We had our morning lattes with breakfast while finishing up packing. After saying our goodbyes to AJ and Liz, we began to continue our westward drive. Saying goodbye is always sad… but we would be seeing them again in two months on our way back home. Our plan was to drive to Vedauwoo, Wyoming, spend the night in the camping area, wake up, do a quick climb, get an oil change for the car in Laramie (have to keep her running well!), then continue on towards Yosemite.
We made one extra stop along the way. We realized we needed a new National Parks pass BEFORE we made to Yosemite, since we would need it for our camping in Vedauwoo. We stopped at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Visitor Center in Omaha, Nebraska, to get the pass since it was right off I-80. We continued driving with stops for gas and food along the way, and arrived in Vedauwoo around 9:30 PM Mountain Time. We configured the car for sleeping mode, and settled in for the night, breathing in the crisp air as we drifted off to sleep.
Friday morning, after a cleaning up the car and having a quick breakfast, we headed to the parking area in Vedauwoo from which we would make a short hike to the base of Edward’s Crack (5.7). We have stopped in Vedauwoo on several trips West, spending several days there on Western Extravaganza 2, so it has that very familiar, old friend feeling to it.
Despite waking up and commenting that he was noticing the elevation change (Vedauwoo sits at over 8,000 feet above sea level), Dave cruised right up the crack, smoothly jamming hand over hand, foot over foot as he went. Alex, who woke up feeling fine, quickly hit a wall on the climb and had to slow down her climbing pace. Maybe it was the elevation, maybe it was dehydration, maybe it was being in the car for 24+ hours, more than likely it was a combination of all of these things. Dave usually does well going from a long drive in a car to activity quite well, whereas this feeling was not new to Alex. Food, water, and some stretching and moving is what she needed.
We quickly found ourselves beginning to making our way back to the ground via three short rappels. As Alex waited for Dave to make his way to the end of the first rappel she heard his grunt of discontent. Uh-oh… what’s wrong? Nothing serious from the tone of his grunt, but definitely discontentment… The answer came quickly; the rope had landed right in a big puddle. Wet ropes are NOT something climbers like to deal with.
After making our way back to the car, giddy with excitement that we were outside, moving, and climbing again, we prepared to hit the road again. Yes, we were surrounded by lots of rocks to climb… but Yosemite was calling!
We stopped in the next town, Laramie, to pick up some food supplies and get the oil changed in the car. By the time we hit the road again it was nearly 11:30 AM. We continued driving with no major stops along the way… Wyoming turned in Utah… Utah turned into Nevada. Utah gave us salt flats to be intrigued by… and then bored by. Nevada gave us 130 miles of roads with no gas stations. Humboldt National Forest was a beautiful area and an enjoyable drive, despite all the large furry rabbits that kept darting in front of us and night began to fall. Finally, around 9:30 PM we pulled into a rest area outside of Warm Springs, NV, to sleep for the night.
No… that’s not snow… It’s salt flats!
The only real excitement of the day’s drive occurred after stopping in the first town after miles of endless, barren, deserts, with 75 mph speeds. We drove past a sheriff on the edge of town, and Dave immediately knew he was going a wee bit too fast…. And I do mean just a few miles per hour too fast. Lights came on and we pulled over. The sheriff was very friendly, and chatted with us briefly before calling in to run our info. We had a giggly moment when he asked us “Do you have any farms with you?” We were perplexed, and he noticed. “Do you have any FIRE-arms in the car… like guns?” OOOH! None of those! After verifying that we were not convicted criminals on the run, he let us go with a warning to slow down and watch out for elk.