Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Driving home through a Hurricane......

Yes we had been warned - the weather at this time of year in Wyoming is very unpredictable and expect some winds. We were given phone numbers from friends to call in an emergency and others just assumed that we would fly instead of drive.

We left West Yellowstone at 10.15 am in the snow and headed for home. Although their was plenty of snow about,  we seemed to be travelling well on our way back to Jackson Hole.

Out of the blue we were pulled over by a police car. Poor Garry had been clocked speeding 10 miles per hour above the speed limit. The officer was fascinated with our accents and gave Garry a warning. We were warned that we needed to carry our passports at all times if driving with an Australian drivers licence and also informed that our car registration information was for another car - a Ford. Garry was told to go to the equivalent of the RTA asap and have this rectified, because if we were stopped by police we could expect to be pulled from the car at gunpoint as we would be suspects in a stolen car. Just when things were getting a little boring on a long drive....

The pass on the final leg to Jackson was a little tricky - but with those great views.

After a super fast stop to buy some lunch to eat on the way we continued, hoping to make it back to the lovely Ferris Mansion in Rawlins later in the evening. But even best laid plans....

The weather started to deteriorate and driving through Idaho would have been a complete white out except for the road.

Back into Wyoming and the real fun began - high winds and lots of icy road.

Eventually we arrived in the town of Rock Springs - famous for outlaws and its gaol. As it was almost 7.00pm and we were still at least two hours from our destination of Rawlins we decided to stop for the night. We pulled into the Great Western or its alias - The Outlaw Inn and booked a room next to the pool. Next to the pool I thought - how can this be? In this weather? We were very surprised to find that all the rooms were spaced around an indoor heated pool. Very strange, but great as we could sit in our room and watch the kids swim.

While the kids were swimming we met all kinds of interesting characters who informed us that it was lucky that we stopped because we would have been turned back anyway because of the extremely dangerous conditions that were approaching Hurricane force. We were warned to be prepared to stay for possibly two days until the highway reopened.

The hotel contained all kinds of information about various outlaws. I really liked the informative place mats in the restaurant. I was shocked at the real image of Calamity Jane - most unlike Dorris Day!

We were informed at 1.45pm the following day that the highway was open again. We were packed and in the car in 20 minutes. Good bye Rock Springs.

Our joy was short lived as we arrived in Rawlins 2 and 1/2 hours later to find the highway closed again, preventing us from going any further. Winds of more than 100 miles per hour were causing Hurricane conditions. We stoped at McDonald's so the kids could play in the indoor park and we could search the net for accommodation. This was not an original idea as we discovered McDonald's full of others also looking to secure accommodation for the night. We could not find any accommodation available on the Internet and decided to go door knocking in search of beds. We were in luck - the third hotel we stopped at, had a room still available, so we bunked down again for another night, waiting for the highway to reopen.

The next morning we were relieved to find we could continue our journey home. But what a scary trip it was. We have never seen so many trucks on the road. The conditions were still extreme, very high winds and lots of snow and ice on the roads.

But this didn't stop the trucks from racing past us. We saw many accidents, as trucks and cars lost control in the very difficult conditions.

Finally, late afternoon we arrived home to Gaylord Street, feeling like true adventurers! We had a wonderful trip, filled with many special memories!

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