyoming Benchmark map.
Okay, we’ll try this . . .
“We don’t have much further to go, guys. This is going to be a different kind of camp for us. You’ll see.”
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The crew at the PTV’s window, Lander, WY