Tag Archives: Wyoming

7,619 miles driven, so far, in April.

April 2013 route traveled

We are home for a couple days before we get back out.  This  month has been a hard one for Joe and I with the demands of our work.  We seem to be edging toward a “regular” truck driving job.  For those drivers working the “regular” job and logging 3,000 miles – plus – in a week I SALUTE YOU!

There has been very little time in the day for me to check my fellow bloggers and see what they have contributed.  I’m having trouble with my phone.  It seems to turn the ringer off while in my purse so I have missed calls from friends and family.

While I attempt to catch up on my blog reading and video watching (if I don’t fall asleep at my keyboard) I will leave you with a funny video.  One major rule of truck driving is to know the height of your vehicle.  Disastrous results ensue if a driver doesn’t keep this one rule in mind.  Hope you enjoy this video.  It was sent to me earlier in the month and I finally watched it last week.

 

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In the footsteps of rugged pioneers – sort of.

For over 12 years I have driven, or rode, across I-80. A bit of Missouri, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Utah going west. Going east on I-80 I have traveled through Iowa, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and New York.

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Before I get totally lost in this post I want to recommend a series of books – historical novels – by Dana Fuller Ross.

Independence! Is the first of the series and set in 1837 during a land rush to claim the western lands by American settlers in a race to lay claim to the land before England or Russia take ownership.

At that time, in American history, most of the population lived in the New England Colonies. People were piled up on each other. President Andrew Jackson opened the west to anyone that wanted wide open spaces, had the fortitude to settle and improve the land they chose, and wanted out of the confines of the east. Thousands of men, women, and children started their journey across country to a better way of life. Many didn’t make it.

In Guernsey, Wyoming there still remains evidence of this westward move. Joe tells me there is a cave where the immigrants left messages carved into the walls. Register Cliff is the name of this historical site.

Somewhere around 18 or 20 years ago I read the “Wagons West” series and I was reminded of it today as we made our way up US 30 leaving I-80 in Wyoming.

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On US 30 in Kemmerer, Wyoming stands the very first JC Penny store from 1904. It was known as the “Golden Rule” store that served the mining families and ranchers out in the back of beyond Wyoming. The store has been turned into quite an amazing museum which also sells goods to tourists. It is worth stopping to see if you find yourself in the back of beyond.

US 30 is a two-lane road used by the trucking industry, as well as normal traffic, to get into Idaho for livestock and produce which makes its way to your table. The landscape will not keep a teen interested for long. It is nearly 200 miles of dirt, scrub, rocks, an occasional town with a population of 96 souls, trains curving along the rivers and streams, and the highway.

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Montpelier, Idaho is located on the historical Oregon Trail and has erected a learning center in this small town. Click the Montpelier link above to be taken to the website and watch the movie they have.

Seeing the Oregon/California center in Montpelier brought those books I spent hours and days reading – Wagons West. Which then jumbled everything I wanted to write about today. All the ideas were stepping all over each other. Maybe I have kept it all together and have a coherent post. I won’t bet money on it though.

US 30 into Idaho continues on as a two-lane road.

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Rivers and streams cut through the pastures and mountains.

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Hills shrouded in low lying clouds made it look like they were on fire.

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Before I make this post into a tome I will leave you with the sight outside my hotel room window. Idaho Falls on the Snake River in – Idaho Falls, Idaho. We are staying in a 40 year old hotel with a fantastic view.

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Tomorrow we will continue through Idaho then enter Montana, switch back into Idaho before entering Washington.

Hope this has given you a spark for a summer vacation with your family. Or just entertained you for a few minutes.

Leslie


A recap of our journey so far from Arkansas to Wyoming

Why the recap you might ask? Joe’s immune system is not what it used to be. His health maintenance while on Warfarin for his pulmonary embolism of last summer has required some juggling. Colds and other mild maladies I try to stay on top of. A stomach virus snuck up on us and threw his butt on the ground – figuratively speaking.

