Days 1-2 – Rawlins, WY
We left a day earlier than originally planned for reasons.
Just like last year, we saw a Miami Hurricane along our route. I wonder if it’s one of the ones we saw last year.
We boondocked (with permission, of course) for two nights in a parking lot for a Tractor Supply Company (where they had chicks and ducklings!). There were a couple of other RVs and lots of truckers, including at least one couple.
Seagulls. In Wyoming. I’ll never get used to that. It feels like sleeping in a parking lot at the beach, the Tractor Supply Beach. I guess they like the humidity here. They are also spoiled. People drive through with their leftover french fries from McDonalds and feed them from their trucks. Everything is kinda brown, but it’s been warm (high of 92º) and cool (lows of 58º) and mostly muggy (unless it was very windy). We even had hail.
We also got to play another round of “why isn’t the fridge water/ice working?” We’ve narrowed it down to the inverter or the wiring between it and our batteries or the batteries themselves. I’m betting on the inverter. E took it to have the batteries checked and they all registered nothing, which no one, not even the tech, believed. He got on the horn with our usual repair and upgrade crew and we have an appointment for the end of the season for the usual “here’s all the stuff gone wrong” list. He also tried to finish the installation of our bidet, but the next attempt didn’t work, so he’ll give them that, too.
Our first night in Rawlins, while we were sitting in the dark troubleshooting and stuff, a lone doe came up and grazed in the field right in front of our motorhome.
The Great’ful Goat Hostel and Laundry
The reason we left a day early was so that I (L) could offer to help someone who happened to be along our route. Kate is a YouTuber I follow with a really cool niche and a famous pet goat, Little Leaf! She is also a wonderfully-talented artist.
Her adventures have taken her on the Appalachia Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail. She’s traveled most of the continental US in her Jeep with her goat by her side and pulling her (also YouTube-famous) gypsy wagon.
Kate recently bought into a building with an attached laundry and has turned it into a hostel for through hikers and bikers. Three major trails converge in Rawlins, yet the town has no support for them. Even though the Continental Divide Trail goes right through the middle of town, there are no gear shops, hostels, package spots, trail angels, or anything like most towns along these routes. Kate aims to change that.
When we got to town, we checked in with her, but she was a bit between projects while she had guests and she’s working around the previous owner’s move-out. She was also a little hesitant to give me any grunt work, but I truly wanted to help in whatever way she needed most. Sensing her hesitation and stranger danger, I told her I could also put together a little website. She took my number and said she’d text me.
She texted early with some ideas. When I arrived, gloves in hand, she kinda offhandedly offered me the task of removing an old flower bed structure in the back yard. It was an eyesore that’s been bugging her, but it wasn’t urgent and it has been hot, so she hadn’t gotten to it. It was the perfect one-shot project for one person. Next spring, she wants to build a little pad and get patio furniture to make the back yard a nice place for hostel guests to hang out. She also wants it to be nice enough that Little Leaf can be out there more. She loves to be outside, but doesn’t like the ants in the yard.
I gloved up, took the drill, and got to work taking apart boards. Later, a hammer and crow bar were my tools-du-jour to dig up the little posts, some cinder blocks, and even a few buried bricks. I also tried to start leveling a couple of the worst spots so they were less of a trip hazard. She plans to till the whole yard in the spring so she can reset the soil and seed some grass.
Whenever I would take a break, I’d dote on Little Leaf. She got all the pets and pats and “bootie scritches.” Watching her play was so much fun. She head butts the bottom of your shoe, when offered. She hates kisses if she knows they’re coming. She loves high places. And her sideways vertical jumps are just the cutest thing. Kate said she was in rare form after not getting her usual beauty rest, but wow, was she fun. She gives the gentlest head butts into your thigh when she wants attention.
During my work, I found what might be the middle of the ant colony, so I gave Kate the highly-effective, recipe for garden-safe fire ant killer. At that point, and with clouds rolling in, we shifted into digital work and set up the basics of a tiny website.
While I got the guts of her new website set up (big shoutout to icdsoft and SureSupport; they are a joy to work with!), she texted me all the hours, prices, and other details. I gave her a tour of the admin side of the site and taught her some high-level concepts. That evening, I copy/pasted in what I could. I even gave her some small “homework” assignments for content I needed and to make sure she can find her way around editing the content. It was, by far, the easiest website I’ve ever set up for anyone. Kate was quick to make decisions and fully understands that a website is never “done” but is instead a “living” business tool.
Part of what made it so easy to work with Kate is her own experience setting up her art website. She used a great tool for it, but it’s pricey and she put a lot of work into it. That’s something she can do, but it’s not her favorite, and she wasn’t looking forward to doing it again.
Kate’s art is also amazing. She’s part way through a commissioned portrait of a horse that is already stunning. I have a hundred-and-one stories from the day (E has heard them all), but a particular art-related one stands out from the rest. An older cowboy came in to pick up some jeans the outgoing owner was tailoring for him. Before he left, he asked about the horse. Kate explained that she’s an artist and it’s her work. He told us that years ago, he had a cutting horse. Through choked back tears, he said, “I get emotional every time I talk about him,” and told us what a great horse he was. He said his granddaughter is an artist and that he should ask her to do a portrait of the horse. Ever a gentleman, he then said he didn’t mean to imply Kate’s work wasn’t great. She didn’t miss a beat and told him not to worry and that the piece would have more meaning to him coming from family. She went on to explain that the horse she’s painting is also a memorial portrait. Watching this old cowboy cry over his favorite horse of all time and watching Kate’s class and grace was incredibly special.
Kate is a gem of a human. Our world needs more people like her.
We rounded out the evening with dinner, and I got to have fish & chips from On The Hook. This network of traveling food trucks is incredible. If you ever see them, get in the (probably long) line. It’s worth the wait.
Day 3 – Rawlins to Everton, WY
After some awful drivers on Day 1, this stretch of I-80 was some of the nicest.
At our lunch break, we saw a six-door, “crew+ cab?” short-bed pickup truck. I wonder if it can truly hold 8 men.
The “show” to go with our dinner was another small storm with hail.
There are two main bars in Everton. One was closed. We ended up at, ironically, Kate’s. It was Ladies’ Night where women get a buy one get one drink. That made for some “interesting” local color. After the Ladies’ Night special ended, everything was far more normal. We finally met some great people. Our bartender, M, was delightful through all the chaos.
Day 4 – Everton, WY to Snowville, UT
We crossed the whole state, well, a corner of it. Our lunch break was perfectly timed at a rest stop where, once again, it hailed on us.
The little campground in Snowville is nestled between some really pretty mountains.
Our next driving day is a bit longer: 5-ish hours, but then we’ll be able to stay put for a couple of days at a time. That will start to feel like vacation.