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:

also 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.

me and jessie

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.

20 thoughts on “Road Trip Day 2: The Great Wyoming Whiteout and Finding Jessie

  1. The second picture of the whiteout conditions: inspired! It’s about as close to sensory deprivation as you can get without dying. Stay safe driving home!

  2. I think I’m going to ask you to do any photoshop I need in the future, since you do such “great eyes”!! Wyoming looks lovely, even though as an east-coaster, I’ve had it with snow here! 🙂

    • Actually Particia, I think I’ve invented a new camera app, or tool. I mean, there’s something for “red eye,” so why not “closed eye” — a little window will pop up with a selection of eye positions and colors. Drag & drop over the closed eyes and bada-bing! A much improved photo! Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  3. I’m glad to hear you arrived safely after having to drive in such bad weather. With respect to your eyes in the photo of you with your beautiful great-grandmama; you could always say your eyes are simply reflecting the hair-raising nature of those road conditions…

  4. Can you Photoshop my wrinkles? I want to look like Ingrid Bergman.
    The “white out” is so subtle that I almost e-mailed you to inform you of your omission.

    • I can give it a try. I’ll just need a photos of you from a few years ago that I can start grafting from, without telling you exactly what the results will be (I can’t give away too much of my industry secrets)

  5. Dear Laura,

    Hello! Spoilers? Now I totally know about the Smoke Monster in “Lost.” Guess I won’t be binge-watching that show this summer. 😉

    Your post – lovely, hilarious and well-written, as always – explains why I seem to prefer non-fiction to fiction, these days. Truth is certainly stranger and less believable. I love, love, love that the ALS is between the hospital and graveyard. Is the funeral home across the street? So funny.

    As far as the photo goes, I’m relieved to find out that it was retouched. It was so convincing, for a moment, I feared you had Graves disease. I also thought that you were checking out Jessie’s cleavage and that was disconcerting. You need to find someone your own age.

    Be careful on your drive back! That polar vortex is one PMSing b**ch.



    • Ha! Checking out Jessie’s cleavage… good one.

      Please, don’t not watch Lost on my account — it’s some good freaking binge TV! Well, until Season 4 when it gets a little … lost… then back on track for 6.

      Thanks MSP for stopping by and for your encouraging thoughts and laughs at just the right moments 😉 I will get back on my blog reading game soon… this year has been so busy so far that I just can’t believe it’s already March. EEEeee!

      • Tell me about it. At the speed time is whizzing by, I’ll be 85 years old by dinner time. It’s hard enough just writing and publishing a blog. Keeping up with the reading is a full-time job that no one has the time for. No worries. xo MSP

    • Mike! I guess you’ll find out whether I am still alive and/or in possession of all my limbs and teeth (and eyeballs) in the dramatic road trip conclusion which is being written now (two weeks late). Great to see you here!

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