The icy cold weather we were in throughout February and March took a toll on my big bear of a man. He felt a little tired when we left home for Van Buren, Arkansas to get these new trucks. Hooking the trucks up tired him out so the first leg of our journey included an overnight stop near Tulsa, Oklahoma at a town named Broken Arrow. Getting back on the road Tuesday he drove to Goodland, Kansas where we stopped for the night.

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Leaving the hotel Tuesday morning in light rain I saw my first sign of Spring. A bright yellow daffodil that I drowned in light from my flash 😦

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The light rain was supplemented by occasional cloudbursts through Oklahoma

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Entering Kansas with the rain we went through the Weigh Station….

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A toll ticket plaza on the Kansas Turnpike to get a ticket…..

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Exiting the Kansas Turnpike to make our way to I-70 and head west on I-70.

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The rain had ended by the time we reached I-70. The rain was traded for gusting winds up to 30 miles an hour. This brand new truck is rather noisy with the winds trying to force its way into the driver side door.

Kansas farm land goes on forever! Miles of chopped up and dried out corn fields are strung together like beads on a necklace. Only one lone farmer was seen tending his field with a tractor driven crop sprayer.

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My favorite sight on these long empty landscapes are the barns with their strange faces 😀

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Pivot irrigation machines are another feature of the Kansas farmland. When these long sprinklers are operating there are multiple rainbows dancing in the sun.

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Tuesday night we stopped in Goodland, Kansas for the night. About 17 miles from the Colorado border.

Wednesday would take us from Goodland, Kansas to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

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Wednesday morning we encountered fog on I-70 for about 15 miles.

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We had to make a stop in Evans, Colorado for a much anticipated kraut burger.

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We had been warned about snow and ice going through Wyoming. Thankfully the snow was evident in small patches out in the fields. Far off mini mountains were dressed in blankets of snow.

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Driving further west in Wyoming the skies that dominate the landscape put on a dramatic display.

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By the time we reached Rock Springs, Wyoming Joe had stopped four times at various truck stops hurriedly running to find a bathroom. Arriving at the hotel for the night Joe was so sick and uncomfortable he was sure he had food poisoning. I didn’t have any symptoms although we ate the same things that day.

Calling our doctor at home I was told there is a stomach virus going around and Joe had it. So we are hanging out in Rock Springs Wednesday night, Thursday, and Friday.

Joe is doing better today, Friday. Maybe we will get back on the road tomorrow. He is up and in a chair. He has walked to the breakfast area and had a little oatmeal to eat.

There is a grocery store across from the hotel where I went to get all manner of things to ease Joe’s discomfort.

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Snack packets of Jello and applesauce

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A microwave serving of Chicken Noodle soup.

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7 Up and Gatorade to force liquids on him.

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And Pepto Bismal to ease the diarrhea and vomiting.

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Even though we are out in the wilds at the middle of nowhere it is good to have these little towns to give us succor.

Hope you are all fairing well. Before I leave today I want to tell you about a book I read yesterday while Joe slept.

The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline is a story of two young women who have been orphaned at the tender ages of 7 and 10. One woman is now in her 90’s and the book is her story of being alone on the Orphan Train. The other woman is 17 and about to age out of the foster care system. Although decades separate these two the experiences are the same. These two lost women have a magnificent and moving story to tell.

I had my face buried in my iPhone all day yesterday reading this fascinating novel. Stopping only long enough to tend to Joe.

Hope you all enjoy your weekend. We hope to be heading out tomorrow.

Leslie


Kraut burgers and brooding skies.

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This wonderful pillow of a sandwich is a Kraut Burger. Not just any kraut burger either. This is a Schwartz’s Kraut burger Kitchen yummy treat that needs two hands to enjoy.

Break it open to reveal a mix of ground beef and cabbage. Mmmmm, only way to make it any better is to order the Hot Cheese variety.

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The little store front in Evans, Colorado makes the Kraut burgers daily. The dough is worked

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While the beef and cabbage mixture is allowed to cool before being nestled in a blanket of dough.

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Baked to a golden brown then wrapped in different colored papers marking plain, cheese, hot cheese, and chicken.

