As we spent the day venturing across Wyoming, the scenery was pretty spectacular. The landscape went from flat plain to forest and mountains back to plains. And finally back to forest and hills again in Yellowstone.
One of the really interesting places Rt. 14 led us through was Big Horn National Forest. At one point in particular there was a series of switchbacks leading us along the sides of mountains and past plenty of "watch for falling rock" signs. Speed limits of 25-30 mph, 15 around the bends and if the car veered even a little, there wasn't much edge to keep you on the road. It was hard to admire it all from the car, especially since I was driving, so we pulled over at one overlook to admire some of the hidden gems of America.
Down in the Valley
Looking at a list of state run campgrounds and finding their locations on Google maps (regular view) totally doesn't prepare you for what these campgrounds are. My assumption was that after we left Yosemite and began the drive down towards Death Valley that the numerous campgrounds along the way were all going to be in the woods/mountains and all cute. Well, I was wrong. Almost immediately upon exiting Yosemite the terrain on the East side of the Sierra Nevada Mountains is rough and barren. It's as if the plains and the desert had a baby. The first campground we came to was completely empty. We couldn't even find the real entrance, or we did and there just wasn't distinctive camp sites. Or people. It was creepy.
Alas the next one we arrived at had people at it but it was one of those things I have only imagined in books. The highway is completely surrounded by rough land with mountains running along the sides a mile or two away. The color palette here is tan, sand and sage. And as your driving through all this barren land you come across a patch of bright green about half a mile off the road. That's the campground. There's a little creek and about 15 trees, no running water...a permanent outhouse is affixed and the wind makes sure you know where it is. It was so strange being there. I'm not skilled enough at describing things to explain it, but it was like walking into a movie or something. It was primitive, yes, but there was something else about it.
When I went on vacation with my family back in 2001 to the Southwest United States, Four Corners was amongst the many sights we saw. But because it is so iconic, and its remote location wasn't out of our way at all, I felt it was important for Molly to "be in four places at once." The four states that make up Four Corners are Colorado, Utah, Arizona and New Mexico. The monument is not very big but very American with state seals and flags marking each state's corner. It is about a quarter mile off the road, and besides getting your picture taken and browsing the souvenir stands run by the Navajo Nation, there isn't much else to do. So it was a quick stop for us and once again, we were on the road again.