An overnight stop at the Flying J in Rawlins, Wyoming

Our last day at Freeman Campground in northwestern Colorado turns out well. 

The day got off to a bad start with an invasion of mosquitoes, but by noon, the wind blows them away.  The crew and I walk down to the reservoir.  We have the reservoir to ourselves.  In fact, the crew and I are the only ones here at this peaceful National Forest campground.

My plan for today is to leave bright and early.

However, since our destination, out of necessity, has changed to a Flying J Truck Plaza in Rawlins, Wyoming, I’m in no hurry to trade our verdant home, otherwise known as campsite #5, for pavement, hydraulic brakes, idling reefers, and exhaust fumes.  The wind is still pretty strong.  That concerns me because we’re going into wide open, grassland where the winds have plenty of room to build strength.

Around 11 o’clock the winds die down and I decide we’ll leave.

By noon we’re driving past the reservoir on our way out of the campground and down the mountain.  I enjoy downhill a lot more than uphill.  We descend to an alpine valley where sheep graze.  Further on, the PTV startles a pair of heron from a pond.  They fly right in front of the windshield.  A deer standing in a shady, dry stream bed alertly watches us pass.  An expansive view of the valley opens up before us.

Highway 13 and highway 789 are monotonous drives.

Bridget and Spike sleep soundly.  Occasionally my attention is averted from the road by a few antelope, longhorn cattle, or a small herd of horses.  The landscape is treeless.  Low grey-green bushes dot the rolling hills.  Absolutely no one lives along this long stretch of road, except in the tiny town of Baggs.  After driving about three hours, the last half-hour through road construction on Interstate 80, we see the welcoming sign of Flying J Truck Plaza!

I don’t see an area designated for RVs.

I go to the back parking lot as far away from the building as possible.  There are several trucks parked back here already.  I find an empty area off the paved parking lot.  With all the trucks on I-80, I won’t be surprised if it’s packed with trucks before the night is over.  I walk the crew around the edges of the parking lot taking photos as we go. Several semi-trucks are parked in a row showing off their polished, bright paint and gleaming chrome. A flock of sea gulls picks at the trash in a dumpster.  Wait a minute.  Sea gulls in Wyoming?

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It’s cool enough that I can close the windows when we go to bed.

That should reduce the truck noise so we can get a good night’s sleep.




About rvsueandcrew

Fulltime nomad
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58 Responses to An overnight stop at the Flying J in Rawlins, Wyoming

  1. bearwise2010 says:

    Pretty deserted road.. but still beautiful landscape .. so your on the road again, Spike is going to miss his daily soak – he needs his own small swimming pool / spa lol.. hope you had a quiet peaceful night in the parking lot. can’t wait to see where you are going…

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      This blog post is in real time so I haven’t spent the night here yet. The trucks are coming in, one right after another. I’ll probably wake up to a truck on either side of us.

  2. cathieok says:

    I am amazed at your memory. If I drove in the morning, I doubt I would remember what I saw to write so eloquently about in the afternoon. Keep it up!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi Cathie,

      Some things I remember very well. Others not so good. I can meet a person one day and the next day, look them straight in the face and not realize it’s the person I met yesterday. I think that part of my brain having to do with face recognition didn’t develop well! Probably a loner characteristic! LOL

      Seriously . . . nice compliment. Thank you.

  3. Elizabeth says:

    So, suppose those grey green bushes are sagebrush?? Sure barren country…but then most of the western states do have portions that are indeed deserty and barren…but also the lovely treed areas too!! Happy trails!!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      While walking the crew up the road behind the Flying J, I picked off a few leaves. They smell like sage . . . so now I know. I’m learning as I go!

      • Elizabeth says:

        Heh…one year my sister-in-law decided to make sagebrush candles for presents. They burned all right…boy did they…sparks were aflying everywhere….not recommended!!! They smelled good however….

  4. geogypsy2u says:

    Why the Flying J?

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      We’re at the Flying J because it’s about 3 hours from Freeman Campground in the direction I want to go. (3 hrs. is about all I want to drive in a day.) Also it’s conveniently on the interstate. This terrain is not conducive to boondocking . . . no trees, private land, very exposed. There aren’t many choices around here.

      We could have pushed on and then driven several miles away from the interstate to camp in the mountains of Medicine Bow Forest. I didn’t want to go that far out of the way. I’m on a mission now . . . South Dakota here we come!

  5. Margie says:

    Seagulls in Minnesota too : ) Sometimes when I hear them, I close my eyes and think about being on a deserted beach in southern California again… don’t even know if they have deserted beaches anymore! Rawlins used to have a great little restaurant on main street – always made sure to be going through there during the daytime, so we could stop. Safe journeys, Sue

    • Micky says:

      Don’t know about deserted beaches in southern California Margie, but here in the Monterey Bay area they are plentiful. Temperature tends to run in the mid 60’s in the summer though, so not always great for sunbathing, but perfect for long walks with the dogs!

