Cross-Country Road Trip, Day 1: Welcome to Wyoming!

Salt Lake City, Utah, to Green River, Wyoming

Driving time for Day 1: 2 hours and 30 minutes

Wyoming facts:

Population: 544, 270 (50th in the country)

Land Area: 97,100 square miles (9th in the country) (these first two facts explain why we see so few cars on the highway)

Highest Peak: Gannett Peak, 13, 804 feet.

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We reserved a minivan from the rental car company. We got a GMC Yukon XL. This was probably good given the amount of stuff we’d set aside to take with us, but the size of this vehicle was rather shocking to us. My husband doesn’t trust the back-up camera (you know, the one showing you what you’re going to reverse into because you can’t see other cars, stationary objects, or children crouching in the shadow cast by the vehicle?). I’m mostly disappointed we didn’t have a chance to get a giant decal with our family name on it for the side of the truck before we left.

In the short distance between Salt Lake City and Green River, the mountains yielded to hills then buttes and mesas and wide open spaces across which the winds tore. We could see dark thunderclouds and fingers of lightning reaching for the ground in the distance.

My husband and I did this drive in the other direction when we moved from North Carolina to California in 2003, and I remember the deceptive nature of the distances in this part of the country. You see a train crawling along at a place that looks fairly close by, but the train is tiny and it’s clear it must be much further away than it seems.

Saying goodbye to our home was more emotional than I’d banked on. I went back in to do a final run-through and make sure we’d not left anything and that all the windows were closed. I ended up standing in the spot in the dining where I’d given birth to my son in a tub of warm water almost two years ago. Alone in the house, I even tried out one of the guttural noises I made during labor to hear how my voice bounced off of the walls.

Unlike my other moves, I didn’t—and still don’t—feel like I’m leaving our home for good, although I know that I am. I wonder if this is evidence of having put down deeper roots in Utah than I have other places. Maybe I was more present in Utah, which makes it more difficult to believe that I’m leaving.

I’m trying not to be contrary and hate Massachusetts before we get there. Logically, I’m pretty sure I’m going to love it, but right now I’m sad to leave and without a clear mental picture of our destination, I can’t yet yearn for our new home.

I do, however, yearn for a trip to the Sierra Trading Post Outlet in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Both pair of long pants I brought with me for the trip got holes in the left knee within the first day. I’ve got two pair of shorts and a skirt, but I’d like a pants option. And my husband needs new slippers and the outlet is right off the highway about halfway to our Day 2 destination and so would be a great place and time to stop for sandwiches. At least this is what I’m telling my husband to try and convince him to let me buy some pants (and maybe a traveling shirt) on our way across the U.S.

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