Sunday, May 28, 2006

Home on the Range -- it's Nowhere, Man

Bored this summer? Take a little jaunt to the ends of the Earth.

OK, so you can’t have an end on a globe. But parts of Wyoming are darned close.

This summer, my son and I loaded a U-haul and drove it across the country to Portland, OR, where my VERY pregnant daughter was afraid she would have her baby before the cradle arrived at their new home. Their mover's contract went bad, leaving her with several more weeks of lawnchair and air mattress decor, so Dad and brother drove to the rescue.

I didn't look foward to three days behind bouncing down the I-80 potholes, but I couldn’t pass up a special letterboxing opportunity. I’ve been experimenting for some time with a building material called “hypertufa.” It is a lightweight concrete that the British use to make fake-stone planters and other garden gizmos. I tried to make a letterbox container that looked like a rock.

My first try looks more like a very hard loaf of bread, but I figured that I could put it somewhere far from the critics. Like ...

Nowhere, man.

Cecile carved a great stamp, we found a nice book and I put the rock into the U-haul. And somewhere in the middle of Wyoming, we found a perfect spot. Check the photos if you don’t believe me.

Here are the clues to the Nowhere, Man Letterbox:

Westbound on Interstate 80 from Laramie, drive until your eyes glaze over. Eastbound from Rawlins, about the same. Either way you can find Exit 279 between Laramie and Rawlings. Exit 279 is for Cooper Cove Road, a gravel track traveled more frequently by pronghorn antelope than by cars. Don’t miss the exit – it’s a looong way to the next turnaround.

When you get to the bottom of the exit ramp, you are almost nowhere. So amble over to the north side of the overpass, where a cattle crossing guards the way to a hunter management area.

That metal grid may keep the cows behind the fence, but the deer and the antelope are supposed to play freely out here. So just uphill from the cattle crossing is an antelope crossing – a retaining wall on the cow-grazing side, a tall mound of rock on the freeway side and a line of wire fence up the ridge. At the very top is an open gate. Cows can’t climb up the retaining wall to go through it, but for antelope it is like jumping up on a curb.

Look on that rock pile and find my fake rock. Inside is your quarry. While you are up there, enjoy the view.

Welcome to Nowhere, man.


Mark & Sue said...

Very clever box! Love the title.

Chrispy said...

Thanks for the extra hints... we're about to set out on a road trip that's going to take us through "nowhere". If the timing is right (not the middle of the night when we're driving through) we'll definitely give this box a shot. Great idea!