From our motel in Rawlins, the morning is bright and clear. Day 8. It’s all new landscape. It’s a giant blue sky, treeless hills, wild Wyoming. We decide to walk next door to Cappy’s for breakfast and Bob is in love with the morning light. “This is so beautiful,” he says. “I’m gonna get a few frames before we leave.”
Even a train in the far distance looks special and toylike. Bob’s enthusiasm is contagious.
Cappy’s isn’t open for breakfast, but the too full Best Western a few doors down has a restaurant and we grab some grub there.
Then we’re back on the road. Interstate highway again. It seems wise to make some miles, and there aren’t a lot of towns. And the terrain becomes the superstar.
I wish we had thought to bring a geologist or a geographer with us, someone to give us all the right terms for the rock formations and different sorts of hills and mountains. Which is a butte? and is that a mesa? and why are these rocks so red and sort of bubbly? What makes these stacks and formations like fingers that point skyward? How did these rocks that look like curtains along the top get that way?
Western Wyoming is stark and deserted. The Red Desert. There’s even an exit for Red Desert that Brian Butko suggested we stop at to see an abandoned cafe. As we approached we saw the ADULT store on the south side of 80, and a pile of rubble that must have once been the abandoned cafe on the north side of the road. The rubble had a big NO TRESPASSING sign in front of it. We didn’t stop.
Bob had been to Rock Springs once before on another shoot, although he really can’t remember what the story was that brought him here back when he was doing lighting and grip work, maybe audio. It was more than 10 years ago he figures, and he has no memory of the arch that has become a landmark for the town. We leave the interstate to get a shot or two. See if a story happens.
It’s a quick stop, and then we’re on toward Green River. We get discombobulated coming into town, making a wrong turn sending us southbound on the other side of the railroad tracks. We see a state information center, and Jarrett says, “Should we stop and ask?” and I say “Yes.” The Info Center is Closed for Lunch however. But there’s a map of the area on display outside the door, and I figure out where we should be, meaning that we have to backtrack just a bit. But it’s lunchtime, and we’re in a town, so we decide to find a place.
Mi Casita is on the left at 36 East Flaming Gorge Way, and we think it looks promising. It’s been several days since we’ve had Mexican, and this turns out to be a wise choice. There’s a big table with Mexican construction workers having their midday break (a good sign), and we get a booth. Chicken enchiladas for Bob, tamales for Jarrett, and chili colorado for me. Good food. The salsa is thin, watery, but delicious, with lots of cilantro. We are happy.
Just out of Green River, heading west, I have to do a U-turn (we make a lot of U-turns) to get on the old Lincoln Highway rather than Interstate 80. It’s not marked as Route 30 here. The sign says SERVICE ROAD and JAMESTOWN. We turn on there, and pull over to the right almost immediately. It’s a stunning piece of highway — or “service road” rather — that goes alongside the rock formation called the Pallisades, and it’s beautiful. Butko took a picture here and put it on the cover of his book.
We stop to get lots of pictures. Jarrett and I try to make a simple one-shot video postcard of the Green River and the view. And I get a call from Ken Dykes at PBS to say that folks at PBS Online are reading this blog too. Good. PBS and CPB made this all possible by funding the project, and we owe them everything. That obviously means Viewers and Blog-Readers Like You too. Thank You!