I left about 8 AM Monday morning. It was bittersweet because I was kind of liking Rapid City in a way. It’s kind of funny when you travel, many times you’ll make a small area your homebase, maybe for a week or two, or maybe just for a couple nights, but you learn the streets, you learn where to eat out at, you learn where the gas stations are, public transportation, etc. So for a short time, and maybe after being lost a couple times, your brain adjusts, and does its best to help you feel comfortable, and then one day you just get up and leave! Possibly never seeing that area/town/neighborhood again in your life! I think that’s how the world makes its imprint on us, and that’s why traveling is so important. And not just traveling, but being receptive to the environment and culture around us.
Anyway, enough deep talk! I hit the road again, and it was dry, clear, and low traffic. My favorite conditions for driving. Western South Dakota isn’t much different than the rest of the state. It has a dry, flat look, but with the golden grass everywhere, still manages to be less dry looking than Wyoming.
This was the first part of the trip where I would be so far from civilization for so long. I was taking the back roads 99% of the time. I’d be taking Highway 79 in South Dakota down to 18 in Wyoming, then onto I-25 for a short stint through Casper, then 220, and then 287, then 28, then 372, then 189, and then 30 into Utah. Did you get all of that?? There was a large expanse (several hours of driving) with no cell phone coverage. Planning the route suddenly becomes a lot more critical, as actual towns with gas stations become few and far between.
My GPS said there was a gas station at a perfect location. Keep in mind all of my GPS were in offline mode and only using the maps I had downloaded before I left for my trip. The gas station was in a ‘town’ called Jeffrey City, WY. However, I got a feeling I should check out the gas station in Muddy Gap, WY at the 3 Forks Muddy Gap gas station. So, I pulled up into the all dirt gas station. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been at an unpaved gas station! But I fueled up, and it’s a good thing I did. There was basically NOTHING in Jeffrey City, and I would have run out of gas if I tried to keep going. With such little traffic and no cell phone service (I think I saw only a handful of cars in this section of Highway 287), it could have been a very unpleasant day. The drive was pretty uneventful, and even though I didn’t cross any mountain passes, I got up to around 7,000 feet. It’s pretty amazing so much of Wyoming is at such a high elevation. I kind of wondered how many BMW 128i’s had been through this part of the country on these same roads. I don’t think it’s impossible this was the first one.
Coming into Utah was surprisingly exciting! I knew I would be home soon, after such a long journey, and even though I enjoyed the entire trip, and loved seeing those quick snippets of the country, there is something relieving about reaching familiar territory. This is Bear Lake, UT, and although the picture is barely adequate, it is a view I’ve seen many times.
After this, I drove through Garden City, UT, and into Logan Canyon and was home in no time at all. I pulled the small BMW in the driveway to meet its new stablemates. Red, white, and blue do kind of go well together.
According to my odometer I covered 2,943 miles in 4 days. Definitely a new record for me, and overall the car was a pleasure to drive. I unloaded the nearly endless amounts of crap out of the car, gave her a wash, and went to grab a couple pictures of the new arrival. I’m excited to get the paint to a better condition so it will pop a little more. That Florida sun is deadly to cars, but fortunately it still looks pretty good.