Sunday, August 11, 2013

Crossing The Continental Divide on I-80 at 7000 Feet

If you zoom in you can see the Snow Fences along the side of the road. Starting on 287 we saw them the rest of the way  up to the Cascades. They seemed to be placed perpendicular to the prevailing winds to keep the snow from blowing across the roads and building up.

There were ranching communities around here with the little white church building occasionally like the one you see on the left.

Sorry the Pic just can not capture the incredible vista, we are leaving behind Colorado and the Foot hills and  climbing to the High Country of Wyoming and the Plateaus 

Stark Beauty

The Land of the Plateaus 

If you can't drive over you drive through.

Often things went to one lane since these people have to get all the road work done before Winter shuts  all road work down. Way different from Texas where they can keep the roades torn up with construction year round.

Your either going up up up or down down down and now mostly down down down and down some more....make sure the break pads are in good shape!

No Mountains Cause your way up on one

You can not pass here if you have a boat, you have to pull in to the PORT first!

In Wyoming the chairs are saddles at McDonalds cause everyone is a Cowboy....

Where the Hell is it?

We had to pull over for Gas so We spent a little time checking out Rock Springs, WY. The Admiral yelled STOP!, We just happened to drive by the Fraternal Order of Eagles. 

The Admiral does some Ebay business with her dad and she just happened to have this Old FOE Pendent in her bag so she wanted to go in and just donate the pendent to FOE #151

These three guys and the Barkeep were inside. They all looked at the Pendent and marveled, it was really old since it did not have a number on it. They decided to hang it from the shelf right above the Bar for all to see. We had a great time talking to these guys and they asked us to stay for a drink but we thanked them and  drove on

Lots of Saltwater Shore birds along the shores of the Great Salt Lake like these two Black Stilts

The Great Salt Lake is so Salty there are no fish but it is full of  brine shrimp,  which I am sure this juvenile gull is enjoying, and several species of algae. We also saw either lots of very small flies or Huge Gnats!

The Lake is Surrealistic

We drove out to Antelope Island for the Sunset and saw incredible Waterscapes.

Where else in the world do you see scenes like this?

The small marina had a few sailboats, I started to walk down the dock but the  rather large Gnats all around the waters edge were not inviting.

We did not have enough time to fully explore Antelope Island out 3 miles into the lake

The Buffalo roam free on Antelope

Sailing the Great Salt Lake must be very Mysterious

Crossing The Continental Divide on I-80 at 7000 Feet

The third leg of our trip took us from Colorado to Wyoming to Brigham City, Utah.
We left Ft. Collins on 287 as a short cut to I-80 and Larame. This meant we would miss Cheyenne, WY but I just had a feeling that 287 might offer something better than the Interstate Hwy 80. Not sure if I was right since we did not go that stretch of I-80 but I can tell you 287 to Laramie is a fantastic drive. I am sure the Interstate would be the only way to go in the winter but every turn on 287 was flat out beautiful running through the foot hills of the Rocky Mountains. We took lots of pics as we were driving but here again it is very difficult to capture the incredible vistas all around us as we pass through the passes, canyons long uphill and downhill runs. And the funny thing is that as soon as you cross into Wyoming things flatten out, you are up in the high country now with plateau’s all around. In fact you are driving across vast stretches of the tops of the Plateaus. Snow fences built to keep blowing snow off the highways stretch everywhere. Farms have small windbreak structures all around built so the livestock can take shelter from what must be bitter cold and wind.
Not long after passing across the Wyoming border we saw a sign directing all boats to stop at the Laramie Port of Entry. WHAT?? I was sure that we had not left the United States? One definition for Port of Entry:

 “a port of entry (POE) is a place where one may lawfully enter a country. It typically has a staff of people who check passports and visas and inspect luggage to assure that contraband is not imported. International airports are usually ports of entry, as are road and rail crossings on a land border. Seaports can be used as ports of entry only if a dedicated customs presence is posted there. .”

Anyway we did not have to stop, just big trucks and all boats. We did bring our passports though so that we could maybe visit Canada sometimes in the near future did not know we might need them in Wyoming.
We stopped in Laramie just to check out this famous Western town but we did not see much we did get some Safeway gas and then headed back out down I-80. The elevation was elusive as the mountains dropped from view long ago behind as we traveled through the Highlands of Wyoming, and all of a Sudden there was a sign announcing the Continental Divide 7000 Feet Elevation. Somehow we expected something more at the great Divide….Just a green sign. From that point on we went down to the Great Salt Lake in Utah. We drove the loop around Salt Lake City again avoiding going into a large city at rush hour. Mark warned us about the Horrible drivers in Salt Lake City reportedly mostly Mormon Housewife’s driving like mad women due to all the children in the back of their SUV’s. We cannot testify to any of that since we did not see or experience such but if it was there I was glad to avoid it!

We stopped in Rock Springs for gas and drove around the town to see the sights when the Admiral spotted the Fraternal Order of Eagles #151. She just happened to have a FOE pendent from her dads Ebay business and decided to stop, go in,  and donate the Pendent to these guys. The three gentlemen at the bar and the Barkeep all looked at the pendent to try and determine where it had come from, they decided it must be a really old one since it was not numbered. They decided to hang it from a shelve right over the bar so all could see it. They invited us for a drink but we thanked them and drove on. It is funny since our daughter had actually joined the Fraternal Order of Eagles when she was a reporter in Prosser WA. This was the best way for her to learn and get the scoop from all the old timers in the region.for her reporting for the Yakima Herald 

We drove by The Great Salt Lake on our way to check into our Hotel in Brigham City, Utah. After we stowed our stuff we decided we needed to make the 40 mile trip back down to check out the Great Salt Lake. Well fortunately for us there was a road easy for us to get to that was built to get out to Antelope Island, about 3 miles out into the lake: . Sorry,  I have never been anywhere that looked like this. You feel like a Stranger in a Strange Land. We got there about an hour before Sunset and the Artist Gods were out in full strength painting before your very eyes a new scene every few seconds. A place to come back to and spend enough time to try and understand. That was the gift of sailing around the Gulf, we could just stop and stay in special spots as long as we wanted. The Buffalo were an unexpected part of the scene, we reluctantly drove out after dark for the 40 mile trip back to our Hotel and rest for the next Leg.

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