Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wyoming wanderings

This is my first trip through southwestern Wyoming. I had not expected to encounter this harsh desert with its petroglyphs, fossils, dunes, and one-of-a-kind rock formations. Until I approached Laramie, the countryside outside of the towns was dry and without trees. I wonder where towns get their water- Green River? Snow melt? I crossed the Continental Divide twice today. The highest crossing was over 7000 feet.

The weather must be harsh in summer and winter. There are frequent road signs to check weather conditions on radio stations, signs to warn that there may be a road closure x feet ahead, and signs to warn motorists that the next five miles might be very windy. On entering the state, there was a sign about a Wyoming law that motorists on Wyoming interstate must move to the lane farthest from a parked emergency vehicle. I noticed that most truckers moved to the left lane when passing any vehicle on the shoulder. (When I was driving in Washington, I noticed big trucks in new colors-- fuschia and pastel-like. I didn't see any of those today.)

The Sweetwater County Museum charges no admission and packs many interesting displays into a relatively small space. I learned a new word: trona. Doing some surfing later, I read that this area of Wyoming provides about 90% of the US supply and 30% of the world supply. The Native American exhibits include quotations from a speech by Chief Washakie. He very eloquently chided the white man's goverment for breaking promises. The law and order exhibit talked about Butch Cassidy. The Great Auto Race went through Wyoming in 1908. I wonder if there will be centennial events along the route next year.

There are lots of snow fences alongside I-80. I was surprised to see miles and miles of them, so I did some research. When the highway was built, there were no snow fences. Over the years, many have been constructed. There have also been studies on the effects and benefits of the fences. They prevent snow from blowing onto the highway, minimizing snow removal cost. Visibility on the road is improved. The road stays warmer and less icy. All of which leads to fewer days of closed roads, fewer accidents, and less loss of life.

1 comment:

Charla said...

Hi Rita!

I was updating my blog today for the first time in nearly a year. I noticed in my admin stats that you had linked to me when we were in Seattle. I followed the referring URL and of course it brought me here to yours. I have enjoyed reading through it.

We must talk about the SCFA PD Web pages when you get back.

Happy Trails.