Thursday 24th November – Happy Thanksgiving!

No frost on my blanket this morning thankfully. With the new “warmth” (it was 1oC) I decided to give my hair a wash. It’s easy to neglect the oily mess when I’m wearing a beanie constantly, but I felt like a freshen up. I heated some water and was startled to find how much hair came away on my hands. Ewww. It’s definitely not falling out due to stress, probably just at the normal rate, but instead of falling, was stuck to my head. Gross. I felt much better afterwards. Funnily enough, I think because my hair froze even after a thorough drying, I spent the day looking like a windswept porcupine, which suited me just fine, as long as I didn’t have to wear a beanie.

Too lazy for a hot brekkie, I did cereal then set off. Nothing much to report today, just a lot of driving. The highlight was the first town I drove through, Thermopolis, probably named because it boasts the largest mineral hot springs in the world. I’m not sure if this is one of those “best coffee in Melbourne” touts that are totally unverified, but I gave them the benefit of the doubt.

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I became excited at the possibility of a surprise hot spring session, so drove on in for a look. I wandered around the numerous springs only to find the only swimming or soaking you could do was in the manufactured pools that tapped into the hot water. The rest of the springs around the park were for looking at. Still, it was cool. There was a huge pond with duckies in it enjoying a warm bath and huge Koi Koi fish flicking their tails around.

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It’s a hot spring infiniti pool!

After the springs, there wasn’t much as I drove east across the state. I spent a long time climbing over a 9,266 foot mountain pass that only had a thin layer of unploughed snow at the top. Poor Astro had to work hard to get up the hill. Descending the hill, I came into Buffalo, hungry and ready for a driving break.

I parked at a Maccas, which was closed for Thankgiving, and enjoyed their free Wifi while having lunch. I caught up on my blog posts and had a quick look into what the world had been up to in the few days I’d been out of service.

As I continued driving east, the snow was disappearing and I started tearing up. Not from the scenery, but from the book “Unbroken”, I was nearing the end and learning the stories of WWII veterans and hoping for a happy ending, I was completely enthralled. I think the combination of the book and the driving made me keen for another break in the afternoon.

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I reached a rest area east of Gillette, at the exit for Devil’s Tower National Monument, where my next stop would be. I didn’t really need the bathroom or anything but decided I didn’t need an excuse to stop. It was a nice rest stop with a big park and heated bathrooms. Sick of driving, I decided to stay here the night. It wasn’t too cold and the trees in the park were beckoning so I set up my slack line for the first time on my trip. I had imagined this would be something I’d do every few days, but always stopping within an hour of sunset and the cold had prevented me. Now, I was in the mood.

It took me a while to find a pair of trees with trunk sizes that worked with the line, but once set up I was happy. I had my speaker playing some Paul Dempsey as I worked on my balance. It took me half an hour to be able to walk the line between the trees and back. Then it was another 15 minutes to master doing a 180 degree turn. I was at it for about an hour before my hands and face got too cold to continue. It had been a good therapy session.

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After retreating to the bathroom to warm my hands, I made dinner and settled inside the van. Being in range, I was spoilt with catching up. I spoke to Mum and Dad, caught them up on the latest stories because they hadn’t read about them yet. Then I put the feelers out for who would be free for a chat. I talked to Jayne for a solid hour about all things work, climbing and people. Then, when I got a “Happy Thanksgiving” message from Kaila I called her immediately and caught up on the Tesla life and her adventures.

I got the sleepies and was feeling very loved, it was good to be in touch with the world again.

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