Road Tripping and storm chasing in Wyoming

Storm Chasing in Wyoming

Until my recent road trip from Denver to Seattle, I confess the state of Wyoming was not really on my travel radar. Road Trip Wyoming

Unminivan moments - Ford Transit Connect Road Trip

I knew it was there, of course. I just didn’t know what it had to offer. Having now spent the better part of two much-too-short days road tripping through the southern part of the state in our Ford Transit Connect, the verdict is in… the #OrthAmerica crew LOVES Wyoming.

Road Tripping and storm chasing in WyomingWe drove straight to Wyoming the morning after we flew in to Denver. Our agenda called for a few stops at quirky #unminivan attractions — extra large cowboy boots in Cheyenne, a curious Abraham Lincoln head at a visitor center and the Ames Monument, a pyramid seemingly constructed in the middle of nowhere. It once marked the highest point on the transcontinental railroad at 8,247 feet, and it’s dedicated to the Ames brothers who had much to do with the railroad’s construction back in the 1860s.

Road Tripping and storm chasing in WyomingThe tracks have long since been relocated, so now the pyramid is little more than a lonely monolith out on the plain.

Road Tripping and storm chasing in Wyoming
Visiting the Ames Monument, near Laramie, WY

Admittedly, the Ames Monument really isn’t much to write home about.

There wasn’t a soul around when we visited, though I appreciated experiencing an attraction I didn’t have to share with a rabid throng. (Three days before I was at the grand opening of Diagon Alley at the Wizarding World of Harry Potter in Orlando, and the calm couldn’t have been a more welcome contrast.)

Was it a must-see site? Maybe not. But….

Road Tripping and storm chasing in Wyoming

… our trip to the pyramid was not wasted time. In fact, it was just the beginning of our adventure.

Road Tripping and storm chasing in WyomingIf we hadn’t left the highway to meander down the gravelly road toward the Ames Monument, we never would’ve experienced the breathtaking thunderheads rolling down the mountains and across the farmland to the south.

If we hadn’t left the beaten path, we’d have missed some of the best memories of our whole road trip.

Road Tripping and storm chasing in Wyoming
 RaeRae in the rear view

I have no regrets in my career choices – clearly I love what I do and I’m happy to do it. But if I had it to choose majors all over again, I might like to be a scientist of some sort… likely either a geologist or a meteorologist. Geology is an obvious choice because I’m super excited about plate tectonics and yeah, geology rocksRoad Trip Wyoming

But I’m also mesmerized by severe weather. Maybe growing up in Florida made me a little wacky for tornadoes, hurricanes and lightning? Road Trip Wyoming

Road Tripping and storm chasing in Wyoming

As the clouds built and multiplied and began to swirl, I half expected a tornado to wriggle down from the angry-looking cell. I certainly wouldn’t have minded so long as no one got hurt or lost property.

Road Tripping and storm chasing in Wyoming

Alex and Rae were ready to get the heck out of Dodge BEFORE the situation escalated to tornadic proportions, but we lingered at the edge of the storm anyway. Road Trip Wyoming

It was too beautiful to drive away.

Road Tripping and storm chasing in WyomingWhile the Ames Monument and the swirling storm clouds distracted us from the highway for a little while, our hunger eventually convinced us to hop back in the Ford and head West. As we continued down the road, making our way from Cheyenne through the Snowy Range and up to Rawlins for the night, we stopped a dozen more times to stop and gawk at the weather.Road Trip Wyoming

The storms followed us for the rest of the day and for once, we couldn’t have been happier about it.

Road Tripping and storm chasing in Wyoming

Coming up next… our visit to the Snowy Mountain RangeRoad Trip Wyoming

I am DEFINITELY going back to experience more of Wyoming when I have time to explore it fully. Have you been? Do you have recommendations? Is the Ames Monument the type of attraction you’d visit?


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Storm Chasin' and Road Trippin' in Wyoming - How this state became our favorite destination in the world!
Storm Chasin' and Road Trippin' in Wyoming - How this state became our favorite destination in the world!
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  • July 28, 2014

    Wyoming is such a cool state. I’ve only been to Yellowstone Nat’ Park (which was amazing – if you go, try to drive in or out on Beartooth Highway, which may be the most interesting landscape I’ve ever seen), but there are so many other things I’d like to go back and see, like the Tetons, Jackson Hole, Bighorn Canyon, and Devil’s Tower.

    I’d never heard of the Ames Monument and your pictures of the storm are stunning. (I’m also loving your absolutely perfect travel outfits!)

    • August 04, 2014

      Thanks, Polly! The outfits were carefully coordinated as you can imagine =) Didn’t expect the dramatic weather backdrop though – we were really lucky! Hoping to get back out to Wyoming ASAP to visit all the parks. Didn’t have time this go ’round, but certainly on the bucket list for next time!

  • July 29, 2014

    i absolutely LOVE storms! The sky looks so scary and amazing… very cool girl!

    • August 04, 2014

      Thanks, Rachel! It was a little scary as it got closer, so we hightailed it out of there just in time!

  • August 03, 2014

    I’ve always been fascinated by tornadoes and would love to do a storm chaser tour one day in the States. I doubt there’d be an insurance company to cover me though. Great piece with some inspiring pics – thanks for sharing!

    • August 04, 2014

      Wouldn’t that be amazing?! My mom would absolutely kill me if I did an official tornado tour… but maybe we just wouldn’t tell her until after.

  • August 04, 2014

    You have the cutest photo ideas! Looks like a beautiful state. Your road trip has me quite jealous!

    • August 25, 2014

      Awww, thanks! I find it’s so much easier to take fun photos with travel partners. Totally different traveling with bro & sis, but that’s one of the biggest upsides.

  • August 04, 2014

    Very cool. We’ve never really considered a visit to Wyoming, but you never know what’s in the cards for us. Love your dark moody photos complete with ominous clouds!

    • August 25, 2014

      I was so surprised by Wyoming – I think you guys would like it, too!

  • August 04, 2014

    There is nothing better than watching a storm roll through town! When I lived in Vegas, I LOVED watching them come from the mountains and just dump down on the valley. This sounds like such fun! I have never been to Wyoming, but I have such an obsession with that part of the US. I really want to explore it more.

    • August 25, 2014

      I didn’t realize Vegas got big storms – that WOULD be awesome to watch!

  • August 06, 2014

    wow this looks so scary and amazing at the same time! we don’t really get storms like these in England. xx

  • August 10, 2014

    Wow, that sky is amazing!!! I would have stayed as well. After all, isn’t that part of the adventure. We’ve never been to Wyoming and may now consider it after the beautiful pictures! 🙂

  • August 11, 2014

    WOW — awesome backdrop for photos! Stunning! Once again, I submit my petition to be included in all future Orth sibling adventures…

  • December 30, 2014

    Looks like you had a great time! We have a friend that is a storm chaser. We should introduce you, maybe you could join him I one of his expeditions!

    • December 31, 2014

      Oooh yes! That would be a dream come true – I’ve always wanted to do that!

  • January 28, 2015

    Wow, that sky is amazing,Love your moody photos complete with dark clouds,thanks for sharing us.

  • May 26, 2015
    Kim H.

    Lovely!! I grew up in Wyoming up near Yellowstone and now being an East coaster I really miss those wide open spaces and gorgeous clouds…

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