We left the parking garage at the Mt. Rushmore memorial around 2:30 in the afternoon and had miles to drive to get to our rental cabin in Wyoming. I had promised to call and let the people at the inn know when we would be arriving, so I called them and told them where we were. We had a long drive ahead of us — 385 miles, according to Google maps.
So much for arriving at the cabin before the sun went down. I’m not averse to driving at night, but in a strange area, especially a rural area, I don’t like not being able to see very far ahead because I don’t want to miss my turn and spend time turning around and trying to find roads. But I had no option now, unless I wanted to forfeit one night’s stay at the cabin and spend more money on a hotel room. We opted to drive. Or rather, I was driving.
We left the Mt. Rushmore memorial and headed back north towards Rapid City. From there, we caught Route 90 which took us northwest, past Deadwood and through Spearfish. We didn’t have time to stop and visit, so we looked at the signs, made mental notes of places we’d like to visit, and kept on rolling.
It wasn’t long before we reached Wyoming, but there was little along the side of the road. A lot of open rangeland, some oil derricks, and scrubby plants. By around six o’clock we’d made it to the Bighorn National Forest, where the road curved up and down and back on itself. The mountains were impressive, but I was so focused on driving and trying to reposition the visor to keep the sun out of my eyes that I had little time for sightseeing.
We went through a town named Ten Sleep, and somewhere along the way we stopped for gas and got roast beef sandwiches from an Arby’s. It was just getting dark. I phoned the inn again and let them know where we were. They seemed to think we were “close.” Well, that’s a relative term. In the east, “close” means ten miles or so. Apparently in the west, anything around 100 miles or less is “close.” We had about 120 miles to go.
After dinner we scanned the atlas again and set out. The roads got confusing and the signs were small and far apart. I had worries about being on the wrong road, but we had very little choice other than to keep pressing ahead or turn back and drive a long way to another intersection. I kept going. We were on some secondary road that only had a number. Well, if it had a name it wasn’t on the signposts, anyway.
It seemed like we were on this road forever, but it was probably just 30-45 minutes. The road was flat with some curves, but rabbits kept darting across the road just at the edge of my headlights. I made a joke that the road was “one way,” since it seemed like all the rabbits were running from the right side of the road to the left side of the road. The rabbits were all pretty far ahead, but then one bounded out onto the road in front of us. I barely saw it in time, but I tried to steer away from it. No luck. Thump!
Eww. Ugh, it’s not nice hitting something with the car. I could only hope the poor rabbit died quickly enough that it didn’t suffer. I kept driving, watching for more rabbits. Eventually we came to an intersection and then met up with Route 120, which took us through Meeteetse and on up to Cody. Our cabin was about 25 miles west of Cody.
I made one last phone call to the cabin’s owners from Cody and let them know we were close. Only about 20 minutes to go. We finally arrived at what would be our home for the next five nights around 9:30 at night. We toured our tiny cabin and unpacked. I think I made a pot of coffee, but we soon passed out after drinking it. So much for caffeine. Bunny-killer Karen was out like a light.