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Joe and I have been enjoying these tasty and filling delights for 21 years. When we lived in Greeley it was a dinner dash at least once a week. Now living far away doesn’t stop us from enjoying them.

If you live anywhere near Greeley, LaSalle, Gilbert, or Platteville stop on by. Maybe you don’t like cabbage in any form. You might like a cinnamon roll 😀

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After leaving with our kraut burger purchase it was difficult to wait until we got in the truck before scarfing down our favorite kind.

The wind has been blowing in gusts close to 35 miles per hour as we make our way to Rock Springs, Wyoming.

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East of Sinclair, Wyoming the skies were filled with brooding clouds that threatened rain.

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A bridge spanned a river that cuts through the mountain desert. The clouded sky and coursing water framed this old bridge making it stand out

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Tomorrow we will be traveling through Wyoming and into Idaho on roads Joe and I have not been on. According to the Scale Master in Laramie, Wyoming we are to have our cameras ready.

So until tomorrow…..safe travels to you and your families.

Leslie


Wyoming winter has us shut down

We picked up our trucks in Las Vegas, Nevada on Thursday at a Penske Truck Center. These trucks are going to Eaton, Colorado, not far from where I was born and raised.

Looking at the Weather App on my phone snow was being predicted near Salt Lake City, Utah along I-15 and across I-80 throughout Wyoming. We wouldn’t encounter the snow until later Friday night in Wyoming and there were severe alerts along a good portion of our route.

Thursday we traveled through Nevada, Arizona, and into Utah stopping in Cedar City. The weather was good and roads dry. Leaving Cedar City Friday morning the storm clouds were brewing.

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Keeping ahead of the storm Friday we got through Utah and into Wyoming stopping last night in Rock Springs, Wyoming. This morning I woke to a skiff of snow on the ground.

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Weather reports and advisories for I-80 from Rock Springs, Wyoming to west of Laramie, Wyoming are pretty bad. All the highways are slick with ice. At Wamsutter , Wyoming – just a little less than 70 miles from Rick Springs – black ice is covering the roads and travel advisories say to avoid the roads. We are staying in Rock Springs for today.

Here is a link to the road conditions for I-80 in Wyoming for today – February 9, 2013. Wyoming DOT

It is snowing outside now in Rock Springs as I take one of my short smoke breaks. I am now down to 4 cigarettes a day instead of an entire pack. Joe is gritting his teeth because I won’t just quit. He’ll live through it. I’m not ready yet to let it go.

It has been a while since I last posted on this blog. I’m having difficulty being interested in anything. Even my card making is suffering. I did try a bit of coloring in stamped images last week while I rode with Joe but my heart is just not in it.

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Time to go back inside and try to drum up some enthusiasm. Get my Mojo started and take advantage of the down time to be creative.

I don’t have anything to stop me like all those poor souls in the teeth of a massive winter storm in the northeast US. Time to be grateful for the things in my life instead of being so negative and ungrateful.

Leslie


An open letter to Little America Hotel and Travel Center, Little America, Wyoming

General Manager
Little America Hotel and Travel Center
Little America, Wyoming

Dear Sir:

I wish to inform you of our recent dining experience in your restaurant in Little America, Wyoming.

We stopped in on Saturday, June 9, 2012 around 5:00 p.m. CDT. Nate was our server and his job performance would have made you proud.

My husband enjoys a good bowl of French Onion soup and a good BLT sandwich when he can get them. My husband asked Nate if the bacon could be cooked soft instead of the normal crispy that is frequently done in all restaurants.

Nate asked us to wait a moment while he consulted with the chef. Upon Nate’s return my husband was assured his bacon would be cooked to his satisfaction, which it was. My husband also enjoyed his bowl of French Onion soup as well. Something he has not enjoyed for the past five (5) years at your establishment.

This may seem a trivial matter to you but to us it is most fortunate. Because, you see, my husband told me in February of this year that we were never going back to any of the Little America’s again. His breakfast server had to be hunted down first for flatware upon food service, later it was for a coffee refill, and finally for the ticket. The food was cold when it was placed in front of him and my husband was not pleased with his experience.

