Thursday, August 16, 2012

US Hwy 30: Mid-Wyoming

US Hwy 30 heading west from Laramie is a sad and lonely road, victim once again to the disuse and semi-disrepair that comes from being so close to an interstate. Nevertheless, it offers dramatic and powerful vistas that one can imagine once put no small amount of trepidation in the minds of westward bound settlers. I was not without concern in my comfortable, reliable, diesel powered rig!

Pretty much in the middle of nowhere lies the town of Medicine Bow, which consists almost exclusively of a small museum and a hotel that is clearly struggling to stay in business. The attraction of both -- and of the town itself -- is that Owen Wister wrote his famous novel The Virginian based on his experiences in the area.

The Virginian is widely considered the first true western, a novel which paved the way for many more westerns by famous authors such as Zane Grey, Louis L'Amour and others. The nice ladies in the museum were ardent that the Virginian was an actual local cattleman known to Wister, but other sources suggest the character is a composite creation of Wister's, based on a type of local man he encountered. The nice young lady at the hotel bar was equally ardent that I have a cup of her tomato soup with the excellent BLT she made for me. In both cases of ardency, I acquiesced.

A bit farther west, US Hwy 30 is subsumed into I-80, though the road retains multiple designations. At various places, the original highway roadbed is visible -- seen on right in this photo -- and is generally no more than a gravel service road or sometimes even less than that.

The interstate roadway was no great treat for the 100+ miles I was on it today, made less pleasant by gusting winds and very swiftly passing trucks that often gave me my own experience of high plains drifting. I've stopped for the day in the small city of Green River and plan to take a look around tomorrow… Stay tuned!

Click here to see exactly where I am posting this from on Google Maps.

No comments: