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Views Along 80 West

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Reclining in the passenger seat, post-pedicure, watching Big Sky country go by.


While most rest stops on the road between Chicago and Salt Lake City are pretty dull (even the Little America one, which tries so hard), there's one that's worth visiting. It doesn't sell anything cool -- doesn't sell anything at all, in fact -- nor are the bathrooms worth writing home about. I only noticed that there was anything out of the ordinary about it when I saw a dozen children in a plain dirt field, alternately standing very still and scampering excitedly.

The source of their excitement: the prairie dogs that populate burrows under the field. Evidently the animals have become accustomed to frequent human visitors, as they stood on my very feet in hopes that they could grab food off me somehow.

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In the absence of food, they'd take an iPhone.


I'd only caution against stopping at the Patrick Draw Rest Area, 41 miles east of Rock Springs, if you are traveling with a dog, as canines are forbidden at the stop and the scent of one will cause the prairie dogs to screech warning to each other and then disappear into their holes.

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