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Nice to hear from you, Margie. As you may know, between the dieting and the crew, I don’t do restaurants these days. I’m glad my blog revived a good memory for you.

  6. hobopals says:

    You’ll see pelicans, as well. 🙂

  7. earthdancerimages says:

    If you end up going through Cody WY, on the main highway west of town, look for South Fork Road. Beautiful road and several boondocking camps about 15+ miles down that road!

  8. Ron says:

    If I remember right that J has a island out front that is marked off for the RV. Parking there is much quieter and safer it is well lit ,no big trucks idling all night no fumes. I spent a lot of nights in that Flying J and others up and down the road when I was delivering new rvs
    The j in Cheyenne isnt very good for campers nor the one in Casper

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Thanks for the info on Cheyenne and Casper, Ron. The front of this Flying J was very congested when we pulled in yesterday. The large area blocked off for construction may have something to do with that. I didn’t even see the RV island I had read about in my research.

      I parked waaaay back in the corner. The truckers had plenty of room to park . . . As it turns out, no one parked on either side of us and all three of us slept through the night. I actually slept better than at Freeman Campground . . . no critters clanging the garbage can at 2 a.m.!

  9. Ray says:

    Astute observation re gulls. Not to be to picky but bird books, and real birders, do not call them sea gulls – just “gulls”.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      I’m the first to admit I’m no birder! Thanks for making the distinction about gulls for me, Ray. I wonder if they used to be sea gulls and then migrated inland becoming simply gulls. What do I know . . .

  10. Wow, I would have had a hard time leaving that nice campsiter you where at. Was it a free one???

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Freeman Campground is a national forest campground. The nightly fee is $12. For seniors with the lifetime pass it’s only $6. I intended to boondock in the forest, but at the entrance to the forest, once you drive through an area of private land, there’s a sign saying you can only camp within Freeman Campground. That’s okay. It certainly was worth $6. Pretty surroundings, not to mention daily trash pick-up . . . .

  11. Pat says:

    I remember Rawlins, closest place to shop. I lived in Hanna about a 45 min drive east. That was if the roads were open and no blizzard….lol. The
    wind would blow from sunup to sundown.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      This is a windy place! In researching the area I read a conversation on a truckers’ forum. They were talking about the interstate closing due to a blizzard. Snow fences are everywhere. I wouldn’t want to be here in winter! It probably snows sideways.

      • Ron says:

        Believe me that area can be wild ,wind snow are just part of the weather there. I got snowed in at Rocksprings once for three days.
        I always like the Js better than the Wally Worlds for a quick over nighter . Some of the Walley Worlds are not in the best locations. The only J I was ever uncomfortable in was at Memphis most are easy in and out and well lite.

  12. DesertHawk says:

    There is a nice Visitor Center/Rest Area across from the Flying J in Cheyenne (same exit on I-25); we have never overnighted there, but have stopped many times. Seems like I have read reports of people overnighting there, fairly large area(s) for parking, I remember. Seems like the WY Rest Area allow sleeping overnight, not camping:

    • DesertHawk says:

      Walmart Supercenter

      4308 Grand Avenue, Laramie WY 82070

      July 2011: Overnight with at least a dozen other rigs. Jun 2011: OK overnight parking, back of the lot gets crowded with RVs late June to August with Yellowstone traffic.

      4255 Cy Ave, Casper WY 82604

      Aug 2011: We spent two nights here with many other RVs in the parking lot. There is one entrance marked no trucks, due to a winding uphill turn. All other entrances are unmarked.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        Someone — I think it was Geri — recently commented that I have an angel on my shoulder. I’m beginning to think that’s you, DesertHawk! LOL Thanks again.

  13. I have been reading your post although have not responded lately. I have the flu and I am still feeling miserable. I don’t know how you can do your blog every day, all the pictures and beautiful writings. I started my blog and I get exhausted just posting pictures and trying to figure out how to do it never mind write something interesting. Finding time to do it every day. I applaud you for doing such a great job!

    • By the way in case you don’t realize,,,,, freespiritwoman is
      Sharon Gulezian from Florida.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        I appreciate your help remembering who you are. It gets confusing for me trying to keep everyone straight. I need to start keeping notes! Sorry you have the flu.

        About blogging . . . Sometimes it is tough to get a post with photos out every day, especially if my computer has the flu. Having taught language arts, at first it was difficult to let go of the formal rules for writing. . . Once I realized blogging is not essay writing, I was freed up to put out a post quickly. I can’t edit the way I want because there’s no time for that!

        Blogging is a way to reflect on the day. Like anything, it gets easier as time goes by.

