On the morning of day five, we headed over to Hot Springs to eat at Baker's Bakery Cafe for breakfast, recommended by Sidekick and her parents and then headed down to Hot Springs, our ultimate destination being Cousin's in Cheyenne.
I was still on my childhood re-creation trip when I added Hot Springs to our "to-do" list.
Thirty-odd years ago we stopped at Evans Plunge, which I remembered as the biggest pool I had ever seen in the world (the view I remember looked a bit more like this picture) and, because spring water flows into it (at a rate of 5000 gallons a minute), the water is warm--87 degrees.
As a kid, this was a highlight of the trip.
We arrived at an entirely anti-climatic, small, and seemingly not-updated dirty building with peeling paint on all sides. We were thinking of the four hours of driving ahead of us to Cheyenne when I asked BioMom to take a little 'look-and-see' without promising anything to the kids on whether or not we'd go in for a swim.
She came out all thumbs down. The mineral water makes the whole place sort of smell and it felt really run down to her.
BioMom: Why don't you go in and take a look? Looks pretty gross to me.
I went in and was propelled back in time. I ran back to the car and insisted on the healing powers of the mineral water and that we'd regret this opportunity for nostagia if we didn't spend an hour or so in the pool.
It was all I had imagined (after you got past the clammy feeling of the women's locker room on your feet). I was sure it must have been much worse thirty years ago, as my mother would never have gone somewhere that had banned smoking on its premises.
The water was not as warm as I had remembered (maybe its the added body fat?) but the new slides and outdoor area were fantastic. Eight must have gone down the "plunge" twenty times. It was essentially a slide that dropped 30 feet or so into the water. The smell and feel of the water was rejuvinating and it reminded me of the hot pools in Budapest as well as other natural springs around the world.
We stayed in for about an hour and a half and headed out on the road to big sky country at 85 miles per hour toward Cousin. We luckily followed her advice to get gas as there was literally only about three stations along the way, drove through a small snow storm, past racing coal trains, and vast nothingness toward her house.
Pictures to follow.