On the road to Wyoming, day 2

Posted: August 24, 2021 in Food, Travel
Tags: , , , , , , ,

We’re on the road in the dark again, over Raton Pass when we’re unable to see the beauty and my eyes are as wide as they go watching through the dark for possible deer or elk on the road. We have to driving the length of Colorado and right through downtown Denver. There’s so much smoke from fires that we can’t even see the Rockies and can barely see them in Colorado Springs where they’re almost next to the highway. Not much to say about driving through Colorado except that it’s great to leave. I-70 through Glenwood Canyon, a major east-west highway, is closed due to mudslides caused by rain in an area burned in 2020.

We see a few more interesting animals in Wyoming: a herd of bison (AKA buffalo, although incorrectly) which are in on someone’s ranch and oddly two camels, also not wild and in a large fenced area. But still–camels!

We stop at another interesting rest area, this one using passive solar. I love this!

On one side of the rest area is a sign celebrating the necessity of keeping cottonwood trees and we saw quite a few as we drove along.

Our original plan, going to the cabin and then back down in the morning to drive to Billings, Montana to pick up our older daughter for a week’s visit, changed to driving straight to Billings, an extra two hours, and then staying overnight, picking her up, and shopping at Costco before heading back to Sheridan for more shopping and then the drive up the mountain. You have to understand that although the distance from Sheridan up the mountain to the cabin isn’t too far but the road up the mountain is not only not paved, it’s in no way smooth, more suitable for four-wheel drive vehicles than our Toyota Sienna, although the Sienna goes up well. It turned out to be a good choice as the road was particularly rough and rocky this year, forcing me to ascend in first gear almost the entire way. Going down necessitates first gear until the bottom while trying not to ride the brakes. So we go up and down as little as possible. Besides, going to town isn’t nearly as much fun as staying up. πŸ™‚

At any rate, we were tootling along at 80 mph through Montana and only about half an hour from Billings when the phone rang and plans were thrown into momentary disarray when we found out our daughter’s flight had been cancelled and there wouldn’t be another until Friday (this was Sunday and she would have arrived on Monday), leaving not enough time for her trip. After a bit of dithering, we decided to stay in Billings anyway, have a leisurely morning (i.e. not get up a 3:30 am), and then head back to Wyoming. We had a major, annoying glitch when our confirmed reservation through Hotels.com turned out to have been viewed by someone at the motel but not entered and our king room wasn’t available. The less-then-helpful woman at the desk said all she could offer us was a double bed…at basically the same price. No thanks and can you say “Poor customer service?”. But we did have a nice time before that in a nearby park where the trees weren’t cottonwoods but were huge and beautiful and older lovely homes surrounded the park.

After a frustrating time of sitting in parking lot trying to find another (and more expensive) motel, make the reservation, drive there, and check in, we were more than ready for the outdoor patio, smooth dark beer, and tasty food at The Montana Brewing Company! If you’re ever in Billings, we highly recommend it. The BBQ shrimp salad and the pork belly sliders with homemade fries were both delicious, although the online menu appears not to be current.

In his infinite wisdom, my husband decided we needed dessert, which we asked to have halved in the kitchen. They went over and above, halving the cookie but giving us each a full measure of local (and awesome) ice cream. We couldn’t even finish but the entire experience made the hassles of earlier fade into stuffed oblivion.

  1. Even the best laid plans sometimes go awry, but that dinner and dessert would sure allow a person to have an attitude adjustment. πŸ™‚

    • The excellent beer certainly helped as well as did just sitting down and having a break. It had been about a 12-hour drive, I think, and then all the hassles so you can imagine how nice it was to relax a bit.

  2. Toonsarah says:

    Looks like you ended the day on a high despite the earlier hassles. We spent a few days in a B&B in the mountains above Sheridan some years ago, so I’ll be interested to see your photos of the cabin location – sounds like it’s up a very similar track!!

    • I’m not sure what you remember about your visit but if you go up the Red Grade Road and see the sign for or turn left to go to Little Goose Campground, we’re not far from there.

  3. I’m so glad you could take us on this adventure! I do miss traveling… Even if it isn’t a perfect trip, I think you’re definitely making the most of it. πŸ™‚

  4. JT Twissel says:

    Burp! That looks like a lot of food. I haven’t had very good luck with hotels.com either!

    • It was a lot of food but it was SO good. The problem with the motel wasn’t at hotels.com’s end but at the motel itself where someone viewed the booking but didn’t enter it. We were not amused!

  5. Dan Antion says:

    That all looks so wonderful, Janet. I can’t imagine the smoke. I’ve been through that area – without being able to see the mountains – that’s rough.

    • Once we got back from Billings, we could see them a bit more but the entire first week was quite smoky and hazy. The second week though things cleared up thankfully!

  6. de Wets Wild says:

    You really got your just deserts for the hassle with your motel booking when you received that delectable dessert!

  7. At least your day ended on a sweet note.

    We have lots and lots of cottonwoods here and many people detest them because of the mess they make. I tried to zoom in and read the sign, but couldn’t zoom in. I’ll try to find it on google to find out how good they are. πŸ˜€

    • Their function reminds me a bit of the large importance of the saguaro in the desert.

      Yes, the day ended well and I was ready to stop and relax! The next morning we were at Costco when they opened and even though it was a Monday, it got crowded quickly. I had a list and we got out in good time and headed for Sheridan (more shopping) and then up the mountain to the cabin.

  8. That tree, but what ever, that ice cream , delicious.