Travel across Wyoming can be an experience at virtually any time of the year, but to consider beginning the “RV travel season” in the 3rd week of March is a decision anyone would be right to question!
I left Steamboat on March 22. My last day “on snow” was March 21, and given how this season “performed” (warm and dry), all I can do is look forward towards next season – and new trails to explore (more on that in the coming months.)
Leaving Steamboat with temperatures in the mid-50’s, I felt confident Rabbit Ears Pass would be “cake” (it crosses the Continental Divide at 9430 ft) – and it was. But the blue-bird day was slowly clouding over, yet still warm (even in the mid-40’s at the height of the pass!
The plateau to Walden at around 8000 ft. was surprisingly snow free! In fact, last year, this same route in the final days of April featured snow covered roads and temperatures in the low 30’s. Amazing the difference one season can mak
Saratoga Lake was completely deserted! A great camping spot, owned by the town of Saratoga, and they only charge $15/night (including electric). I chose the prime spot and spent 2 nights. After a mild, but increasingly windy afternoon, the weather began to remind that winter is not necessarily over yet! Temperatures fell to the 20’s and some snow began to fall during the evening of the 23rd. Given the forecast of snow showers overnight, I opted to pull in all slideouts as I was intending to move on to Casper on the morning of the 24th and the last thing I wanted to encounter was slides that needed to be swept clean of snow before attempting to close them!
As it turns out, the morning of the 24th arrived overcast and chilly (mid 20’s), with little wind – and no new snow overnight, but the nearby hills WERE covered in a fresh blanket of snow – I’d estimate at elevations as little as 500 ft above town. I decided there was enough time to take a soak in the town’s free hotsprings (my main reason for choosing to stay in Saratoga for 2 days – search my site here for more details about Saratoga and its hot springs), and then “hit the road”.
As I drove north towards Casper, the slate grey horizon began to grow across the entire sky. Temperatures struggled to rise through the 30’s and the winds were strong enough to feel the “push” on my 5er as I traveled the desolate 150 mile stretch.
This is something I’ve grown to appreciate about Wyoming – its sparse population. There actually is 1 town between Saratoga and Casper – its called Medicine Bow, and has a population of 284 (so says the sign as you enter!) Traveling the route I was on, you do not actually pass through town, so I saw no evidence of a commercial district or anything in Medicine Bow. There is something to be said for driving mile after mile without so much as seeing a car pass you in the opposite direction! Open space is NOT a limited commodity here in Wyoming. After 150 miles,
Casper arrives as an oasis in a high desert (close to 6000 ft.) with a population of nearly 60,000.
Despite the dry roads today and “moderate” winds (gusts to 40mph), I was fully cognizant of the fact that I was pulling over 16000 pounds in an area where the conditions can change on a dime. After all, nearly hurricane force winds and severe blizzard conditions are common well into the Spring across much of Wyoming, and realistically, it can snow during any month in the year.
I did take a moment upon arrival to take note of my safe passage and thank the “powers that be” for allowing it to happen. As it turns out, winter weather advisories have been issued for this region for tonight as up to 3 inches of snow is expected to fall! Certainly travel tomorrow if I had to pull my 5er would be very different!
As it is, tomorrow is my official start day for my career in RV sales! So, tomorrow, I will be getting “up to speed” as this weekend hails the beginning of the season – kicked off by a big “RV show” here in Casper. If you missed my “big personal announcement”, please click HERE to see what I’m up to!
My upcoming adventures will center in two areas – what I learn as an “insider” in the RV industry, and where I travel and explore in Wyoming as I expect to be leaving my 5er stationary for the next several months.