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Route 20 report #1

It’s day 6 of the #insearchofamerica #route20 #carcamping #coasttocoast #roadtrip (because,  you know, Instagram).

We’re in Thermopolis, Wyoming, where we stopped to soak our tent-sleeping bodies in the largest natural hot springs in the world (who knew) and soak our camping-grimy clothes in the Thermopolis Wishy Washy Washateria.

There is too much to write about. When you have a different, vastly different, experiences every day, when the landscape changes hour by hour, when random conversations with locals open your eyes to our similarities and our differences, when you spend every night in a different spot, when the thrum of the two-lane road gives you ample time to think…there is too much to write about.

But here are a few thoughts and a few images from the road.

People out here are not “pro” guns the way others (like me) are “anti” guns. It doesn’t appear to be an “issue” one reasons through. I don’t mean people out here are not thoughtful. I mean guns are so embedded in the culture, so much a part of daily life that you’re not “for” them. They just are. Like a pair of shoes. Like a hairbrush. The issue comes in when we attempt to (in ANY way) regulate what they take for granted. A few days ago, outside Nyassa, Idaho, we passed a huge billboard on route 20: “Any regulation takes away freedom.”

You talk to a person in one of these one-street towns along the way, maybe she’s the waitress serving you eggs and sausage at the Abacadabra Café or the guy giving you advice about which washing machines are the best at the Thermopolis Wishy Washy Washateria, and you ask them: “What do you love about this place?  Why do you live here?” And they look at you uncomprehendingly. “My family is here,” they say. It’s that simple. Ask someone in Portland, Oregon the same question.

And just one more thing: The only Starbucks in Cody, Wyoming is in an Albertson’s. We stopped there. The soft-bodied, super-friendly woman behind the counter took our order.  “Okay,” she said. “We’ll have that for you in…” she looked over at the woman working the espresso machine. “In a while.” She laughed. And it did take a while. And that was perfectly fine. Because it gave us a chance to have an impromptu conversation with a woman whose daughter runs the Meeteesi Labor Day celebration. Which we really should see. Because it’s really something.


1 Barbara Bolsen { 09.04.18 at 5:25 pm }

This is wonderful. I am so so so so jealous! Hope to see you soon. 🙂

2 Lauren { 09.13.18 at 1:13 pm }


3 Tim Volem { 09.05.18 at 4:21 pm }

Thoroughly enjoying your posted photos and now your blog. I believe that Cody, Wyoming is the boundary of the American West- after that, Eastward, the mountains are gone…

4 Lauren { 09.13.18 at 1:13 pm }

You might be right. There was a moment, and I’m not sure when it happened, when it hit me that we were in “foreign” territory.

5 Kathy Nolen { 09.06.18 at 10:15 pm }

Hi Lauren, are you going to be coming to North Carolina? Would love to see you. We are in process of moving and will be in Washington, NC in a few weeks. Kathy Nolen

6 Lauren { 09.13.18 at 1:12 pm }

We are following route 20 across, so quite far north of you. Currently in upstate NY. I just made a reservation at FitZion (Utah) for early November. How about it??

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