Wednesday, 7 December 2016

The Road Trip North Day 6. Craig, CO to Casper WY. Via Black Ice and a shunt from behind

Another early start out from our warm motel room to the iced up car. A check on the weather forecast and the traffic conditions and the drive yet further north to Wyoming is on. We treat ourselves to a hot egg sandwich from a drive through Subway to try to warm our bellies. The road conditions start off pretty good despite the freezing conditions, down to -6℉ (-21℃), the sun is shining and the cattle country landscape looks picturesque covered in snow. The roads must have been plowed as they are pretty clear, although we do encounter some black ice driving through Muddy Gap Junction. Then, after about two and a half hours, and just twenty miles from our destination, the roads turn white from compact snow. We maintain a steady speed and keep traction and are able to drive on with out any problems, only really skidding when we have to stop for lights once in Casper. At one such junction we stop successfully only to be hit from behind by a big trick with a cattle bar on the front minutes later. We are shunted forwards a food or two and are grateful that our $650 bumper car, purchased specifically for this trip, already has so many dents in it that one more isn’t really a problem. We take the drivers details but have no real intention of following up.

Slightly more stressed by the road conditions we finally make it to Michael’s uncle’s house. And due to poor communication from us regarding dietary requirement, Michael is soon eating tomato soup while I enjoy a bowl of fresh homemade chilli, the first beef I have eaten if a very long time. The afternoon spent exchanging stories and family history before a visit to a chocolate shop of sentimental value and a peep behind the scenes of how chocolates are made, including the biggest vat of molten chocolate I have ever seen.

When we finally arrive at the motel the heater in our room is broken, not what you want when the temperature is due to drop to 0℉ (-15℃) overnight. Some to-ing and fro-ing for Michael while I stay warm in the car, and we are soon in a new room that at least has some heat. Our criteria for choosing motels has been finding the best combination of lowest price and highest rating. Something leads us to believe that this motel my have written its own reviews as it is both dated on the inside and outside and quite chaotic in organisation. Still they are friendly enough and we are so cold and tired that we are not too fussy anyway.