Saturday, April 13, 2013

US Hwy 20 -- Detour: Now We're Way Off Course, BooBoo!

The US Hwy 20 Voyage of Macgellan is now officially off course. Way off course: About 200 miles southwest of my intended route!

I got out of Idaho Falls okay this morning, taking the US Hwy 26 route heading east. It was windy, but the road was dry and I could safely hold a moderate speed. Heading up the valley toward the border, the sky closed in and then it started to rain. The roads got pretty wet, with just a dusting of snow on the hillsides.

Once over the border, conditions confirmed my decision to avoid going north through Jackson and the high pass, choosing instead to turn southeast on US Hwy 191 (the yellow line in my previous map post). Along that route, big flakes of snow started falling and the road got a little slushy, but there was no accumulation or ice. I had no trouble at a modest speed, and I remain impressed by how well my new rig handles in poor conditions.

Dropping down a bit to the high plains again, the snow and rain stopped. The roads were dry and in good shape, but the wind -- and very dynamic sky! -- kept me quite entertained.

My plan for the day had been to stop in Farson, WY, where the most direct highway turns northeast to take me back to my intended course west of Casper. When I pulled into that little crossroads town, I saw a warning sign that flashed: "Severe winds on South Pass… Advise no light trailers."

I considered spending the night there as planned, hoping for better conditions tomorrow. A very informative conversation with Mike in the cafe convinced me that the road would remain impassable for me through tomorrow and beyond. He looked at my rig and said, "That pass won't be okay for you this week. I think you better go south and try to get east on the Interstate." 'Nuff said!

So, I drove another 40 miles south in high, gusty but manageable winds, to Rock Springs, WY, and have camped just off I-80. That means I am now all the way down on the green route shown in my previous map post. At least I gave it a shot, right?

The park I'm in is actually one that I stayed in last summer on my way west on US Hwy 30. That confirms I am now way off course and will probably have to retrace part of a previous route east, hoping to turn north and regain US Hwy 20 in Casper.

That may be wishful thinking, as it is currently blowing sleet and snow sideways, with a forecast for worse tomorrow. In fact, with the Dakotas getting hammered, I may be stuck far off my route for a while… Stay tuned!

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

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