In Dubois (pronounced: 'dooboyz')

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Where I stayed
Dubois Wind River KOA Campground

Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Thursday, August 1, 2013

Forget your French!  Up here in northwestern Wyoming we pronounce place names the way they are spelled.  But how did I end up in Dubois?
The day before yesterday in Seminoe State Park my batteries were running low.  I needed to recharge my pc, mouse, camera, phone, shaver, toothbrush etc. etc.  McDonald's has WiFi but no electrical sockets.  So, I went to the nearest KOA campground which was in Casper.  The drive to Casper along 220 was ok.  But the road to the KOA camp in Bar Nunn, north of Casper, went through urban sprawl.  The camp itself was located right next to noisy Interstate-25.  I didn't even go into the camp but decided to go back the way I had come in.  Gina in Cheyenne had already told me that Casper was not worth a visit (unless I wanted to see a mega Wal-Mart).  Back in Alcova, where I came from, I continued southeast to Muddy Gap Junction, from where I planned to go on 287 and stay overnight on Green Mountain in a camp called Cottonwood.  Before reaching Muddy Gap I passed Independence Rock, and shortly after I drove into 'Martin Cove's Visitors' Center'.  It is one of two 'Mormon Handcart Historic Sites' in Wyoming.  'Elder Dawson' greeted me with a big smile and offered to show me the center.  Before the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad in 1869 half a million people, including nearly 70,000 Mormons, crossed the plains in wagons or on foot to get out West. Here, at Devil's Gate, a group of Mormons found themselves trapped in an early winter storm in October 1856. Brigham Young in Salt Lake City decided to send rescue teams east to save them. It's a very moving story, including several personal testimonies, which was told at the center. Earlier I had read that Gutzon Borglum's parents had pulled and pushed a handcart to get to Utah. In those days the railroad ended at Iowa City, and the remaining 1,300 miles had to be covered by other means. The European immigrants, who were mostly destitute, were issued handcarts to carry their belongings and small children to 'the promised land'. The rescue team brought the immigrants to nearby Martin's Cove and from there to Salt Lake City, where they arrived on November 30, 1856. 150 did not make it all the way but died.  There were many Danish names among the settlers:  Nielsen, Mortensen, Christensen, Olsen, Knudsen etc.  A lady at the center has compiled a binder with the story of many of these persons. 
The Cottonwood Campground was located 10 miles from 287 and the only access road was a dirt road. There were one or two couples and a family with children. I went a little further and found a fine site with plenty of firewood. The silence around me was total.
But my batteries still had not been recharged! I, therefore, decided to head to the KOA camp in Dubois.  This proved to be a good choice.  The location is fine, and there is only limited traffic in this remote part of Wyoming. I wanted to have stopped at many interesting little towns on the way, including Jeffrey City, Lander, Crowheart, but I just had to drive through to get to Dubois.
This morning I went to see the Dubois Museum.  Many Norwegians and Swedes came to this region which produced half a million ties (Danish: 'sveller') a year for railroad construction at the beginning of the 20th century.  It was a hard life but much better than the existence they had had in their home countries.
On my drive up 287 I spotted two bikers (not motorcycle bikers, real bicycle bikers).  They, a couple, John and Jo-Ann, arrived at the KOA camp after I had put up my tent.  They had a tent of their own the size of mine.  They spend most of their time cycling on America's backroads.  We started talking.  They get up early, often at 5 am, they said.  And gone they were, when I woke up at 7.30.  But maybe I will catch up with them later.
Today has been mostly sunny.  But now a thunder shower rages.  Amazing how quickly the weather changes in this part of the country.          
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Gina on

I'm so glad you got to see Independence Rock, Martin's Cove and enjoy the beauty up there. I anxiously await your next writing with more facinating sites to tell about on your adventure!! Gina

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