Leaving Old Faithful I was prepared or an easy drive out of the Rockies and into Wyoming's famous ranch land. Alas, I had one more stretch of America's purple mountain's majesty left that my Gulf Coast mind was not prepared for.
As I was crossing the Martian landscape of the valley around Bighorn Lake it didn't occur to me that, hey, I'd have to cross those imposing mountains on the other side. It wasn't until I pulled close enough to notice the spaghetti road on the R8's GPS that it occurred to me we'd be driving straight up those mountains.
If you're going to make such a trip, you can't do much better than an Audi R8 as it was basically designed around the concept of putting an engine as close to the center of the car and the wheels about as far out as possible.
Grip was not going to be a problem, just my nerves. I have a heights issue but I enjoy twisty mountain roads. It's a conundrum. I've done Deal's Gap with no issues and have an annual pass for Skyline Drive.
The Appalachians don't have anything on those up-and-coming Rockies, though, in terms of height. As if on a roller coaster, I approached the Bighorn Scenic Byway across US-14. I didn't want to look, but I had to look.
It's a better road than much of what you'll get in Shenandoah and certainly the Blue Ridge Parkway, although, like with those roads you're limited by your desire to not fly off a mountain or murder a cyclist.
My desire to not die was high so it wasn't until we got out of the cliff's edge section that I was able to unwind the car a little bit and I realized we'd now reached 9,400 feet of elevation. Somehow, this car that had crossed the tire-melting desert just a couple of days earlier was now right at home on the snow-lined roads.
I was less at home, but that's the point of a road trip. You have to be ready for it even if you don't know what "it" is all the time. People tend to call it adventure if they survive it, and adversity if they don't. So this was an adventure.
Or, to quote Steinbeck:
“A journey is like marriage. The certain way to be wrong is to think you control it.”