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Friday September 2- Travel Gillette to Rawlings

We were up early, showered, then packed up. We went over to the main building to say good-bye, then took off, driving south on SR 59, West on 387, South on I-25 to Casper. At least we were familiar with Casper after staying there 2 nights. We took the Poplar street exit, then turned right on CY and headed south west to Rawlins. Ft. Casper, prior to being Ft. Casper, was a trading post. It seems like all the pioneers stopped at Casper. The trails that went by were  the Mormon Trail, California Trail, Oregon Trail, Overland Stage, Original Pony Express, Bozeman Trail, Chief Washakie Trail, and the Sand Creek Massacre Trail.

We headed west on SR 220, which seemed to follow the trails. We stopped for lunch at the overlook for the Alcova Dam, which was really behind us, so there was not that great of a view. We continued southwest to Independence Rock. There are several  stories about how this rock was named, but basically it is because it is halfway on the Oregon Trail, and people needed to be here by the 4th of July, to make it over the Rockies before winter set in. 001

When you drive through this area you get a real sense of what it was like for the covered wagons traveling west. Pioneers traveled at about 6-8 miles per day. From Casper to Independence Rock was 44 miles. It took the pioneers about 5-6 days to get to where we drove in less than an hour, in our “covered wagon” with heat, air, microwave, TV, washer/dryer, and sleep comfort mattress! These folks walked this, many times without shoes in the summer! They ended up camping in the 40-50 degree nights, washing their clothes in the Sweet Water River, dodging rattlesnakes, and pulling a covered wagon over the rutted land, ravine’s, rocks, and sagebrush. These were some hardy people!

The road became SR 287, which follows the Chief Washakie Trail right into Rawlins. Rawlins was named after General John A. Rawlins who was the chief of staff of the US Army in 1867. HIs troops were protecting the crew surveying the route of the first trans-continental railroad. He decided that he wanted a drink of good, cold water. So the troops went looking for a spring and found it in what is now the town of Rawlins. General Rawlins once said that if anything was named after him, he wanted it to be a spring, so the town was named Rawlins Springs, later it was shortened to Rawlins.

We had stayed at Rawlins last time through Wyoming, so we knew where we were going. We arrived at about 1:50 and had to wait for the office to open at 2PM. We were first in line, and there was a steady stream of RV’s that followed us into the campground. This park is a good overnight stop.

We unhooked the car and drove over to the grocery store, which happened to be a City Market, like we have in Breckenridge. We were able to get our discount at the Loaf and Jug, making the price of gas $3.39/gal.

We returned to the motor home, cooked dinner, and worked on some genealogy..

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