Friday, August 5, 2011

Wyoming Vacation - Day 6 and Day 7

Well, we've just about reached the end of the vacation. These last two days were mostly spent with Ryan's family in Casper - that is, once we finally got there. Unfortunately I didn't get many pictures due to all the chaos, but we had a really great time.

After navigating through the crazy snow storm in Jackson, we got back down to lower ground and continued on the now six hour journey to Casper. Since our original route had changed due to weather, we were kind of "winging it" on our new, longer route. Since we were adding about 70 miles to our trip, Ryan reviewed the map to see if he could find a quicker way to go. He ended up locating some small highway on the map that appeared to follow closely with the mountain range rather than going down South and back up. We decided to go with it, not knowing what the road was going to be like ahead. I mean, it was on a map, so we assumed it was a legit road. We drove along a nicely paved road for about 10 miles before it turned to dirt. Yes, DIRT. On top of that, there had clearly been snow in the recent past, leaving many of the dirt roads very muddy. Did I mention we were in a Mazda 3? Not exactly the best vehicle for such driving conditions.

Anyway, with every turn we took it seemed like we were "almost to the road". We (and by 'we' I mean Ryan - haha) just knew that around the next curve we'd be on the main highway again. After about an hour and a half, our short cut dropped us off approximately 5 miles North of where we would have been, had we stayed on the main highway. That tends to be how short cuts go though, right? At least the weather cooperated.
This is the route Google Maps suggested we take

This is the Short Cut that we ended up taking
They look awfully similar huh!

Once back on the main road we noticed we were running low on gas. Unfortunately for us, the closest town, Jeffrey City, was about 30 miles away. When we finally got to this tiny ghost town, we went to the only building that looked like it had people in it. We found out that this town had no gas station. It was either continue on our route for 30 more miles or turn around and go 60 the way we came from. We obviously opted for the 30 mile route. When we reached the gas station, we experienced price gouging at it's best. Since it was the only option for many miles, they were charging an outrageous $4.10/gallon for regular, unleaded gas. Mind you, the rest of Wyoming was selling gas for around $3.20 during this time. So we got the minimum amount needed to get us to the next town, where we could fuel up for a more reasonable price.

We finally rolled into Casper around 5:30, just in time for dinner. We met up with Ryan's Aunt and Uncle, then went to pick up his Grandmother, and headed to the restaurant. Dinner was really good, but I was EXHAUSTED! I could not wait to get back to their house and go to bed. It had been a really long day of driving, and had started out very stressful because of the weather. Once we got back, we hit the sheets and we were out!

The next day started out pretty peaceful. We didn't have much planned since Ryan's Aunt & Uncle both had to work this day, so we decided to drive around town a little. We ventured up to the cemetery to visit his Grandfather's grave. Later that afternoon we went and visited his Grandmother and took her out for ice cream and drove up Casper Mountain. We tried to take some pictures up there, but it was really windy and only one turned out alright. We did get some more deer pictures though!

Ryan and his Grandmother on top of Casper Mountain
After we dropped Ryan's grandmother back off, we headed back to his Aunt & Uncle's house. We were notified that many of Ryan's cousins would be coming over that evening to hang out, so we were pretty excited! Ryan hadn't seen many of them for a year or so, and I had never met them. Some of the family had already arrived by we time we got there. There were so many little kids running around all over the place!!

Most of that evening was a blur. It just went by so fast! I so happy to meet everyone and to announce our engagement! After things settled down and everyone went home, we hit the sack again. We had a long day of driving ahead of us. The next morning we woke up to a fabulous home cooked breakfast of biscuits and gravy! The hospitality was so great. It was just what we needed to begin our trip back home.

The rest of the story gets very, very boring. It primarily consists of driving across Nebraska. The trip from Casper to Kansas City was about 14-15 hours, so we didn't get home until around 2 or 3am. I don't really recall - I was that tired! The only thing I really remember from the monotonous drive back is the way the humidity increased with every mile. There is such a HUGE difference between the humidity in Kansas and Wyoming. I didn't notice it as much going there, but on the way back it was extremely hard to ignore.

Well, that about sums it up! I hope I didn't leave anything major out! I probably should have written these recaps oh, about 3 months ago! But what's new?! I'm a little slow to update, obviously! So I hope you all enjoyed reading about my latest vacation!

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