NEW KID IN TOWN: Traveling in God’s country

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When I told friends and family that I was packing up and moving to Wyoming, I told them that I was moving to God’s country.

I was reminded of why this past weekend.

I love a good road trip, enough to drive hundreds of miles on occasion. With a three-day weekend and much of Wyoming yet to be explored, western Wyoming and its many sights — not to mention a few other new-to-me places — started calling to me last week.

I kicked off by driving through Wind River Canyon on the way to Shoshoni, then headed west on U.S. Highway 26 through western Fremont County and stopped for gasoline in Dubois.

The fun started in earnest shortly afterward as I looked out the window and saw the ground covered with snow as I went over the Continental Divide and into Teton County — not an everyday sight for someone who grew up about 10 miles north of the Arkansas-Missouri border.

After going through Moran Junction and making the turn to head to Jackson, I got my first good look at the Tetons, including Buck Mountain and Prospectors Mountain. Maybe it’s just me, but the Tetons look like the bluest mountains I have ever seen.

But wait, there’s more!

After stopping to eat in a bustling Jackson (it was Memorial Day weekend, after all), I took U.S. Highway 89 south into Lincoln County — with the Snake River on my left and more of the Tetons on the right — before stopping in Alpine at a Texaco station. Alpine is home of perhaps the only Texaco station in all of Wyoming, which I find even cooler because I collect Texaco memorabilia.

My travels then took me into eastern Idaho — the first time I’d ever visited Idaho — and on to Interstate 15, where I drove to Salt Lake City and called it a day to remember.

The trip back wasn’t too bad, either.

Before leaving Utah, I stopped at In-N-Out Burger and ordered eight — yes, eight — double-double animal style burgers, which I immediately put in a cooler with dry ice. Yes, I love In-N-Out Burger, and if you’ve eaten there, you know why.

The drive back to Powell included driving through Evanston, Kemmerer and Lander — which meant seeing the southern Wind River Mountains and Red Canyon. Southern Fremont County has more than its share of natural beauty, which added some nice icing to the cake on the long trip home.

The long weekend was a reminder of what many of us already know: Wyoming has some of the most beautiful sights of any place in the United States — or the world, for that matter. Snow-capped mountains, lush forests, whitewater rivers and deep, breathtaking canyons are all within a few hours drive for those of us who live in Park County. Not many people are able to say that.

And I have a freezer full of In-N-Out burgers to top it all off! I won’t have to cook as much for a while, that’s for sure.

(Mike Buhler is the community editor of the Powell Tribune. Contact him at mike@powelltribune.com.)

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