Thoughts From the Road

12 Aug

The following is a collection of thoughts as I made this last trip. 2,100 miles over 4 days is entirely too much alone time for a social person!

I’ve always thought it would be nice to write a travel guide to rest areas – crisscrossing the country checking out each rest area. Little Bear State Park & Rest Area at Evanston, WY has very nice services and even a handful of bison. A sign specifically says no overnight parking. The next  rest area, however, is 109 miles which is excessive. That rest area is closed for no apparent reason and the following one is 85 miles. If rest areas were designed to be safety breaks, WY does not care about my safety. That one is marked “no overnight camping.” Does that mean you can stay overnight but no tents? If I broke the law, I had lots of company. Nebraska rest areas are cool green oasis with signs that specifically say your stay must be less than 10 hours. There is usually a single parallel parking lane for RVs and trucks. The car parking is a pull in arrangement and therefore will hold 3 times as many cars. Overnight parking on the RV side is crowded and not an easy in or out. This is all important information for a long trip.

My ultimate GPS will not only tell me where to turn for my programmed destination but would answer questions as I go along. I can push a button to get altitude and ETA but I can’t just give a verbal command for that info. I also want to know where I might find a gas station or what is the name of the river I just crossed? How about the name of the mountain range or peak to the right or left? This information is already in the GPS but I have to change the programming/zoom which is not available to me as I drive. Might be time for an upgrade although I probably won’t be making multiple cross country trips any time soon.

Green River, WY is rather pretty. There is the river and trees but it is surrounded by weathered rock mesas, varied colored small badland sections as well as wide expanses of prairie. The railroad goes through so it can’t be all bad.

This trip is more boring than the other 2. The road is a tan or black strip extending into the distance with dry brown on either side and only an occasional patch of green. I really don’t want to linger along the way.

Coming through Oklahoma City during rush hour has only a single bright spot. They have the standard spaghetti mess of freeway entrance and exits. The main section has 4 lanes in each direction which means you could be in serious trouble if you are right and you need to exit on the left. The signs are placed about ½ mile before those exits which would not leave much time to negotiate across 3 lanes. I’ve had the same problem in Seattle and usually try to travel in the middle lanes. That could still be an issue, however. In OK City, the roadway itself has painted Interstate signs on the lanes at least a mile before the exit. I could easily see which lanes would stay on I-35 and which were for I-40. Why don’t all large cities use that system for us silly people who only come through occasionally?

One nice thing about such a long trip is that I have had the chance to try a number of different hole in the wall BBQ places. I’ve had really great catfish and delightful hush puppies, wet BBQ and now dry rub smoked BBQ chicken. Each stop becomes my new favorite. If I decide to do a BBQ guidebook to go with the Rest Area guidebook, I’ll need to establish a good rubric. Without it, I’ll just keep changing my favorite!

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