Friday, October 9, 2009

A Small Excursion

Snow and slush from the road froze into this odd starburst formation on the trucks' hubcaps.
J.'s photo
Sand hill cranes and geese. Note the height of the cranes.

Approaching the Wind River Canyon, the mountains lost in snow clouds.

There are a series of three closely spaced tunnels blasted through the rock.

Our destination was a large second hand shop in Thermopolis, Wyoming. Bernie the Cat minds the shop and is bored by the blandishments of customers. Bernie has polydactyl paws, a trait more often seen in cats from the New England area.

This rock chimney stands at the edge of a high rock wall. [There was no hint of blue in the sky--that coloration is the tint on the top of the windshield.]

The Wind River flows through the narrow canyon. Outside the town of Thermopolis the same waterway becomes the Big Horn River.

A railroad track runs along the lower edge of the rock face. The small dark rectangle is the entrance to a tunnel.

Sand hill cranes and Canadian geese forage in a corn field outside Riverton.

The cranes were involved in flapping territorial confrontations.

Canadian geese in the snow covered field.

J. has decided that we should rent the guest cabin as a source of income. It will likely be on short-term lease. It is a rustic cabin and small, but has a kitchenette, bath with shower, a porch that looks out on the pond. It seems that renting it with furniture in place will give us the best options. We combed the storage shed for extra pieces, picked through the high-priced junk in a local second hand barn, and then remembered the shop in Thermopolis where we picked up some decent items several years ago.

It hardly seemed the day for a journey, even the 65 or 70 miles involved. [Trips in the interior west are more often measured in the hours to get there on a good day than by acutal miles.] Morning dawned with dirty grey skies and softly falling snow. J. did some errands and then announced that we needed to be on our way.

The Wind River Canyon is an interesting 14 mile stretch of road on the route to Thermopolis. The highway plunges and swoops between massive rock walls following the curve of the river. On a blue sky day the views are inspiring and there is the chance of seeing big-horned sheep, deer or antelope. Small black ducks swim year round in the swift boulder-strewn waterway. Today on the higher places snow coated the blacktop and clumped icily against the windshield wipers. As we drove into lower levels the snow changed to sleet, rain, then back to sticky flakes and the landscape was a blur of dirty woolen mist.

We stopped for a less than memorable lunch on the edge of town. [Tea made with water barely hot, fried chicken that was cold in the middle!] Later in the day, apparently mulling this, J. announced that eating out isn't always a treat!
We pulled up in front of the second hand emporium, glad to find that it hasn't closed up shop as so many places have recently. I had almost forgotten the cat who rules over the establishment and has the run of the store and its back rooms. The street level has furniture, old sewing machines, crocks, salvaged sinks, an interesting hodge-podge. The lower level has a corner for books, racks of clothing, shelves of china, toasters, crockpots, kitchen oddments.

I spotted an oak end table and claimed it to replace the "shabby-not-so-chic" one in front of our dining room picture window. J. found a nice set of hoop-backed chairs for our dining table, a small base cabinet which he can fit with a top for the cabin, a small desk. Bernie the Cat followed us from one cluster of furniture to another, stalked across a china hutch, bounded down and sat with twitching tail beneath a table when I attempted to make friends. [As J. said, perhaps his personality isn't suited to being chatty with customers all day!]

Our selections made, J. began to load the items into the truck, while I scooted across the street to a quilt shop. I make a quick reconnoiter of the shop--which has recently changed owners--then settled to choose gifts for my co-workers who all have birthdays at the end of the month.
It was a sloggy trip home and when he backed down to the cabin to unload our finds, J. discovered that the slush of the road had spun and frozen into an icy starburst. Coming into our house we were greeted by the cats, with the reminder that it was past their tea time. They sniffed suspiciously at the wet chairs which J. set on the kitchen floor, swished their tails as we wiped off the snow and then turned on the electric kettle.
Darkness came early, snow swirls, silent and unstoppable. The pair of great-horned owls perched briefly in the big cottonwood before floating off through the gloaming, ready to begin their night's hunt. We huddle, caught in this too early winter. This weekend we shall have to sand and paint furniture, give the cabin a final cleaning. I don't relish sharing the dooryard with a stranger, but who knows--maybe he won't be too bad.

Hmmm--wondered where that photo had landed. I am NOT going to mess with removing it at this hour of the night. Given my computer skills the whole post would disappear!


  1. Thank you - I really enjoyed that trip out with you! It's interesting to see the countryside where other folks live/travel, and the wildlife. Mind you, with bends like those and SNOW, even the little that was on the road, folks in this country would divide into two camps - complete idiots (it's no different to any other day so why should I slow down?) or stay-at-home Sams - I can't possibly go to work in this!

    That "ice flower" on the hub was amazing! the Big Horn River just sounds SO American - SO John Wayne and Indians!

    Your 2nd hand emporium sounds rather like the "Junky Antique Shop" we go to on the way to Brecon. Most of it junk, all of it over-priced, and in winter, a place you don't dare to walk around without a coat on. Oh, and no cat, unfriendly or otherwise!

    Renting out the other cabin is probably the best way forward until the housing situation improves and you can get a buyer for it.

  2. Your SIL's photos are amazing ...never knew that about deer but it makes sense.
    As for your excursion and photos ...all I kept saying was OMG. All the shots are breathtaking and the crane one would make a spectacular Christmas card front, for friends who live outside your state.
    The shop must be like an Alladins Cave ...what fun.
    That cat has a certain look in his eyes though .... as if saying 'remember ...this is my home ...enter those who dare'.
    Loved your narrative ...brilliant as usual.
    Take care xx
    Good Luck with the cabin.
    Nearly forgot wow ..that star in the wheel is something else .

  3. Loved the photos! I felt like I went along too! BRRRRRR :)

  4. Blogger was determined to do its own spacing on the photos last night--who am I to argue?
    The starburst of ice is still intact on each truck wheel this morning even though the truck spends the night in the garage.
    There is fresh snow and looks like more to come. I'm never "ready" for winter---but this is too much!

  5. Lovely photographs -- a different place and different weather from ours. The photo of the tunnel , except for the snow, looks exactly like one on Maui. Your last comment about deleting that superfluous photo made me laugh! You're so right! Thanks for visiting my blog.