Long Road Trip Haiku

Driving through Wyoming can be terrifying, even when the terror comes from factors not of your own doing. I’ve gone through a white-out blizzard, two zero-visibility rainstorms (in the same trip, mind you), and snowy mountain passes in June. The eight-and-a-half hour trip from Denver to Jackson is more fraught with peril than a trip on modern roads really ought to be, and yet, I’m sometimes grateful for the occasional surges of adrenaline. This is because the alternative is eight and a half hours of mind-numbing boredom.

Up until the last hour and a half or so of the trip, Wyoming is bleak. A traveler crosses the Continental Divide twice, but both times leave a weary mind thinking WYDOT is playing some kind of practical joke. As a native Coloradan, I’m well aware that this is what most people have in mind when they mentally picture the Great Divide, and southern Wyoming looks nothing like that.

So when my last drive up to Jackson passed fairly uneventfully, my mind began to wander. I’d seen the landscape so many times that even the more majestic, mountainous region where the Wind River range peters out and the Grand Tetons are about to begin failed to inspire me. Instead, I started looking at road signs. And thinking how poetic they could be. And sharing the resulting poems with poor Ethan, who knows it is in his best interests to keep the driver happy.

“You should write those down,” he murmured, perhaps with some air of sincerity.

So here y’all go. Blame Ethan if you don’t like them.

1. Winter Dangers

Roads may be icy

Bridges freeze before roadways

Slower speeds advised.

2. Wildlife

Cattle guards ahead

Deer crossing when lights flashing

No fishing off bridge.

3. Recreation

No hunting allowed

KOA campground, next left

Services ahead.

4. Mountains are fun!

Rockslide area

No stopping, slide area

Avalanche danger.

5. And, finally, some National Park haiku:

Do not feed wildlife

Bears are wild, do not approach

Leave bison alone.

Ponder on that while you endure your next long road trip.

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