Friday, March 29, 2013

WANTED - Dead or Alive

Ok, so maybe that's a bit exaggerated but....

Techno-genius, loving a good driving adventure, had planned a journey around a nearby mountain to precede our date at the Vee Bar Ranch.  He had pain-stakingly mapped out a route using a custom mapping program in addition to our GPS to ensure we'd not get lost and in fact make it -- on time -- to our dining reservation.

Out the door and on our way, first we headed down a cut-a-cross road not far from our sub-division.  Beautiful, peaceful country road.  A few houses spattered along the way, but mostly just ranch land and prairie with beautiful mountains cascading in the background.  What a dream.

Our first destination was to view the areas that had been struck by fire in the summer of 2012 while we were here for vacation.  The burn patters were astounding.  Fortunately most homes/buildings were spared, but much of the foilage, shrubbery, and forest of the mountain side were torched.  Blackened nubs of what was once sage brush; tree trunks, blackened and lifeless; whole sides of mountains practically bare describe the scene that awaited us.

Just one of the mountain sides with burned trees lining it
Suddenly, a patch of brush and trees apparently untouched by the once raging fire, would splash across our view.  It was truly an amazing site to see.
A fallen, burned trunk

After snapping a few pictures of the devastation and new life already erupting, we travelled on toward our destination of the Vee Bar guest ranch for dinner.  Plans of a 'scenic route' danced in Techno-genius' head.

He LOVES roadtrips - especially of the unchartered variety.  Unlike me, he is NOT directionally challenged.  This difference in our abilities used to cause a lot of contention.  I'd panic because we were lost; Techno would simply keep moving in the general direction we were supposed to be heading and be calm as a cucumber; ultimately finding his way to wherever we were headed.

Over the last 18+ years of marriage, I've learned to trust his directional abilities and have realized that the journey may take longer but we'll still arrive.  I now generally only panic when I'm lost by myself or with just the kiddos.

Anyway - our journey commenced.

Coming upon another small 'country road', not unlike the one we took across the prairie, we turned left. As we approached the "gate" of this road, we noted the Private Road markings.  After a slight hesitation; some discussion of what 'private' might entail; we came to the conclusion together that it was in fact "permissible" for us to travel down this road. Surely, private road simply means it's not taken care of by the city, but similar to our own road is privately tended to by the residents of that subdivision.


After a short jaunt down this road, Techno made the decision to turn back.  We were not finding the junction to the route we had hoped to take.

This scenario played itself out a couple more times - a small 'country road' off to the side; more private road signs; we'd venture down a ways; only to return - not finding our desired connecting passage.

Finally, we came upon a paved road.  The name of which Techno-genius remembered from his mapping out our journey and KNEW it sounded familiar.  <Besides, if it didn't join the path we expected, we could just drive into Laramie on it and return using the main highway to our dinner plans at the Vee Bar.>

Driving along, we passed a small Alpaca ranch and soon found another road Techno 'recognized'.  Once again, NO private road signs were evident. We felt more confident taking this turn, despite the lack of pavement.

As we traversed down this path, it was often difficult to determine where driveways started and road ended. They were all just 'dirt' paths carved in by a plow of some sort.  At one point we did note the identification of 'open range' and marveled at the horses we passed along the way.  Most just free range along the ranch lands.

Just a few of the horses we saw on our journey.  Personally my favorite due to the foal.
Passing by a large field, we spotted a bald eagle perched upon a tall tree in the distance. What a fun find.  About this time in our journey, Techno had to make a decision of continuing straight or making a curve left.  As mentioned, the road and driveways were hard to differentiate.  Straight appeared to go into someone's home, so left we ventured.

It wasn't long, that Techno started wondering why we were headed the complete opposite direction he WANTED to be headed.  That's the thing about Old West, country, mountain roads. They twist, turn, zig and zag all over the place.  Soon enough, we were heading back in the right direction again.

We did in fact make it to dinner - even early. But... we never found the original route Techno-genius wanted to take.  In asking at the ranch about the coveted road, the manager replied, "I've never heard of anyone using that road."  Hmmmm....

The Vee Bar Ranch restaurant - our final destination.
Sunday at church, we decided to ask a native Wyomian about the 'rules' of Private Roads and the like.

Come to find out, we were probably trespassing like crazy.  Could have been shot, arrested, and/or fined for being on half the roads we meandered onto.

In the future, we know to avoid 'private roads', as well as lots of other tidbits of 'rancher's laws' that will help us avoid being WANTED:  Dead or Alive.

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