Once up and loaded on Sunday morning, July 21, we continued our journey due west. Our plans had been to stay in Cheyenne but as we drove we kept seeing vehicles with lots of bikes on the back, lots of large horse trailers, RVs pulling trailers for motorcycles and heavy traffic. What’s up?! Well, as we discovered later, it was time for Frontier Days in Cheyenne and all sorts of activities occur during these 10 days here. Not a single RV spot was available and most hotels full. Even the rest areas (few as they were) had people stopping to exercise their pets and horses. So we pushed on west heading to Rawlins, WY. Once we arrived we were fortunate to get into Western Hills Campground with no reservation. This area is very dry and windy; we actually battled wind gusts over 40 MPH as we drove so were glad to stop. All night the wind blew and shook our rig. The Basenji girls had a hard time here as the entire place is gravel and hard on their feet so puppy pit stops were short and then back inside to the cool and carpet. Just west of here is the Green River area of Wyoming and the location of the Flaming Gorge Reservoir. It would have been neat to go down and camp in one of their campgrounds but had to pass it this trip. The Green River Basin contains the most massive and easily mineable deposit of trona in the world. What’s trona; you say? Well it is a mineral that yields soda ash used in laundry detergent and to make glass and paper. It also is used to manufacture soda bicarbonate and sodium phosphates. The mines here vary from 800 to 1600 feet deep in beds 8 to 12 feet thick. After processing it is shipped from the Green River Basin by 100 ton rail cars and trucks. Thus you can see the importance of the railroads and a great interstate highway here.
The new F350 performed beautifully except our miles per gallon suffered, gaining elevation with each mile and into a sustained 30 mph wind with gust to 40 mph (That’s what the illuminated road signs reported) we still average 10.9 miles per gallon. The leader thinks that’s pretty good for towing a 14,000 pound plus rig.
Another amazing thing we saw in Wyoming was the miles of snow fence. What is that you say? Well, up here they have large snowstorms and combined with the wind it creates a big hazard on I-80. Beginning in the 1970s when the interstate was completed they built snow fences which caused the snow to drift against them instead of the highway. Seems as if the state was granted over $4 million of stimulus money in 2006 to add to these fences and amazingly enough the company that got the contract to maintain them also was able to take the old boards and recycle them and they are sold to homeowners for exterior and interior work. There are over 55,000 feet of the fencing along the roadway. Amazing! Here is a picture to show both the old and new style of fence.