Dick finished up his conference in a fine mood. I was watching the forecast because a storm was coming in. The weatherman said snow would start 11:00am Friday morning. It would end before midnight followed by some wind. Dick was finished at 12:30pm. I decided to pass the time by making fresh bread and preparing a nice dinner. Our plan was to leave the next morning. Men plan, God laughs. He had a good chuckle that day. Promptly at 11:00am the snow started. By the time I went to pick up Dick the roads were icy and a real mess even in town.
A young man, a student, attending the conference caught a lift with us to our end of town where he was supposed to catch a Greyhound bus to Denver. To save money the student had been staying in a tent in the same campground as us so we were giving him lifts back and forth. Due to the imminent wet snow he had taken his tent down and packed everything into his back pack. Now his bus was delayed and he literally had everything he owned on his back. So we had a guest for dinner.
We monitored the continuing deterioration of the highways by the progress of his bus. Finally, we headed over to the bus station and dropped him off at 7:44pm. Just before I went to sleep the highways map showed conditions so dangerous that sections of the highway were now closed.
We are near the interstate and I was awoken about 1:00am by a weird quiet. I peeked out the window and saw rows and rows and rows of semis on the side of the highway. A check of the map showed everything was red, closed, for miles in all directions. The back end of the cold front moved past shortly afterward with intense rocking winds that made our trailer sway alarmingly.
We woke up ready to get on the road. We had a nice breakfast, showered and packed everything up. The map said the highways would open between 10:30am and 12:30pm. Due to the cold meaning the furnace ran a lot overnight, we had an empty propane tank. We decided to head into the town and get that filled before we left. While we were doing that, we ended up talking to several of the locals about the road conditions. Everyone said we should not head out as soon as the highways opened. One man in particular was adamant. The roads might open at 10:30am as we hoped but there was no way the highway would be safe for us pulling a trailer. He strongly advised us to wait a day.
We had some time to kill so we left the store and took the dogs for one last romp at the dog park. In the dog park we got the same advice. Wait. On our way back to the campground we could see lines and lines and line of semis. Every back street, parking lot and empty space had a semi parked there. Among the semis were a few recreational vehicles, buses with passengers and weaving in and out with flashing lights, highway patrol. We looked at the highways map one more time and it said the road was open going west, closed going east and in several places there were high winds with an extreme rollover danger. Semis began pulling out of Laramie to head west in long lines. I went and paid for another night instead.
I have always made it a policy to follow the advice of the locals. If they say something is dangerous, I assume they are right and I listen. We had a nice quiet day of fixing items and relaxing and watching TV. About 5:00pm, I checked the highways map again. A huge exclamation mark brought up a message saying a vehicle had been blown over and caused a multi-car pile up and the highway was now closed to west bound traffic. That could have been us. I am so glad we stayed put. The highways map now shows almost all green. A few spots are orange and there are only two black ice warnings. Hopefully, we’ll get up and find the highway all green and be on our way early in the morning. If not, well there are worse things than spending another say in a safe campground with full services, good WIFI and cable.