A Harrowing Drive — Rock Springs to Cody, WY

I had a good night’s sleep in Rock Springs and awoke to SNOW. There was over an inch of it on my truck and visibility was poor. I wasn’t in a rush, having only about a five-hour drive ahead of me, so I hung out in my room for a bit before dressing to brave the weather and schlepping to the motel dining room. There, I had a fortifying breakfast of a waffle and sausage with terrible coffee. It was really tempting to plunk myself down when I got back to my room around 8:45, but I knew the weather wasn’t going to improve and that I just had to bite the proverbial bullet and get on the road.

The drive to Lander, my first stop, was very difficult. There was almost zero visibility leaving Rock Springs and things just got worse as I climbed to the summit of South Pass because, there, the snow was sticking to the ground. My truck has really good winter tires (Michelin Nordics) with tons of tread on them, but because there isn’t much weight in the back end, it absolutely sucks in snow. I avoided take it out on days with snow on the ground when I wintered in SK and really wanted to avoid driving in snow on this trip north… Even though I took my time and slowed to a crawl, I was fishtailing all over the place and grateful that there wasn’t much traffic. The only reason I didn’t go over an embankment a couple of times is because I was going very slowly.

Taking my time going over the pass and driving for the conditions added a mere six minutes to my driving time, according to my GPS. It felt like an eternity!

Thankfully, conditions cleared somewhat as I descended into Lander, where I pulled over at the McDonald’s to get a huge coffee and actually sat inside for a bit to soothe my nerves and check upcoming road conditions. Fortunately, the way north was clear from that point. I am just done with winter driving, especially since my vehicle can’t handle those conditions at all!

The rest of the drive was uneventful and the weather cleared up a little as I pushed on into a landscape of rolling olive green hills that made me realise just how close to home I was! I made it to Cody around 3:00ish and my friend Vicki was waiting for me at her “cramped ground.” I stayed with Vicki last year and it was almost like being home in that I didn’t feel like a guest. So when I got in yesterday there was a huge weight lifted off my shoulders knowing that I could take a break for a few days. Hard to believe I was not even in Culiacán at this time last week! I really did marathon this trip.

More after the pictures.

Vicki introduced me to her lovely neighbours and colleagues, we hung out for a bit, and eventually ordered pizza for dinner, which we were able to pick up since the Domino’s is just a couple of blocks away. I was going to have pizza for dinner in Rock Springs and Vicki’s suggestion that we do it last night came in literally as I was placing an online order. Talk about good timing! We both like to cook, but she’d had a long couple of days of work and I was zapped from driving, so it was the perfect night for a treat!

I’ve been awake for about an hour now and enjoying a lie-in with a cup of coffee. Vicki isn’t a morning person so she’s still out for the count. She’ll eventually get up and we’ll start to plan our day. She has a bunch of errands to run since she has access to a vehicle (she doesn’t have a toad) and we might hit a museum if we have time. Then, she’s working for a few days, so I’ll do the same, although I’m planning for tomorrow to be a lie in bed with a book kind of lazy day… 🙂 I’ll probably be here through to Friday morning. That will give us Thursday, one of Vicki’s days off, to spend more time together since otherwise, we’d just have the evenings. I had planned to get home in one day from here, but the time is too tight. Instead, I’ll probably get as far as Glasgow, MT, Friday, and be home by noonish on Saturday, two weeks after leaving Isla.

10 thoughts on “A Harrowing Drive — Rock Springs to Cody, WY

  1. Glad to hear you made it safe! Winters are bad here, so I understand the scary driving aspect – not fun at all!

    The scenery certainly is beautiful! Wonderful place to spend a few days and take in the sights!

    You really make me want to take a road trip! Minus the snow, of course 🙂

  2. When we were in Cody last June, I spotted a small ad in a tourist brochure that led us to Heart Mountain Interpretive Center, a few miles NE of Cody. We had never visited any of the WWII internment camps for American citizens of Japanese descent. I didn’t realize they were relocated as far as north-central Wyoming.
    This is a small museum, with re-creations of barracks rooms, loads of fascinating exhibits, and a few outdoor remnants of the camp. It is not a US govt site, but privately supported. I spoke to the archivist who said they have lots of support from local residents who remember the WWII events clearly. It is sobering and frightening to think that it could happen again in the “right” political climate. http://www.heartmountain.org/visit.html

    • My host Vicki let me know about this site. Thanks for additional info! I will check their hours if I find time to go. There’s another internment or possibly POW camp near the Pemberton crossing in North Dakota.

  3. Glad you made it through the snow safely. Sorry you needed to do so. Good to have a solid place to rest and recover.

  4. We had snow on our way south this winter, but not heading north a month ago. As your post noted, it is the altitude that “gets you”, we came way east of your route before heading north to Manitoba via the east half of the Dakotas. Of course we did not see Arches coming that way, maybe next year, it is on the bucket list. Keep on travelling safely! -Jack

    • The shoulder season is definitely not a fun time to travel through the Plains and Midwest! 🙂 Safe travels to you too.

  5. You could improve traction by adding a few sandbags and/or concrete blocks to the back. The sand could come in handy if you were to get stuck and the blocks can always be used back at Haven for steps or foundations.

    • That’s what I did the winter I was at Haven, added heavy salt bags and they made a difference. But there’s no room in the truck for more ballast now! 🙂

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