Sep 19, 2011

Wyoming---another third world country?

From the moment I entered Wyoming things started getting fumbled.  Don't know if it's the terrain or the technologically-challenged inhabitants of this land....Crossing the border into Evanston, I stopped for gas at the Chevron station that services all the weary travelers along I-80.  Went to two pumps.  The first one didn't work, the second one had a sign across it stating the pumps "on this side" of the station were functioning oddly.  Further instructions directed that one either pay inside first, or wait to see if a characteristic set of beeps sounded,  and then try fueling without benefit of seeing what the pump was doing or saying.  Having now twice parked the car at a pump and gotten out to fill the tank, I climbed back in again and drove to the other side of the gas station to one of the pumps on the "good" side.   I again parked the car, climbed out, and started to insert my gas card for the 3rd time.  There was another small, typewritten note on this pump stating the LED screen didn't work.  I got into the car again, moved it to the last pump, and was fortunately able to start fueling.  But the hose pushed in more air than gas, and wouldn't stay flowing when employing the lazy lever.  I had to hand pump the gas from the hose, which kept shutting off every 10 seconds.    As I was finally finishing up, another car drove up to the pump that had the small sign about the LED screen.  An irritated young man got out,  then quickly crawled back into his car and drove up behind mine.  No words were exchanged, but I felt his pain.

Several miles down the road, at the next small town, I pulled off the exit and got a room for the night.  It had quickly turned dark and I was too sleepy and night blind to take on the unlighted, barren terrain and roadway.  Although the motel boasted internet and cable TV, I learned too late the channels didn't match the channel list, the times and the programs were all off schedule, and there were two CBS stations, but neither showed the standard Sunday night line up.  Go figure.  Tried to use the lodge's phone to make a long distance call to Wisconsin, but it wouldn't work.  When I called the desk to inquire about it,  I was told they had been having problems with their long distance service and it wasn't working at the present time.  The internet service was WiFi, so I couldn't even use my Vonage box or Magic Jack to make the phone call.  Apparently,  broadband internet hasn't hit this town yet.  They do have Cable TV, but not internet.  Sound familiar?  For all intents and purposes I could be in Caldera or La Colorada, Panama with this scenario.   My first attempt to make the call was with my cell phone, but there was no network signal, either.   I don't ever want to hear another U.S. midwesterner in Boquete make derogatory remarks about the quality of Panamanian services!

Other than the technological challenges, the trip has gone well.  On cruise control at 75 mph the entire way.  Wide open spaces stretched for hundreds of miles and offered time to contemplate and relax while drifting along.  Was not impressed with the Great Salt Lake, in Utah.  It stank much worse than a poorly maintained seaside marina, and the view reminded me of low tide in Casco Viejo.  Didn't take many photos, but see for yourself.  Be glad you are being spared the smell. 

Hoping to make it as far as Lincoln, Nebraska tomorrow.  I've been pushing it to get to my destination ASAP, but on the way back I'm hoping to be able to sightsee a little more.   Can't say I miss the congested freeways and crowded towns of the Bay Area.  I imagine I'll be putting all that back on as I get closer to home.