Sunday, June 7, 2015
The Best Laid Plans ...
One of the best meals along the CDT last summer was at Anong's Thai Cuisine located in, of all places, Rawlins, Wyoming. Delicious Pad Thai, summer rolls dipped in peanut sauce with just the right balance of sweetness and tanginess, mango sticky rice dripping in coconut sauce. Knowing we would be driving through Rawlins on our rather circuitous route back to the trail, we've been dreaming about Anong's Thai Cuisine for days. Literally. It's that good.
By the time we arrived, we were practically salivating. My heart quickened just at the sight of the the Anong's Thai Cuisine sign over the door. But then I noticed a small handwritten sign taped to the door. Closed today. And my heart sank.
Never ones to stay down for long, Sierra and I wandered around the corner in search of a consolation prize at Huckleberries, a local ice cream shop. No luck. Closed. But back at Anong's, Jeff fared a little better, running into the owner just as he was locking up. Handing Jeff a business card, he told Jeff about the two other locations in Laramie and Cheyenne.
Excited to have Thai food after all, neither of us realized that our route was not supposed to take us through Laramie or Cheyenne. Instead, we hopped back in the truck and drove straight to Anong's in Laramie. By the time I realized that Laramie might be a bit out of our way, it was too late. It also turned out to be my favorite mistake. Some things are just meant to be.
One bite into a delicious summer roll, I no longer cared if we had added additional miles to our route. And by the time we finished our meal, I was convinced the detour would have been worth it even if we had to drive all the way back to Rawlins to get back on track (we didn't).
On the drive into town, we noticed the Big Dipper ice cream shop. Even after stuffing ourselves with Thai food, we decided we could still squeeze in some ice cream. After all, ice cream slides down your throat and fills in the cracks. Plus it was National Chocolate Ice Cream Day. We were practically mandated to eat ice cream. And with unique flavors like salted caramel fudge and pineapple amidst all our usual favorites, who could resist?
Smooth, thick, sweet, and creamy, the Big Dipper served up some of the best ice cream in our collective memories. Caramel. Pineapple. And, in tribute to National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, mint chocolate chip. We wandered around Laramie savoring every last drop of the generous scoops.
Back on the road, we realized our new route took us through lush, green rolling hills. Our original route would have taken us back through the Great Divide Basin, familiar desert territory that we thoroughly explored last summer as we hiked through. Antelope bounded into the hills, while bison languidly grazed near the road. We watched the sun set across the wide expanse of the Wyoming range grateful for the unexpected blessings of our inadvertent detour.
Unfortunately, the night didn't end there. An hour or so down the road, we spotted bright red flashing lights across the road ahead. Road Closed.
Murphy's Law at work: the only road closed in the entire state of Wyoming happened to be the one road we needed to reach our destination. The Wyoming State Trooper explained that recent monsoons had washed out the road, pulled up a map on his computer, and showed me an alternate around to detour around the closure. The only problem was that the detour would add another hour or two to an already late night.
We hurtled along narrow country roads, passing through Thunder Basin National Grassland, home to antelope, bison, and many other animals. But with the grasslands cloaked in darkness all we could see were stars, tiny pinpricks of light dotting the inky black sky. The moon rose, a huge slice of a blood orange hanging just above the horizon.
We arrived at our final destination in the wee hours of the morning, grateful to have reserved a room. But the second the key clicked in the lock I knew something was wrong. The bedspread was pulled back, and a television was babbling on. Someone was already there. Hearts pounding, we quiet backed out of the room and retreated back to the front desk where the sleepy night clerk managed to find us an unoccupied room. Rest at last!
Posted by Heather and Sierra at 8:21 PM