After Jackson Hole, the landscape gradually changed, until we were driving across a very high, desolate plain.
I found it pretty oppressive; I needed the radio playing to remind me that there was life still out there! Not that we could get much reception. We were basically down to five radio stations, which were a selection of country and religious stations, with some overlap! The adverts reminded us of what a desolate and strange place we were driving through: telecoms services for people who had been told they couldn’t be connected, and taxidermy businesses…
Because the few radio stations were clearly having to cater to a wide audience, there was a variety of different kinds of country song being played, from the really old and classic (they played Conway Twitty! Without irony!) to the latest hits. We also had our first taste of country songs about tractors!
Every now and again we saw markers at the side of the road, which told us that we were driving on what used to be the Oregon Trail. I hadn’t known much about the Oregon Trail, except that there had been a computer game that many of our American friends grew up with, which mostly ended badly…
Now, traveling along this bleak plain I could imagine how scary it must have been. They must really have believed there was a better life ahead to suffer through this landscape.
The plain is not really a desert – it can support some life. Now and again you see some cattle, or antelope, or a tractor – but not very often.
I was grateful when we got to I-80. At least we knew that the world was still out there and going on as normal. Though it was still a long way to anything like civilization!
(Now, ladies and gentlemen – Mr Conway Twitty!)