So today was officially one month on the road! I'm a little behind with the "days" count because I didn't blog a few days when I visited Dan.
On my way up to the Tetons/Yellowstone I stopped at Colorado State University, where my dad got his undergraduate degree in Chemistry. I'm interested in their MFA program so I decided to see if the art department building was open to peek around. Better yet - the graduate secretary Kathy was there and gave me a tour! It was awesome (thank you Kathy!) Great facilities and program...really cool to see what a larger state school con provide in comparison to a small private school (although I love my small private Xavier). Fort Collins is a really neat city too, only about an hour away from RMNP.
After my stint at CSU I was running a little short on time - I had wanted to paint in the Wind River area as Bierstadt did a couple paintings there. But, I remembered the route from our TransAmerica bicycle trail (I drove about "four days" of it today!) and there isn't much there. It's scenic, but very primitive. I noticed several wilderness areas as I drove by to get a bit farther off the main road but there really is only one mains road going through the area, and it isn't near the mountains Bierstadt painted. So I decided to drive on and get to my overnight in Dubois.
It really was a day of nostalgia. Driving the same route we rode two years ago brought back a flood of memories. I was leaving Rawlins, WY and called my sister, almost crying with laughter, remembering leaving the city and tipping over on my bike and getting super pissy about it. I stopped at Muddy Gap where we had a very remote overnight in a mobile home turned motel behind a gas station. I saw Annalope's cafe, where we stopped for lunch (now closed) and intercepted a call from Dan who was in Afghanistan at the time. And, I saw several paintings I did of the area for my undergraduate thesis...the exact spots were familiar to me as I had studied the photos intensely.
I arrived at Black Bear Inn where we stayed two years ago and was welcomed by owner Liz! She has amazing energy and positivity, and it the kind of person who makes you feel like you've known each other for years. It was really nice to see a familiar face. I did laundry at a laundromat with a giant skull thing over the doorway (didn't get a picture but my mom did our laundry here!)
Tomorrow is into the Tetons, still following our TransAm route. Woo!
|Is the sky bigger out here?|
|Muddy Gap! We slept in a room of this mobile home two years ago on our bike ride.|
|Wind River Range (I think)|
|Wind River - colorful mountains.|
|Wind River Country by Albert Bierstadt|
|Wind River, Wyoming by Albert Bierstadt|
|Black Bear Inn - adorable.|