Dino Trip 2003 - Casper to Thermopolis, Wyoming

The route from Casper to Thermopolis was US-20 west. The highway turns north at Shoshoni.

US-20 also runs through Sioux City, Iowa. Dick once worked for a company on US-20 in Sudbury, Massachusetts, where it is also called the Boston Post Road.

One twelve-mile section was construction all the way to the roadbed - the pavement was gone and the speed limit was 25 MPH. At the far end there was a sign for eastbound traffic - if lights are flashing, turn around and go back to Shoshoni - US-20 is closed!

The Waltman Rest Area was a welcome break on the leg from Casper to Shoshoni.

20030626-2099-Waltman-Rest-Area (48K)

Mama Sage - enlarged

Mama Sage - It is not coincidence that Wyoming supports over two-thirds of the world's population of pronghorn antelope and sage grouse.  The only vast expanses of sagebrush-grassland habitat left on the North American continent are found in Wyoming, Nevada, and Montana. Pronghorn antelope and sage grouse require these extensive, uninteruupted native habitats to roam freely between summer and winter range. Sagebrush provides the major food source for these species, especially in winter when snow covers most other vegetation. // Our state's sagebrush habitat also supports other unique life forms. The golden eagle, sage thrasher, cottontail rabbit, horned lark, sage lizard and western jumping mouse are just a few of the over 150 species of wildlife commonly found associated with sagebrush. // Wildlife agencies and state and federal land managers work with people using land and its many resources to maintain these native habitats and free-ranging wildlife populations -- so you and future generations can always enjoy 'Mama Sage' and her wildlife. // While at first glance the sagebrush community takes on the appearance of 'wasteland', it is an integral part of that magic formula which makes Wyoming a wildlife paradise.

Bridger Road - Waltman Crossing, from the trail days - enlarged

Bridger Road - Waltman Crossing // Here the present-day highway crosses what remains of an all-but-forgotten road. That road led to the remote goldfields of western Montana, booming since 1862. // The government, in 1859, ordered Captain W.F. Raynolds, Topographical Engineers, U.S. Army, to reconnoiter Rocky Mountain topography and potential routes leading to areas of indicated mineralization. Old Jim Bridger, noted explorer since the fur trade days, was Raynolds' guide. In 1864 official energy was still concentrated on the Civil War and that most famous of mountain men laid out this road himself. // The Oregon Trail was the trunk line of the western roads. Although Montana's mines lay far north of its course, further west --- in Idaho --- a branch-road turned off to those diggings. But that right-angle-turn added some 200 time-consuming, exhausting miles to the shortest feasible roadway. During 1863, John Bozeman had pioneered a road, east of th Big Horn Mountains and up the Yellowstone Valley, cutting across the angle and saving two weeks travel time. Still, by crossing Indian hunting grounds, his road increased the hazard of overland freight and travel. // Bridger's route --- west of the Big Horns --- reduced danger from Indian attacks while saving ten days time. But the Bridger Road was a compromise. It was never as well known as either of its alternatives. Later, it was important in the settlement of northwestern Wyoming. //

There were no cars at Patti's, even with breakfast served all day. She also sold minnows, leeches, and worms. No wonder the place is for sale!

20030626-2106-Pattis-Biscuits-and-Gravy (58K)

After our difficulties finding a room in Laramie, Dick called ahead and reserved a room at the Super 8 - Hots Springs (county).

We were going to take a swim in their indoor pool and soak in the hot tub, but three kids were playing in mountains of bubbles in the hot tub and we lost interest.

20030626-2111-Thermopolis-Super-8 (54K)

This mural is over the entrance to the Super 8 - Hot Springs (county).

20030626-2112-Super-8-Mural (61K)

Copyright (C) 2003 by Dick Hodgman.
If you would like a large format copy of an image, contact Dick through http://www.hodgman.org/contact/

Last modified on 2003 July 18

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