“A poem of the right shape will hold a thousand truths. But it doesn’t say any of them.” ~Ursula K. Le Guin
(A quote in memory of my friend the exquisite poet Susan Laughter Meyers, who I just learned died suddenly last week.)
We took our time leaving Grave Spring. Made more cowboy coffee, had breakfast, took some pictures, checked the trailer brakes (and readjusted them) then headed out. We had seen The Loud Family leave by way of the route we planned and since they were pulling two huge trailers, we assumed that the road would be easier in that direction than it had been coming in. Boy, was that assumption ever wrong.
We had to go between 5 and 10 miles per hour because the dirt road out was uneven, rocky, washed out, and rutted. The trailer held up like a champ but it took three hours to go about 25 miles. At one point, I got out and walked beside the Jeep because it was so frustrating. (And in case you were wondering, my current meditation pack is on Restlessness, so yes, I am probably on the right pack. One of the ideas I keep returning to is that the spaciousness of the mind is so vast that we can’t comprehend it, so we need to let go the idea that a restless mind is something to fight. We all have restless minds. It’s the human condition. Learning to accept the restlessness and refocus when it interferes, that is the real goal.)
When we reached Ten Sleep, Wyoming—so named by the Native tribes that marked it as halfway (Ten Sleeps) between Casper and their summer hunting grounds—we got gas (Yes! We made it on the gas we had.) and there discovered that somewhere along the the 4-wheel-drive road, the electrical connector for the trailer had gotten ripped out and then caught on something else and ripped off the end and then when we reached hardtop, dragged along the highway. It looked like it had been through a shredder and we knew that needed addressing immediately, so instead of heading to Medicine Lodge as we had intended, we searched for a repair place and found The Tractor Guys in Worland, Wyoming. Like everyone else we have pulled in and begged to assess our issues, they were extremely willing, generous, and helpful. They let us leave the trailer and we went for lunch with just the Jeep. We found a Mexican restaurant that was neither very Mexican, nor much of a restaurant and ate, then returned to the shop. I sat in the car and tried for more than an hour to download my next meditation on Restlessness (how ironic), only to get dinged by Sprint for using all my roaming data, and still not getting the next day downloaded.
Exhausted by frustration, rough road, changed plans, and the heat, we looked for a campground in Worland, found a great one nestled in among some tall, beautiful trees, got a site, went back out to the car wash to get rid of the massive quantities of dust, pulled in, spent another hour cleaning dust from the inside of the toolbox and the doorwells, windows, and screens, and then crashed.
At roughly midnight, the noise of a heavy engine woke us up. We’d been warned that the town might spray for mosquitoes, so we closed all the windows and waited. The noise got louder and closer and bright lights filled our cabin, giant air brakes popped and hissed, and we soon realized that it was someone driving the most massive RV ever made (seriously, think Willie Nelson Tour Bus), as well as towing a Chevy Blazer behind it, attempting to edge past the nose of our Jeep while negotiating a tight turn unassisted. We were just thinking we should get up and supervise when we heard someone yell, “Whoah, whoah, whoah, stop!” Thankfully, it was the owner of the campsite who had also heard the noisy rig and come just in time to keep the driver from smashing into us. So we had to climb out in our PJs, get the keys, and back up the trailer so this yahoo could get his rig around the corner he had no business trying to navigate in the first place, while the owner apologized to us profusely. (The next morning he told us he’d paced it off and the rig was 49 feet long, plus about twelve feet of vehicle being towed behind it.)
It took a while to get to sleep after that fiasco, but we’ve had something come up unexpectedly almost every night of the trip, so we’re learning to just roll with it.
Random fact: The Bighorn River is expected to reach maximum snowmelt stage this weekend, and it is already ripping.
Tomorrow: Same campsite, more work on the trailer brakes and wiring.