En Route to Idaho — Day 4 : North Platte, Nebraska – Rock Springs, Wyoming
It was very rewarding to jump in the car at 7:28AM with ambient temperature at 7ºF /-14ºc & embark on another spectacular drive. First the sun rose in our backs as we left Nebraska & then huge gorgeous clear skies welcomed us into Wyoming.
Shortly after our gas-&-trucker-materials pit-stop, we made a further stop at a look-out to catch the views. We were surprised to meet up with a very famous tree that grows out of a boulder of pre-historic rock. The Tree Rock is located right between Cheyenne and Laramie plumb in the middle of Interstate 80, literally hugged between its east- and west-going lanes.
The tree grows out of a crack in a pre-Cambrian pink Sherman granite boulder formed anywhere from 1-4 billion years ago. (The granite that is, the tree is somewhat younger, but that species of pine can live as long as 2,000 years.)
As read on one of the The Tree Rock —a.k.a “the lone tree”— tourist-info tablets, the transcontinental railroad tracks of the Union Pacific Railroad lie a short distance to the west, as lies the Ames Monument, erected to commemorate the highest point of the railroad’s route honor the Ames brothers. I remembered very well that Augustus Saint-Gaudens had chiseled the bas-reliefs —from Quincy, Massachusetts, granite! — & architect H. H. Richardson designed the pyramid (as well as the Albany City Hall!) I have worked on several project on Augustus Saint Gaudens & even though this is not my favorite work of his, I was delighted to find his work here, since I have seen almost all ASG public works.
We continued our journey towards Rock Spring thru more beautiful landscapes where the speed limit went up to 80 miles p/h! I will never forget the golden pale yellows of the endless prairies illuminating the snow, the light blue sky & the pinkish granite boulders.
Our picnic at the Ames monument was a little less fancy today —since we are starting to run out of provisions— but was still nourishing: hummus, bread, cheese, apples & nuts. Tonight we went out to dinner at a local restaurant (attracted at first by the name, The Coyote Creek Steakhouse) where Pierre had a decent sirloin, turned down all five of the offered potato-versions, settling for green beans while & I had a bison burger — sans buns but with more green beans.
Today we also passed the 2000 miles marker. One more day on the road before Boise. Tomorrow through Pocatello to give a thought to Pierre’s old friend Ed Dorn & on to Blackfoot to visit the potato museum.