Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Day 18: Billings, MT - Laramie, WY

As promised here is a photo of The BEAR invading the hotel.  I further note that every official notice in the place has, under the normal text, the same thing in Braille.  I find this pleasing.

I further further note that everything in America, to a greater or lesser extent, goes "Bong".  The motor-car goes "Bong" if you open the door while the keys are in the ignition, or while the lights are on, or if the engine is running but you have no seat belt on, or when the toast is ready.  The lift in the hotel goes "Bong" when it arrives at a floor, even when it's not stopping there.  I think I've heard motor-spirit dispensing pumps go "Bong" too, but usually only after I've kicked them for asking me for a "5 digit ZIP code", whatever one of those may be.  Note to America: please stop going "Bong".  Thank you.

Much of today's route is via I-90 and I-25, but the scenery is pretty similar to what would be viewed from the normal roads.  Today this is less brush and more grassland, as Billings is fewer than 1,000 metres above sea level.  The further south one goes, the higher one climbs and the brush attempts to take over, though it's never quite entirely successful.

Here's one I took earlier...
The first point of interest, unless you're enough of an anorak to take interest in a couple of stationary coal trains each 1.2 miles long, is the Little Bighorn battlefield.  I stopped here in 2005 and thus did not propose to do so again.  General Custer had both the high ground and the fire-power but managed to lose anyway.  Subsequent analyses of the battle tend to indicate that George Armstrong Custer was at least seven of the British Army's eleven officially-recognised types of fucking idiot.

I finally get to leave I-25 at Casper.  Ahead is a Mountain.  I-25 passes to the east thereof, while Emily the TwatNav wants me to go to the west.  Of it.  In fact, she wants me to go round in a bloody great loop down to Rawlins, having utterly failed to notice the existence of WY-487.  This is a fair bit shorter and as near as makes no odds deserted.  I encountered two other vehicles going my way in more than a hundred miles, and one of them turned off before I caught him.  The only things up here are wind turbines and sno fences, presumably to prevent the road from becoming buried when the prevailing westerlies are doing their worst.  Civilisation of a sort returns with a meeting with I-80 at Walcott Junction, which consists of a Shell motor-spirit retailer.  Then along WY-130 for a while until the junction at which you TOTSO (turn off to stay on) WY-130 and start climbing through the pine forests into the Snowy Range.

Natch there is no official summit marker at the highest point, but prior investigation has shown the high point - 10,487 feet - to be located at Libby Flats and sho' 'nuff there is a board there with the altitude writ large thereupon.  It occurs to me that I am Somewhere West Of Laramie:

Somewhere west of Laramie there's a bronco-busting, steer-roping girl who knows what I’m talking about. She can tell what a sassy pony, that’s a cross between greased lighting and the place where it hits, can do with eleven hundred pounds of steel and action when he's going high, wide and handsome. The truth is - the Jordan Playboy was built for her.

With advertising copy like that, it's little wonder that the Jordan Motor Car Company went titsup in 1931.  Down the eastern side of the Snowy Range, out of the trees and across the prairie to Laramie.  The last time I was here was a Friday night and there was a big college football game the next day.  Rooms were at a premium.  Happily this is not the case today.

It now seems likely that the remaining summits will be knocked off tomorrow, possibly with a chunk of the day still remaining.  Which leaves me at something of a loose end.  Still, I'm sure I'll think of something.

(Consults road atlas)

Oooh!  That's an idea...


  1. I'd tell you to holler if you come near Fog City, but I'm heading south tomorrow for a few days, not available 'til Monday by when I would expect you'll have vanished in to thin air...

  2. Indeed. Flying home from Denver on Friday; probably blowing up Mount Rushmore tomorrow. Bishop was about as close as I got and that's at least 300 miles away...

  3. Why don't you spend a few hours carving and add a bust of Uncle Marvo instead. Blowing stuff up is overrated.