23
May-2014

Road Trip 4.3 – Tumbleweed and warnings of Tornado

Our stay in Thermopolis being brief we packed up and left early to make for Denver. The drive took us back through the Wind River Canyon, one of the most scenic drives we have done so far. Along the way there are roadside signs pointing to the rock next to the road giving you the ages, starting at around 100 million years BC going all the way to around 600 million years BC as you get deeper into the canyon. Amazing to drive through a canyon and think about the many layers of sediment that made up the rock which was then carved through by the water and wind. Once at Shonsoni we headed East and then South through Casper and Cheyenne towards Denver. There are many towns along this route before you get to the Interstate 25 which are derelict and appear to have been abandoned. Some of them are quite eerie looking with motels covered in weeds and doors open, boarded up saloons and roadside cafes with ‘enticing’ signs but no longer serving.

Derelict Saloon

Derelict saloon, Wyoming

Derelict roadside cafe

Derelict roadside cafe, Wyoming

This drive took us more into more the farming country of Wyoming with cows grazing on both sides of the road. Along with the cows are pronghorn antelope grazing amongst the meadows of grasses and wildflowers. This is more what I expected of this State. There is even tumble-weed rolling across the road. When we got to Casper there started to appear warning signs above the highway of thunderstorms and tornados. Thunderstorms were likely and tornados possible with one being reported making land contact North of Denver, near where we happened to be spending the night. Kirsty jumped on the phone to see what this was all about. Of course, when you hear of tornados you get somewhat alarmed and we decided that rather than risk a road closure and getting stuck, we would drive straight to Denver non-stop. Every so often there are signs saying ‘If lights are flashing road closed ahead, turn back’ and boom gates across the road. The clouds looked very ominous but nothing eventuated other than a strong wind. Lucky for us, we didn’t get to experience a tornado. We were both a bit unsure what to do in one anyway although apparently you just get in your car and drive for shelter.

Wildflowers

Wildflowers, Wyoming

Driving to Denver through Wyoming

Driving through Wyoming towards Colorado

We got to Denver in the beginnings of rush hour and went from cruise control along the country roads to stop start on a 6-lane highway heading into the city. Kirsty has a friend in Denver, Katie, from her early teens, that she had made contact with so we went to meet up at her place. After the reunion, Kirsty had a surprise for me, being my birthday the next day. After some speed-eating and free pie (‘Free Pie Wednesday’) at the ‘Village In’, she directed me but didn’t tell me to what. We rolled up to a Drive-In movie theatre! I have always wanted to go to one and was thrilled that she had managed to find one, as it turns out the last remaining Drive-In in Denver. There was a triple bill on for only $8 but we only lasted for two – ‘Sherman and Peabody’ and ‘Godzilla’. Gozilla was particularly apt as the sky was beginning to light up with lightning all around as the rain closed in.

At the Drive-in

At the drive-in, Denver

At the Drive-in

Waiting for the features to start at the last remining drive-in, Denver

 

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