The Carefree Highway

Tired of winter, my husband and I decided to venture into the unknown and take a road trip. Our destination was to head out west to visit some old friends in Montana and then end up at our pals in Arizona. Knowing we had no time set to be anywhere, our plan was to stop whenever and where ever our hearts desired along the way. So, we loaded everything but the kitchen sink in our vehicle and hit the open road. We traveled on the backroads instead of the interstate in order to view things at a slower pace. It gave us a chance to mingle with the locals and take a peek at how it was like to live there.

One of our first stops was at the Occidental Hotel and bar in Buffalo, Wyoming. The hotel was original and had bullet holes in the walls and a reputation of being haunted. We learned that many famous people had once stayed there—Buffalo Bill, Calamity Jane, Ernest Hemingway, Butch Cassidy and others. We noticed a photo of Robert Taylor (the actor who plays Longmire) above the bar and commented on the picture. The bartender told us that Mr. Taylor lived a few miles down the road and came in once in a while for a drink. An older cowboy at the bar said he knew him well and confirmed that he was a nice guy. He gave us the actor's real name and told us to keep that information under our hat. Who knows if he was just pulling our leg?

We continued on our journey in Wyoming and were refreshed soaking in the mineral hot springs of Thermopolis — I don't know what's in the water there but I couldn't believe how great I felt after I stepped out. In Montana, a local took us up a snowy mountain in her Cam-Am where we viewed a herd of elk sunning themselves on the mountain side. Although some of the mountain passes were a bit treacherous, the views were spectacular in Idaho, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico. It was fun to see all the ranches and houses perched in the hills. We drove through the breathtaking painted desert in Arizona while listening to the Eagles greatest hits and decided the experience was the closest thing to heaven on earth. Near Phoenix, the desert was unexpectedly green with cactus flowers ready to burst into blossom any day. And of course we went on the Carefree Highway where I thought about writing this blog.

On the way home we talked about all the things we saw and the people we met and decided that no matter where you go most people are basically the same. But the surprising thing is — there are more nice folks out there than you would think. And that isn't something you hear about on the evening news. Most are willing to share with you something interesting about their area and tell you information that you won't find in a travel brochure. The whole experience showed us that you don't need to spend a lot to have fun when you're traveling. All you need to do is to hop on any 'Carefree Highway' and appreciate the people and scenery around you!

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