Below…Zero?!? Part 5

[Our non-RV road trip in the dead of winter continues… To catch you up, we’d left southern California in January to drive our Jeep to South Dakota to trade it for a new one we’d ordered. At this point in our story, we’ve made the Jeep swap and are leaving Rapid City to head south.]

Our early start gave us stunning pastel views of the winter sunrise:


Clear skies hinted at a good drive…


…and we not only saw Pronghorn, but I was even able to grab an image as we passed them:


Despite blue skies, we hadn’t escaped tricky driving conditions. Wyoming warned us of high winds:


The sign reads, “Advise no light trailers Wheatland to Cheyenne – Gusts 60+ MPH”! Yet again we were glad we weren’t in our RV (of course, we wouldn’t have traveled that day if we had been).

We couldn’t help noticing this school bus out and about — next to another warning sign that says “Slick spots – Blowing Snow”! They had school that day?!?


What better lunch on a day like this than some hot chili? Advertisements along the highway told us Chugwater, Wyoming, was home to some famous chili, so, we took that exit…


…found the Chugwater Soda Fountain…


…Wyoming’s longest, continuously operating business, starting as a pharmacy in the 1800s…


…and –although no longer a pharmacy — still serving as a general store for the most important items out here in the fringes of nowhere…


…plus some non-essential items like tee shirts. Though I thought the chili was a little over-rated…


…it was a nice place to take a break from the road, and a meeting we couldn’t seen in a back room, filled with laughter and chatter, told us there was more to this town than the soda fountain and an otherwise bleak-looking main street:


Good thing we got our bellies full! We soon came across those patches of blowing snow and icy pavement…


…then we hit rush hour in Denver, where we endured 90 minutes of stop and go traffic.


Time to get off the road for the night!

[What started as a brief post about our winter adventure has turned into a long and winding tale… which will continue and maybe conclude next time!]

About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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2 Responses to Below…Zero?!? Part 5

  1. Wonder how Chugwater got its name? Somebody wander to that location way back when, dry and parched, only to find a life-sustaining spring and commence to chug away? Sounds good to me. 🙂
    Too bad I wasn’t there to fix you a bowl of my award-winning chili called, “3 Meats, 3 Beans, and lots of other tasty things.” Grand Prize one year; tops in its category the next. Not to brag or anything. 😉

    Keep on chugging through the slush and snow you two, and as always,

    • Ellen says:

      Your chili sounds great, Mike! And despite the menu having a lot of info about the stuffed head over the cash register, I don’t recall anything that explained the town’s name. We would have asked, but the young gal serving us wasn’t very outgoing. Something we’ve noticed on the road lately is how detached people seem to be from their work, especially food service workers, retail clerks, and those in similar jobs. Maybe it has to do with being underpaid and overworked, of daydreaming about getting something better if it should come along (although in this town…. not much hope of that)…. but I digress! So your theory on the town’s name is as good as any!

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