        Get well soon, Sharon. Thanks for writing!

  14. Reine says:

    “3 hrs. is about all I want to drive in a day” Good for you for determining how far you can comfortably drive and planning your stops accordingly. You may not spend every night in fantastic surroundings but you won’t have an accident because you’ve pushed yourself too far. As I get older, I’m finding that understanding my limits is getting more important.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      “Understanding limits” . . . so true, Reine! In fact, the opposite — not understanding limits — would make a good definition for what is youth!

      Actually ol’ Flying J isn’t bad at all. It’s an easy overnighter. It may not be pretty but we got a good night’s sleep and the internet signal is four bars!

  15. Renette says:

    hello again,
    as always, enjoying your blog a lot. will be heading towards big sky country in a week or so. like you, 3 to 4 hours is all the driving i can stand. I have a casita question for you. since your batteries and solar panal are on the ptv, how does your refrigerator run when you go touring? The refrigerator has been the usual deciding factor when we decide to move. just wondering.
    p.s. i have a 2010 ld casita.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hi, Renette!

      The refrigerator runs on propane (except for the electronic panel which doesn’t draw much and runs off the house battery). Usually I turn off the propane tanks and the refrigerator when driving. The fridge stays cool for the three hours or so that we’re on the road. I have made an exception on an extremely hot day, leaving the propane and fridge on.

      BTW, the solar power from the panel being stored in the PTV’s AGM batteries also travels to the house battery as we go down the road. So all three batteries are charged by the sun and the PTV’s alternator.

      Have a wonderful trip! I love my Liberty Deluxe. Hope you feel the same about yours!

  16. cinandjules says:

    Good morning,

    Rawlins, WY………..know it well…we got stuck there for three days driving across. Between the winds, freeze (in early May) it was certainly a test. Oh and the winds of WY…drive safe if you’re headed over Elk Mt if it’s windy.

  17. Pat says:

    If you are still in Rawlins, get off of 80 at Walcott Jct. Turn right and take that road to Laramie. Not as windy. I used it when I lived in Hanna.

  18. Pat says:

    Turn left not right. You can get to Laramie either way, but left is easier to drive.

  19. Ginger Davies says:

    I just stumbled across your blog and fell in love with it. I went back and read a lot of your older posts, and then clicked on “follow”. I saw one of your posts where you wondered if you should change anything….no, it is perfect just the way it is. I would love to be living your life right now.

    • rvsueandcrew says:

      Hello, Ginger! Nice to hear from you. Welcome to my blog and thank you for following along.

      I can honestly say that I’m loving living my life right now. I hope you continue to enjoy my blog!

  20. cinandjules says:

    Glad it wasn’t too windy for you and the crew.

    I have a question and please forgive me if you’ve already answered it on a previous blog. Do you have a final destination you are headed to? Or do you move every couple of days because you need to? We found some lovely places….that if we weren’t on a schedule we would have stayed longer. It just seems like with the price of gas………..if you found “that” lovely place…you would relax for a minute or two.
    Our “kids” knew if mom was rearranging the inside of the RV (ie getting the crates out) we were moving on. We only drove 4 hours a day…so they wouldn’t go bonkers! They seemed more relaxed when we stayed more than one night at a location.

    And lastly…..Do you cook inside the BLT?

    • cinandjules says:

      PS: I know you’re headed to S Dakota…I meant a final destination?

      We used this website when we didn’t want to stay in a KOA.

      • rvsueandcrew says:

        I’ve been fulltiming since last August. Since then we’ve stayed up to 24 days without changing camps . . . in Elephant Butte, NM, Ajo, AZ, Ash Fork, AZ, and other places. I’ve been driving around with SD plates and registration and a GA driver’s license. Once I’ve obtained a SD driver’s license, I won’t have a destination (and therefore will stay put more often) other than going back to southern AZ for the winter. I don’t move much in winter. Summer is my time to travel.

        Why am I in a hurry to get to SD? Because the sooner I get there, the more time I’ll have to enjoy Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone, the Grand Tetons, the National Parks in southern Utah, maybe Mesa Verde, etc. on the journey back to southern AZ before the snow hits.

        I used to cook a lot in the BLT. This diet I’m on has me eating less prepared foods so I’m not cooking as much… steaming vegetables, perking coffee, and making oatmeal is about it.

        Thanks for the link.

  21. DesertHawk says:

    Just found a link to this site on one of the Casita Forums:

    Might be a help???

  22. Carol says:

    there is a city park, much like the one you describe in DeSmet, SD,no chharge for the skeeters.My hubby and I boon docked on an oil lease nine miles from NewcastleWy for a year,and the wind blew constantly, by the way, when the snow blows sideways,it’s called a blizzard!Not cool

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