July 18: The Drive West

After spending a loooong day at work, spent mostly trying to figure out what I had forgotten to take care of, I raced home and began packing my truck for the ardous journey south to Sun Prairie, WI. Reed had procured the use of his mothers Grand Caravan for the 1300 mile trip so my trusty Santa Fe would sit this one out. In truth, it would have been a cramped ride and Reed's Forester wouldn't have been any better. We would travel in comfort to be sure.

But first, Todd and Matt's soccer team had a home game that I wanted to watch/coach. It would be the last game I would see during the season, and did not turn out well as they lost 3-2.

Regardless the outcome, I quickly said good bye to my boys and mother and hopped into my truck. I was finally going back to Wyoming.

I had hoped to be at Ward's place in Sun Prairie by 10:30, and, as usual, was right on time, arriving at 10:35. Quick introductions were made to gentlemen I had previously only talked to via e-mail and phone. How would we get along? Would they be weenies? Would they think I was a weenie?

It didn't take long to slam my gear into the back of the van and quickly check my vehicle for some valuable piece of equipment or travel necessity I may have left behind. By 10:50 we were off with "the Warden" behind the wheel, who would stay there until about 2:30 AM while we got to know each other and Reed tried to get some sleep.

Reed and Ward upon our arrival at the Log Cabin Motel in Pinedale.

Having not yet slept didn't prove to be a problem for me as I took us through Iowa during the wee hours of the morning. Or was it Nebraska?

Dawn couldn't come quickly enough so that I could get a couple of hours of sleep before stopping for breakfast at Sapps. Quite the breakfast I might add and just what we needed to get us through the plains.

By noon we had crossed into Wyoming and could almost smell the Rockies and at 4:00 pulled into Rock Springs for gas. I would "take us home" to Pinedale ("all the civilization you need") over the high desert and into a room at the Log Cabin Motel for the night.

When we got to our room it was decided that it was too hot inside so we drove over to Faler's General Store so that Reed could buy small fan. I bought a few post cards and wondered how long it would be before a Walmart Super Center displaced the iconic Faler's, turning Pinedale into something less desirable?

After we got settled in a bit it was time to get that last good meal before hitting the trail for a week. I lobbied for the Cafe on Pine, knowing chef Wendi was working while Reed thought Stockman's was the ticket. We eventually ambled into the Cowboy Bar & Lounge and ambled out even before a waitress could say hello---too much smoke. A bit further down the street we found the Bottoms Up Brewery & Grill, which I had heard about, and decided to check it out. We got lucky and grabbed a table outside on the patio. This might be good

Let me just say that the one waiter on duty (complete with a multi tool strapped to his belt) was in way over his head. We eventually got some food and a beer which was more-less what we ordered. The burgers and Philly weren't bad but the fries were great.

We walked back to the Motel and began getting our gear ready for the morning. Reed and Ward finished first and turned in early, but I still had some work to do. The previous weekend had been spent at the Wisconsin Dells with the family cutting a good chunk of my prep time. I had no idea if I'd get everything into my Vapor Trail or not, so I brought my Gregory Forester along as insurance. Thankfully everything fit into the smaller, lighter Vapor Trail.

I finished off the night writing my post cards and trying to fall asleep in the hot cabin. It didn't take long.


Wind River Range
Trip Planning
The Drive West
Mary's Lake
Tommy Lake
Lower Jean Lake
Stroud Glacier
Titcomb Basin
Indian Basin
The Hike Out
The Drive Home
Final Thoughts
Trip Photos
Back to Backcountry Trips


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