Your establishments in Flagstaff, Arizona, Cheyenne and Little America, Wyoming have been a disappointment over the past five years. Each year it seems the food quality and service declines to the point of driving people away.

My husband has made each of the above mentioned properties stopping points in his travels for the past 42 years. For me it has only been 11.

I am writing you to let you know the change of management, cooking staff, and wait staff has been noticed by us and it is likely we will return again as we travel through Wyoming.

I am also letting you know that we have stopped going to your Flagstaff property over the past three years because the food and service quality has been truly unbearable.

As truck drivers we are mostly stuck with fast food or hot dogs in our travels. When we find a place that serves good food and the service is great we tend to pick our stopping places accordingly.

We look forward to stopping again in Little America, Wyoming. This letter is to let you know that we appreciate the changes being made.

Sincerely,

Leslie Bockenstette


A really, really long commute to work

We had left home on Friday, July 1st, on a deadhead to Red Bluff, California.

The first leg of our journey was to the Denver area in Colorado. Nearly 700 miles.

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I haven’t seen our Colorado kids since Thanksgiving of 2009 so I was thrilled to be seeing them all for a couple days.

This morning we left the Denver area early, just after sunrise. We have to pound the miles over the next couple days in order to get to Red Bluff no later than July 7th.

Today’s leg of the trip is from the Denver area to the Utah/Nevada border in West Wendover.

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Miles driven today is 665. We will have a shorter day tomorrow with a stop for the night in Reno, Nevada.

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We gained an hour when we reached Colorado. Tomorrow we will gain another hour by the time we get to Reno. The time changes can be killer sometimes.

My daughter had wanted me to watch “The Rite” starring Anthony Hopkins with her. We tried Friday night but didn’t succeed. We both fell asleep shortly after the movie began. Last night we did watch it all the way through. By my time I went to bed at 2:15 a.m. while it was 1:15 a.m. at Tiffany’s.

Right now, at the hotel in Wendover, Utah, it is 10:43 p.m. my time but 9:43 p.m. local time. It is time to wind down from the road. Joe and I traded driving about every 200 miles so we each could snag a nap.

I have to keep a watchful eye on my Joe. I swear, he is working overtime in testing my unqualified medical knowledge – which is very limited.

At Tiffany’s house yesterday morning he slipped in her bathtub while taking a shower. He lost his footing on the slick tub floor, grabbed the shower head for balance until it came off in his hand. The side of the tub caught him behind his knees and threw him backwards and out onto the floor. Cracking his head against the corner of a wall

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He didn’t lose consciousness but gave himself one hell of a crank job forcing his head and shoulders into his chest. Poor Clark, Tiffany’s husband, heard the fall while I didn’t since I was in another part of the house getting Joe clean clothes. Clark tried to help but thought I ought to know. He hot footed to where I was shouting “Joe’s fallen, he fell in the shower, Joe needs you”. Poor guy, he is such a thoughtful and caring person and is also like Joe when it comes to problem solving – pure gold.

Joe got really tired of me asking for his pen light so I could check his pupils then pepper him with “Are you nauseous? Do you have a headache? Do you see flashing lights in your eyes when I’m not trying to blind you with the light?”. I forgot to ask him how many fingers I was holding up.

Today his sternum is sore, as are his shoulder blades. The swelling of his goose egg has gone down and he seems to be doing well.

Our Trauma/ICU nurse daughter looked at him yesterday afternoon, about 2 hours after his fall, and asked her questions which put off calling an ambulance but would be done at a moments notice if needed yesterday.

I’m beginning to wonder if he is acting out because he feels neglected and abandoned by my blogging. Or maybe it is because I include him in my blogging and he is just not coming straight out to tell me to leave him out of it.

Time to shower and go to bed. Hope you all living in the US enjoyed the 4th of July festivities. Those that don’t celebrate I hope you have had a wonderful weekend.