When we first got on the road, I noticed that there seemed to be as many semi trailer rigs as other vehicles. I decided to count to see if my estimate was right. In the time I counted five smaller vehicles (a car, two RVs, two pickup trucks pulling trailers), I counted 27 semi-trailers. I started wondering how much of each highway tax dollar goes to subsidize the trucking industry.
Carol found out about Hobo Hot Springs, so we drove south from the interstate to Saratoga, Wyoming, to visit them. Carol said that the Indians sold the hot springs to white people with the condition that the hot springs be open year round, 24 hours a day. We found the hot spring down a side street, past the public fishing access point on the North Platte River, in behind the municipal swimming pool. While Carol soaked in the hot springs, I walked around the town, across the river, and over to Veteran’s Island Park. When i got back, Carol was ready to get out of the hot springs: the water was too hot, and you had to sit in the direct sun besides.
Carol had ice cream, and I had a sandwich, in the center of the town. We took a walk around town to stretch our legs, and Carol spotted a geodesic dome green house. An older couple was out working in their garden next to the green house. Carol struck up a conversation with the woman, whose name was Kay, and got us an invitation to see the inside of the green house. While she and Kay went inside to look at the orange tree, I talked Lee, her husband. He said the growing season there went from the first of June to early September. He had a small apple tree, a variety called “Sweet 16” which I have never heard of, one of the few varieties hardy enough for their climate.
Kay asked us each our names, and went inside our house. She came out in a moment and gave us each a small New Testament. “He’s a Gideon,” she said, pointing to Lee, “the ones who place Bibles in all the hotels.” She told us about all their activities distributing Bibles. “This is the King James Version,” she said, pointing to the Bibles she gave us, “because that’s the one that’s acceptable to most denominations.” Carol told her I was a minister, and she was a little taken aback, but I said I was glad to get a copy of the King James version as I had recently given my copy away — which was true, I frequently give away copies of the Bible to Unitarian Universalists who say they’d like to finally read the Bible. “Well, it’s just the New Testament,” she said, “it doesn’t have the Old Testament”; but I said that was fine with me.
We talked a little while longer. They want the green house to grow food year round, because they worry that things might fall apart and they might have to become self-reliant. Then we said our good byes, and headed on our way.
The road climbed up out of Laramie, and at last we saw a sign that said “ELEV. 8640.” It’s all down hill from here, I thought to myself.
We’re spending the night in Ogallala, Nebraska. We just walked down to the North Platte River, and watched the Cliff Swallows swarming around the bridge at sunset: