Road Trip Day 2: The Great Wyoming Whiteout and Finding Jessie
So I was really hoping that my friend El Guapo was wrong when he warned me of “cold weather” on this trip.
We departed Cheyenne per our usual hour-after-we’d-planned, or after I find good coffee (whichever comes first). This turned out to be a good thing because of the road conditions, the treacherous nature of which I would soon discover. Before we left, a really nice stranger brushed all the snow off our rented Camry in the La Quinta Inn parking lot — quite a few inches had accumulated overnight, which should’ve been a clue as to what lie ahead. As we made our way toward I-25 North there were continuing flurries, so I expected we’d get into Scottsbluff a little late.
What I didn’t expect was that the view would look like this through the entire expanse of Wyoming:
Ninety-four terrifying minutes of prayers. That we would not be swallowed up. Spun off the road. Sucked under a semi. (If you look closely you can see my knuckles gripping the steering wheel there in the lower left).
I wondered how many days our food and water would last if we rolled into a ditch and remained undiscovered until Spring. I wondered if our rental car broke down, did I have it in me to cut open one of the quickly-whitening roadside cows for the three of us to climb inside and stay warm until help arrived? I wondered if I’d given anyone my WordPress password to let readers know of the grim road trip outcome. These were the affairs that occupied my mind as I navigated through the most blinding weather I’ve ever driven in.
And then we reached Nebraska!
The snow thinned and stopped as we descended upon the golden winter farmlands and sandstone bluffs of the area. The light was gorgeous but I didn’t stop to take a picture because part of me was scared that the storm was following us and would eventually catch up, find a way into the car, and kill me. Like the Smoke Monster on Lost. So, we kept driving all the way to Jessie’s new home.
We discovered Jessie’s assisted living residence situated between the graveyard and the hospital. Hmmm. Right turn or left? I guess Nebraskans are nothing if not practical.
We entered the building through the front door and asked for Jessie.
“Oh, she’s on the graveyard side, right through there!” Hmm.
As Isabella and I turned the corner toward Jessie’s apartment, I saw that she was walking down the hall toward us. She looked up, saw us, and just froze — later admitting that she thought she’d seen an apparition, but then remembered we are the only two tall girls in her life, so we must be real. And from there, it was all smiles and hugs. She was so happy to see us and said it was the biggest surprise of her life, which is really saying something considering the number of years she’s lived (rhymes with shmindey ticks.)
Here is the best picture we snapped of Jessie. Isn’t she fantastic? Unfortunately, I am also in the photo and my eyes were closed and I’m too vain to post an unflattering picture of myself so I took the liberty of enhancing it, using my sophisticated editing software, into a more naturalistic image.
And that wraps up Day 2, which also covers Day 3, because there’s not much going on in Scottbluff, Nebraska. Next post: spending time with the elderly and a long drive home. Thanks for reading.