I am a long way from home
Day 1: Nevada
Miles Driven: 308.1, total
Average gas: $3.65/gal
Slept: At a truck stop
I didn’t think that I would stop in Nevada, as I’ve already been there several times. However, since I left for this journey late in the day, I decided that stopping Elko to honor my Dad would be a wise way to begin.
Before he was diagnosed, my Dad believed that he would get his life together and move to Elko, NV because there is a veteran community, and really good hunting and fishing there. Everyone around him knew more or less this wouldn’t happen, but him and I talked several times about me driving him up there, with a stop in Reno along the way.
I wound up stopping in Lovelock to sleep that night, but I did get to bring my Dad to Elko. I brought his ashes, and I’ve felt his spirit with me several times. This couldn’t have happened when he was alive–a 20 minute car ride hurt him greatly, and after 7 hours of driving, I was pretty achy. Couldn’t have imagined how he would have felt.
Everyone I spoke to in Nevada was friendly, kind, and made positive conversation with me. Still, sleeping at a truck stop is scary when you’re a young woman! Every noise I heard, every shift in the ground, I was awake–if you could even call what I was doing sleeping. When I got up in the morning, around the sunrise at 5:45 pacific standard time, I was bitten up by bugs. The curtains Mom and I worked on were not quite secure enough—bugs were able to fly right in and apparently I’m very sweet blooded.
Day 2: Idaho
Miles Driven: 520.4, 828.14 total
Average Gas: $2.90/gal
Slept: Craters of the Moon Campground
Idaho, Idaho, Idaho. So many people told me that Idaho is surprisingly beautiful. Even all of their signs say “Idaho is too beautiful to litter in.” And, that’s not entirely wrong. I went to Twin Falls and saw Shoshone Falls (the “Niagra Falls of the West”), I drove through many towns (one was even celebrating it’s centenial year!), stayed at Craters of the Moon (this was awe inspiring), and ended the Idaho route in Soda Springs (too sulphury to sip).
I am jaded, though, by this state. Having passed through it when I was 14 en route to Montana, I decidedly didn’t love it then. This was the redemption round. I drove into Twin Falls to go to the gym to run, shower, and sit in a massage chair. However, after driving 20 minute to find it, it turns out this gym doesn’t exist until November.
Annoyed, I hightailed towards Craters of the Moon, wondering why I am even planning to stay in this state (I was that annoyed. My bug bites and achy body wanted a shower). As I creeped along, the beauty of the state became evident–mountain ranges, open fields, creeks. Though, I can’t imagine living here–every town seemed to be at least an hour apart. Oh, and no one was all that friendly, but rather stand off-ish.
The campground was beautiful. It was raining upon arrival, and full of Europeans also doing Van life in the mass produced sprinters. I slept more soundly that night, but with the moon in Scorpio, I woke up several times, lost in thoughts inspired by dreams. At first I was annoyed–I really needed some sleep. But then it dawned on me–I’m sleeping in the ashes of a volcano. Of course tonight is about the rebirth of self.
I left for Soda Springs at 7:45 mountain time.
Days 3-4: Wyoming
Miles Driven: 574.6, 1402.74 total
Average gas: $2.90/gal
Slept: Super 8 Motel
Wyoming is a place of beauty, kindness, and is like walking through several different genres of movies. I feel so blessed to have been here 2 nights.
The first stop was Freedom. This place was recommended to me by a friend who did a mission out here. Freedom is the oldest settled town on this side of our nation, and was used by the Mormons to escape persecution: this town lays on the state line, so it was presumably very easy to escape the law. Freedom is located in Star Valley, one the most picturesque places I’ve had the pleasure of spending time in. Mountains of trees surround in what feels like a giant circle, there are open patches of green fields where citizens ride their horses, rivers wind through the towns, and the buildings are made cute in the shabby chic way that belongs to equestrian communities.
The kindness of the people shifted drastically from the coldness of the Idaho-ans. I pulled up to little Salt River, and saw a mother and son fishing. The little boy was so excited to tell me about his close encounter with a trout, and the woman lit up with excitement to see a brave young woman traveling solo. She began telling me of all the places she’s lived–Utah, Nevada, Wyoming–and some worthwhile trails where I can meet more great people. She had such a beautiful smile and there was something about her demeanor that reminded me of all the younger-year photos I’ve seen of my Mom. Wyoming began stealing my heart in this moment.
Continuing on the journey, I drove into a forest–Briger Teton National Forest. There were a few rangers and Road workers–all smiles and waves, and an amazing creek with pull outs. So I pulled over, did some homework and took a nap. Further down the way, I began seeing signs for Cottonwood Lake. Little did I know, this road would dead-end at the lake, forcing a turn around to take the same hour-long dirt road in. As I was sitting there, an older couple pulled up next to me and asked if I was okay. Even volunteered to lead me down the road if I felt lost. Kindness. Wyoming is full of this. Something about the surrounding beauty must make the residents beautiful.
The day was winding on, I got some stretching and rest in, and decided that it was time to head to the next area, where I’d sleep for the night. Green River was next on that list–connected to a Jupiter landing and the Flaming Gorge (which is another recommendation).
The sun began to set a quarter of the way in, but that was okay. Certain parts of Wyoming feel just like California–golden hills for miles. When I finally got into town, I was pooped, exhausted, had homework to finish, and just wanted a shower. So despite all the self criticism to be tougher, I rented a room. The first hotel was booked. The second motel had no desk attendee. Finally, I landed at the Super 8. The attendee there told me that Railroad Workers are in town–railroad workers! I thought for sure I had died and went back in time. But alas, I am typing this, so the year is still clearly 2009. I meant 2019, haha. 🙂
Green River is precious, the people are all very kind and friendly (nothing but positive interactions, despite me sticking out here with bohemian style), the layout is intriguing, and I’d love to visit here again in the future. It’s a worthwhile vacation spot. Oh, and it rained 3 times already! 78 degrees with rain. Hello!
I finished my homework, ate some real food (was snack fooding it up until this point), did some yoga, watched some Hulu, saw the Jupiter landing spot, and feel more alive and ready for this journey. Still in budget, too. (By the way, gas is A LOT, despite the cheaper prices. So grateful that the world is my bedroom with my CRV–which is named Jupiter, FYI).
After stopping in the Flaming Gorge, I’ll be on the next leg of this journey. Check back in 2-3 days for another post!
As always, if there is anything you are curious about, please ask! I want this to not only chronicle this journey, but be of interest to you!
Thank you for following me, it means a lot. Really.
Go to my Instagram, LucyLushe, or my Facebook, to see a video of Freedom. It was a bit too much to upload here.