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Heartwarming Small-Town Romances and Thrilling Mysteries

Hubby is back home with me. Once again, our well-planned journey didn’t turn out like it was supposed to, but we are getting used to making up things as we go.

I flew to Rapid City after getting to the Boise airport an hour too early and almost missing the connection in Denver (long story for another time). Having arrived safety in Rapid, we didn’t slow down much over the next several days. We met friends in Spearfish (we arrived late because Hubby didn’t put the right time on his calendar) and traveled to Pierre to eat lunch with his classmates and visit Zesto, our favorite ice cream place, one last time for the year. Hubby worked a few more days on the Mickelson Trail while I traveled to Spearfish to take friends to lunch, and take my mother-in-law to lunch another day.

Zesto Ice Cream
Zesto, our favorite ice cream place, Pierre, SD

During all this running around, we were watching the weather. A nasty winter storm blew into the northern states and ruined our planned route home over the mountains. We stayed an extra day to see if the snow missed Togwotee Pass, east of Jackson, Wyoming. We spent the day in Spearfish, touring houses. When done with that, we went for Mexican food which caused us more problems. Hubby, while backing into a parking place, hit a post hidden in the bushes and damaged the bumper and quarter panel of his pickup. To his defense, the post was not visible and it was the only parking place available. Now we know why.

The next morning, Togwotee was worse, with snow and ice. Not a good place for a big motorhome. We had to use the southern route to get home. When we got to Casper, Wyoming, the wind was blowing hard, with 60 mph gusts. Again, no place for a big motorhome. The campgrounds were full of other RV travelers who beat us there so we ended up doing MY kind of camping: in a hotel. The wind died down during the night, making it safe to proceed by morning’s light.

Wyoming highway
Heading south out of Casper, almost to Independence Rock and Devil’s Gate.

A scary thing happened not far outside of Casper. I followed Hubby, driving the pickup behind our motorhome. As he was passing a semi, he saw a large metallic pipe (looked like a headframe for a head) in the road. It was in the middle of his lane and other than running off the road, he couldn’t avoid it. That pipe banged under the motorhome and came shooting out from under it like a spear shot from a canon. It flew between the back of the semi and the front of our pickup. If I’d been following any closer, it would have come through our windshield and done a lot of damage. Seeing the height and speed of its flight, it probably would have taken me out had I been slightly faster/closer. The incident shook us both up. That example is yet another reason to never tailgate: you never know what might come flying out at you.

In Evanston, Wyoming, Hubby got to see the large steam engine he’s been wanting to see for a long, long time. Big Boy. It was parked on the tracks with only a small crowd around. We could right next to it. It’s appropriately named. The wheels on it were as tall as I am. An elderly man in a wheelchair was brought close to the engine by friends. Turned out he used to be the engineer on Big Boy back in the day. He and the current engineer had their picture made and traded stories. It was like seeing history meet the present.

Big Boy steam engine
Big Boy steam engine, largest steam engine ever built
Big Boy steam engine
The wheels were at least five feet in diameter

After another night of doing my kind of camping, we finally made it home. We have two damaged vehicles (the pipe took out one of the muffler pipes of the motorhome), but all can be repaired with enough money. I’m happy to be home, but almost afraid to go anywhere else. All this stuff must be a sign to stay home!

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