Left Rapid City for Cheyenne, good fall temperature and bright sunshine.
Wyoming is desolate in a way no other state we've driven through has been. Even on the interstates there are endless miles of plains, no houses, no animals, no farms, no billboards. Nonetheless we are awed by the magnificent hugeness of our country, and of all the wide open spaces.
We finally passed by a few cows, and a couple of pronghorn deer in a field. They sure do grow a lot of corn in America!
All along the highway in southern South Dakota and Wyoming there are signs announcing that when they are flashing to road ahead is closed. In many places they actually have railroad tracks barriers that can be lowered. Imagine what the snow must be like around here! There are also signs announcing wind warnings, accompanied by bright orange windsocks.
We drove past Lost Springs, Wyoming, population 1.
One cool thing, we actually found a decent radio station, playing classic r&r for old fogies. It stayed with us for around 45 minutes.
The big event of the day was a very scary event that lasted a few seconds but seemed to go on forever. In order to understand, I have to tell you about trailer sway.
Owning a travel trailer can be a hazardous endeavor, made more dangerous by the tendency of a trailer to sway. The most common point for a tow vehicle to hitch a trailer is about 4 feet behind the axle. This gives the trailer enough leverage to affect the movement of the towing vehicle, causing a back-and-forth movement that is known as sway, or fishtailing. A well-balanced trailer, with a proper hitch correctly installed, will easily correct itself in the event of a minor sway caused by wind or other external factors. The use of a sway bar will also improve the ability of a trailer to resume normal towing alignment after a minor sway.
Sway bars have tension controls that are tightened manually and must be adjusted to reflect road conditions. Over-tightening will result in the trailer having a reduced ability to follow easily through turns. Under-tightening will prevent the sway bar from functioning efficiently and will not reduce sway adequately.
As the vehicle moves, the sway bar moves back and forth with the motion of the vehicle, allowing for wind and other forces and preventing the trailer from exerting force on the tow vehicle.
The biggest sway issues occur when the trailer is being passed by a tractor-trailer, and the sway bar on our trailer has performed magnificently for the most part.
Today, however, we were passed by a huge "diesel pusher," one of those big RVs that look like buses. Unlike a tractor-trailer, there is only a couple of feet between the bottom of the rig and the road. In addition, this one was pulling a rather large toy hauler trailer, and was going extremely fast.
In the blink of an eye our trailer (and, therefore, our car) were fishtailing right and left like crazy, and veering off the road. Ron did a truly remarkable job of slowing the car down and getting the trailer straightened out, but it was really frightening as I looked right and saw the highway dropped off 12 feet or more on my side.
Ron really can't figure out what happened, and what he was doing wrong to make it happen. I don't really think he was doing anything wrong, except perhaps he was going a little faster than usual, and maybe he was closer than he should have been to the lane line. I think it will haunt him until he can figure out why it happened, so that he can take precautions to make sure it doesn't happen again.
So off to bed. By the way, we think everything with the house is ok. The contractor went over and checked things out, and was going back today to replace the lights in the basement that shorted out, and dry out the carpet. He is as mystified as we are about where the water came from, since Ron had turned off the water to the house before we left. RB is going to go to Hagerstown on Saturday or Sunday and see if he can figure anything out. He's also going to make sure the refrigerator is working ok, and turn it back on. So when we get home we will have a totally empty refrigerator and freezer, which we've never had since the day I moved into my first apartment!