0730 – Wake up; shower; pack, but leave everything in the room since it’s a little ways to the breakfast room and the vans are closer to my room in the front of the motel.
0830 – Ate in the breakfast room. My waffle stuck to the waffle machine, and I was barely able to get it out before started burning. It was so funky looking I decided to do something totally off the wall and put white gravy on it instead of throwing it out and getting a biscuit. All things considered it was pretty tasty, but I certainly got some strange looks.
0930 – Meet at the vans; load up; we do a short weather briefing, and discuss what things look like for Saturday and Sunday, which look like our first days with a reasonable prospect for severe weather on the high plains. Patience!
1000 – Depart Cheyenne on westbound I-80, for Laramie, after breakfast.
1040-1100 – stop at the Ames Monument, a tribute to a pair of brothers who made major contributions during the building of the Transcontinental Railroad.
____ – continue to Laramie for lunch at Lovejoy’s: spicy buffalo burger! We do a bit of shopping afterwards. I’m running low on laundry, so I buy a T-shirt to hold me over until I do laundry tomorrow morning.
____ – head south towards Walden, CO; beautiful snow-capped mountains rise to our west, south, (later) east
____ – Enter Medicine Bow National Forest (elevation:____)
____ – we rise to 9150 feet in elevation, allowing smaller vehicles to pass us.
____ – As we descend, we hunt for a turnout with a scenic view. The drivers, Bob and Rook, get plenty of practice downshifting.
1450-1501 – Scenic overlook #1 (photos in gallery, below)
1513-1526 – Scenic overlook #2 (photos in gallery, below)
[Gallery will be inserted here a bit later… laptop battery DYING]
1600 – We enter Walden from the north; check-in at the motel.
1640 – I chat briefly with the motel manager, whose daughter is fascinated with both storm chasing and Antarctica. I offer to chat with her if she is interested. I wander over to the town bank to buy a couple of roll of quarters, as it has reached the point of the trip or I will need to do laundry pretty quickly. The T-shirt that I bought in Laramie will buy me an extra 24 hours, but no more.
1658 – I get my quarters for laundry, with two minutes to spare before the bank closes for the weekend. I wander around the main strip of town just looking to see what is there and taking pictures of some interesting stuff I encounter along the way. I wander up to what looks like a good place for dinner, the River Rock Café. Looks like they have a terrific menu and I bump into Bob one of our drivers there, who agrees this is a good choice for dinner.
1800 – The gang gathers close to my room to wander up the main street for dinner. It looks like Eric is sitting this one out. I hope he is feeling okay.
I order the Volcano Burger, opting for the 1-pound size, because I’m a little bit hungry. There is a 3-pound size available called “the challenge”, but I don’t feel up to eating that and the waiter warns that the burger is extremely spicy, made with jalapeños and habanero sauce. I later discovered that the burger is hotter with every bite, and barely finished 1 pound burger, guzzling several quarts of water along the way to cool my taste buds. I reward myself with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at the end of it all, partly as a self–congratulations and partly to cool the heat of the habaneros that have saturated my taste buds when this time.
On my way out the door, I get a farewell hug from River Rock Café’s mascot, Fred the Bear.
EOD – North Park Inn & Suites
||I-80W, through Medicine Bow National Forest, to Walden (CO 14)
DRAFT – Map for 5/16 travel