** This post has been imported from Raga’s old travel blog.
This trip was totally unexpected. I had to visit a customer (Boulder, CO) that was evaluating our software. I got on a call in the morning, packed my bags in the next hour and was on my way to Boulder in the afternoon, that too on my birthday! Well, I spent my birthday in the flight and rental car. Anyways, the following weekend was a long weekend and it did not make much sense to go back home and return during the long weekend frenzy. So I decided to stay back at Boulder and explore the nearby places.
Wyoming is 60 miles north of Boulder. I have always wanted to drive through Wyoming after hearing about the Wyoming country side beauty from my friends. I opened google maps and made a list of random destinations that isn’t too far from where I was staying. Finally, I narrowed down to Elk Mountain, 176 miles North West of Boulder. I started around 2’0 clock in the afternoon towards the infamous mountain. The drive was very pleasant and there wasn’t much traffic once I entered Wyoming. The road was pretty straight and I could see miles of road ahead of me. Mind you, don’t eat a heavy lunch start driving on these roads; you are bound to fall asleep. However, if you are a nature lover and of course love driving, you will enjoy this drive more than anything. The weather was perfect, and it was drizzling a bit. I love music and I love to travel. To get the best of both worlds, I played my favorite songs in the car and headed towards my destination. There were so many barns along the highway and so many unpaved country side roads that lead to small towns. I saw herds of horses and cows and this reminded me of good old Kansas where I went to graduate school.
On my way, I stopped few times to capture the amazing beauty of nature. After making few such stops, I took the exit towards Elk Mountain and what I see? Miles of unpaved roads to reach my destination! I have never driven on these muddy, gravel roads and I was so skeptical about Subaru handling these roads. However, to my surprise, the car did pretty well and finally I reached my destination. The view of the mountain was fantastic and it had all the characteristics of the Rocky Mountains that are famous in Colorado. The mountain looked mighty tall and I would call it picture perfect. Any artist would immediately fall in love with this place.
I was so hungry and I saw one restaurant in this calm town. I checked inside and a friendly lady welcomed me with a big smile. However, she did tell me that they do not open until dinner and gave me some local maps if I wanted to explore the area. She also warned me that Wyoming is a very lonely place and if I get lost, nobody will be around to ask any directions and it might take days together to find the way out. I smiled to myself and thanked her for the advice. Since I was hungry, she pointed me to a café (yes, café) few blocks from her restaurant. A very funny thing happened at the café. The moment I entered the café, the people inside looked at me as if I were from another planet! The guys were wearing the typical cowboy hats and they were giving me this weird look. I sat at a table and looked at the menu, and found nothing vegetarian. In the next table, one of the hat guy said to the other guy, “I killed that deer in a single shot” and at that moment, I decided to make an exit from there.
The unfortunate thing was, visitors were not allowed to drive up to the mountain and apparently some guy owns this mountain (interesting). I really liked driving on the unpaved roads and decided to explore a bit more in that area. I drove few miles and the entire area looked like a typical zombie place in English movies. And yes, I never spotted an Elk during this trip!
The sun was setting and I decided to head back home. On my way back, I spotted an exit towards the famous route 66 and it was really worth driving on this road! It was so picturesque with corn fields on both the sides and the daunting Rocky Mountains ahead. No expensive camera can capture these moments and the two little natural cameras (call them eyes) can never delete these moments from the storage disk (call it mind).