I was going to post one of these per day, but I got bored and decided to give you a two-fer. (You’re welcome.) Also, I noticed that my site got hijacked last night, and apparently it happened a couple of times while I was out of town. I’m currently communicating with my domain registrar to find out what’s up with that. Sorry for the inconvenience in the meantime. Just know that if you accidentally wind up on some kind of “buy drugs online” spam web page, honestly and truly, I didn’t do it on purpose.
Ok, so! We finally got out of Missouri, and we were in Iowa for all of about 20 minutes before we crossed into Nebraska. (I’m not kidding, either, we just had to change freeways in Iowa. We made a quick pit stop there and I took a couple of photos since I made a rule that we had to take pictures in every state, but we couldn’t have possibly been there for longer than half an hour.) Nebraska really wasn’t as bad as I expected. Yes, it was pretty flat and boring, but it wasn’t quite the soul-crushingly dull drive that I had in mind. In fact, we made really good time across Nebraska, and since we gained an hour when we crossed into mountain time, we decided to keep driving into Wyoming before stopping for the night.
Cheyenne is pretty close to the Nebraska border, and we got there around 7:00 p.m. I felt like I could drive for at least another couple of hours, so we looked ahead on the map to see what towns were next. The closest city to Cheyenne is Laramie, which I have an irrational fear of since that whole Matthew Shepard thing. I’m sure that was a random act of violence and that most of the town isn’t like that at all, but I saw the movie about it, and… just, no. We kept driving as fast as possible through there. We finally stopped for the night in a town called Rawlins. We found a nice Comfort Inn that allowed dogs, so we checked in for the night.
Since we hadn’t eaten dinner yet, and it was nearly 10:00 at night, Kris asked the front desk people what restaurants were still open. The guy gave her a menu of a local take-out place. We spent a good ten minutes or so reading through it, picking out exactly what we wanted, and getting excited about it because we were starving and it sounded really good. I called them, and it turned out that although the bar was still open, the kitchen was closed for the night. Fantastic. I asked the woman on the phone who else was serving food at that time of night. She told me to try a place called “Michael’s Big City Bar & Grill.” Fine. We went back to the front desk, got directions, and loaded the dog in the car to head over there. (We learned our lesson the night before about leaving the dog in the hotel room alone, so we took her with us everywhere.)
The freeways we had been driving on earlier were totally clear, but the roads in the town of Rawlins obviously hadn’t been plowed yet, and they were very snowy and icy. I was scared of skidding, so I drove pretty slowly, and since there weren’t any other cars on the road, I drove sort of down the middle of the 2 lanes because it seemed to be the clearest part. Also, because my directions weren’t very specific, I kept slowing down to read street signs, and I made a couple of U-turns. So, there wasn’t anything really huge that I had done wrong, but I guess I must’ve seemed suspicious, because all of a sudden there were lights behind me, and we were getting pulled over. Kris has some bizarre irrational fear of cops, so she panicked and nearly hyperventilated in the passenger seat. Good thing I was driving. Also? Lucky is absolutely terrified of men (one of the drawbacks of getting a dog from the pound, you don’t know those behavioral problems in advance), so when the cop came up to the window, she freaked and barked her head off at him the whole time.
I leaned out of the window and said (imagine 10 times faster than a normal speaking pace), “Hi, officer, we’re from out of town which is probably obvious since we have Tennessee license plates and we’re staying at the Comfort Inn over near I-80, but we didn’t check in until late and we’re starving because we haven’t had dinner yet and we’re trying to find anywhere that’s still serving food at this time of night, can you tell me if this is the way to some place the hotel told us about called Michael’s Big City Bar & Grill?” Yeah, because talking like a ferret on speed is a surefire way to assure the policeman that you aren’t under the influence. Long story short: he was very nice and quickly figured out that we were pretty obviously not drunk, we were just out-of-towners who aren’t very good at driving in the snow. He did take both Kris’s and my driver’s licenses and run checks on them, but he didn’t give us a ticket. He also told us that we were on the right street, but the restaurant was about a mile farther down the road. Since he had been so nice, I even had the nerve to ask him if the food there was any good. WTF? I have no idea what I was thinking. And yet there I was, trying to make polite small talk with a cop in some podunk town in Wyoming where the wind chill was about -15 degrees and the dog was going ballistic about 3 feet behind me. He sent us on our way, and that was that.
We finally found the restaurant, and it turns out that Kris and I just might have been the hottest things in Rawlins on a Saturday night. The bar was about 90% male, and I noticed that we got the complete up-and-down check-out by at least half a dozen guys the minute we walked in the door. Kris was so shaken up by the cop experience that she immediately ordered a beer and told the bartender, “oh my god, we just got pulled over for drunk driving!!” Um, wait just a second there, hon. First of all, it was me who got pulled over, not “we”. And it’s called suspicion. Suspicion of drunk driving. We didn’t go to jail or anything. Let’s just be very clear about that.
Some rather adorable 22 year-old started talking to me while we were waiting for our dinner, but by that time, I was totally exhausted and grumpy, and the cigarette smoke that filled the entire bar was giving me a killer headache. I said something along the lines of, “I’m married, and I’m going to check on the dog,” and I left Kris alone with him. (I may have been slightly more polite than that, but not much.) By the time I got back inside, Kris was on her third beer, which had been bought for her by Michael himself (of Michael’s Big City Bar & Grill, naturally). Our food took forever to arrive, which I’m partially convinced was on purpose because Michael seemed very interested in talking to Kris and he didn’t seem at all anxious for us to leave anytime soon. Kris was confused about why anyone was hitting on her when she had no make-up on and her hair was falling out of a ponytail, and no matter how many times I tried to explain it, she just didn’t get the whole male-to-female ratio concept. We finally got back to our hotel room and ate dinner around midnight.
Oh, and did I mention that Lucky barks at all strangers? Around 1:00 a.m., Kris took her out for her last before-bedtime pee, and she barked at the hotel’s night manager. Probably because it was the middle of the night and most people were trying to sleep, the manager told Kris that if the dog barked one more time, she was going to have to ask us to leave. The thought of trying to find somewhere else to sleep in that tiny town in the middle of the night was pretty terrifying. So for the rest of the night, anytime Lucky made even the slightest noise, Kris or I would jump up, clamp her mouth shut with our hands and say, “NO BARK!” (She’s supposed to understand that command, but who knows if she actually does.) We both slept horribly, which didn’t bode well for our next day on the road.