Doug and I started the day in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We headed north to the Travel Center just outside the metropolis of Chugwater, Wyoming. Thought we would maybe try to intercept the convection coming off the mountains to the west so we took the only road west out of town, WY 211. It soon turned to the SW and we ran into some more chasers from Australia. They were concerned about continuing further, based on the quality of the road. We continued on and I was soon breaking my “no off pavement driving” rule.
Our Australian friends were right – we shouldn’t have bothered. The road kept getting worse and (checkerboard and ruts), and a few times it took some stern concentration to avoid bottoming out. It was disconcerting and worrying, even if it was so very beautiful out there – we did not want to get stuck out there. I was so concerned and focused on getting us safely through I never even took the camera out to capture any of the wonderful vistas. It was the edge of nowhere. The storms to the west had shriveled up and were not an issue. We frequently encountered livestock on the road and had to laugh at one obviously pregnant cow that did not want to move!
There were pockets of civilization (it wasn’t as if we were crossing the Zambezi River!). This is ranch country – and we are talking HUGE ranches! We passed through the group of buildings for the ‘True Hu’ ranch – and then Doug saw it!! A beautifully preserved early 70’s Challenger – his favorite! Out here!! Eventually the road transitioned back to being a nice highway.
We eventually ended up back in Cheyenne – yes, where we stated – as it was the only place the road went. We didn’t miss anything storm wise, and zipped up I-25 (speed limit 80 mph!), retracing our steps, back to the Travel Center at Chugwater. We there encountered some chasers and spent the next few hours hanging out with Charles Edwards, Rocky Rascovich, and Dr. Jason Pearsoff. We kept watching for convective initiation but it was slow in coming.
Eventually the Cumulus became agitated to our north and started to form in to Congestus. We headed north on I-25 to Wheatland where Jason, Doug, and I broke of and tandemed up to and east on US 26. We skirted north of the developing reflectivity and encountered some dime-sized hail. We stopped to observe just east of Guernsey, WY, where Doug and I continued east (we were heading home at that point).
I kept an eye on things as we continued towards Fort Laramie and noticed that it underwent rapid development and was suddenly very picturesque. We pulled over and Jason called to tip us off regarding the development as I was taking the camera out. I then took this sequence of images that were a nice cap-off to the chase of 2015!
Had some nice structure with a flared base and a scuddy lowering:
Crepuscular rays enhanced the scene:
The anvil spread out!
Even if the scuddly lowering had dissipated, we were left with a nice Western storm scene, with the center-pivot irrigation rig in the lower left of the image:
A closer look at the base:
We has crossed and parked next to the railroad tracks – we soon had a visitor! So it became an impromptu Train Spotting opportunity!
It was big (I know my commercial planes, but not so much with trains)!
It was a Coltrane (inside musician joke)!
Cell with train:
More crepuscular rays:
And the end of the train (which could pass for the front of the train)!
And one more with the center-pivot: