Moving to Rock Springs...from Houston, TX. Advice? (Cheyenne, Casper: sales, apartment)
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Moving to Rock Springs...from Houston, TX. Advice?
At the end of month I will be joining my boyfriend of 5 years, in rock springs, wy. We're young, ill be 24 in Jan. He has been there since May and has a nice 1 bedroom in a small duplex. So he is already settled.
I'm really looking foward to it not being a 105 degrees in the summer, and Houston is crazy humid. But the though of winter up north scares me. If its below freezing here...the schools and everyone buys all the peanut butter they can lol it means I own no winter clothing tho. Where is the best place to get stuff that? I'm not a fan of buying clothing online, are there local stores, or will I need to drive to salt lake or denver.
How is driving during the winter? Will I need chains, do they salt the roads?
Also, I've read some older posts that the crime and drug use is really bad. I don't go looking for trouble, and wouldn't just wander around at night, but my boyfriend works oil so he isn't always home, and he's not a built guy, he's my height and we are both pretty small. I have a dog, but she's only a 30lb beagle, not very protective. Will I have problems? Or is it really not bad if you don't make yourself a target.
Any tips on surving the winter? I'm sure we'll get bored being stuck inside, we've both always lived in Texas so this is completly new.
Also, sorry for any spelling errors, my laptop quit on me so I'm on my phone.
Having lived in the south for a while I can tell you people go into complete "idiot" mode when it snows, I have never seen anything like it. In Wyoming things don't shut down because of snow. We don't rush to the grocery because a flake of snow hits the ground and we don't act like the apocalypse is taking place. I still had to go to class in -30 temperatures with white out blizzard conditions, that's just the way it is. Wyoming requires a certain degree of (mental)toughness to deal with the winter, those who can, will thrive and enjoy Wyoming for everything it is.
As for driving in the snow I did not need chains most of the time. I always found it helpful to carry these items in your car: Tow rope, chains, and extra winter clothes. I have been stuck when no help was available for hours at a time but being prepared will help you if you get into a situation. Keeping an extra coat, gloves, and warm socks in your car is always a good idea. Because of the long distances between towns, it is essential to carry a winter survival kit in your car, just in case one of those pesky blizzards blows up and strands you somewhere.
Salting roads is not a good idea as it causes a thaw-freezing effect making it even more dangerous for drivers by creating black ice. Sand is sometimes used on highways. I know in Laramie they only plow two roads, otherwise your on your own. It is common to drive many miles without seeing the actual road surface during ground blizzards.
Now as for Rock Springs, I would consider it a generally safe town compared to Houston. Now when you ask a a Wyoming resident which cities in the state have "bad" crime/drugs, Rock Springs, Rawlins, and maybe even Casper would come to mind. But comparatively I don't think they are any worse than most cities in the U.S. Overall you will find Wyoming a very safe place to live.
Sierra Trading post in Cheyenne is the place you want to go. You can't beat their selection or prices for winter gear.
Chains - the only time I have ever used chains on the roads here, is when they put the Chain Law in effect. Normally, you won't see that because it goes from zero to blizzard so fast that they skip over chain law. lol It is advisable to have chains to get home when the chain law is in effect. If it is not, you can usually get around just fine without them. Normally, the road closes due to low visibility, not depth of snow.
It gets cold and you don't have the clothes you will need. You don't need anything fancy to go outside, unless you want to buy something fancy to go out in. Think layers, layers, and more layers. Don't go rushing out and buying a parka, you'll freeze to death in it. I feed horses with long johns, levi's, long sleeve t-shirt, denim shirt, sweater, hoodie, and bigger hoodie, and blue jean jacket. As it warms up, you can shed layers, with a parka, if it warms up, all you can do is shed the parka and then you'll freeze.
Don't let the cold keep you in so that you get cabin fever. THere is no reason to stay inside. Every morning I get up and check the thermometer, not to see if I'm going outside - because I AM Going outside, I check it to see how many layers I'll need.
In extreme conditions you might want something that will break the wind such as Carhart bib's. Remember to keep your head covered, your hands covered, and your feet dry. You'll do just fine.
Clothing: Sierra Trading Post in Cheyenne is a big deal regional supplier of heavily discounted overstocks/last year's models, where you can buy all the clothing that EHunter suggests. Stop by the store, or you can buy with confidence on-line. As well, Cabella's in Sidney NE has a great selection in the store and the catalogue sales ... again, buy with confidence, if you don't like what you've received for any reason, it will be refunded. Good folks, both, to do business with.
OTOH, Murdoch's has a store in Rock Springs which has a very good selection of all the utility clothing you could possibly ever need.
Look for Carhartt's ... these are serious/comfortable/durable outdoor/work clothing that has a style that's well accepted in the area. You'll not be out of fashion (or style) to be seen in their stuff for just about any function. I even wear their cotton work shirts and jeans when calling on my clients throughout the area, and I deal with suits as well as blue-collar workers. If you intend to spend a fair amount of time outside, consider a lined pair of Carhartt bib's; wonderful wind/cold/wet protection and easy to get on/off with the leg zippers and suspender straps. I use these all the time for farm/ranch chores in the winter because of the convenience ... and you'll fit right in anywhere in bad weather conditions with these. Nominally priced ... likely around $75 +/- on sale this fall. There are less expensive knock-off brands (Key, for example) that work almost as well, but don't seem to hold up or perform as well.
I also use Filson coats in the winter months, very sturdy, warm, weatherproof and comfortable. But these are old school wool clothing, and pricey if new. I inheirited several that are now 50+ years old and still wonderful ... very comfortable to drive in because they are breathable. I've bought a few more through the years, all but one were used off eBay. As well, old Pendleton wool coats for a little more dressy appearance ... kinda' like a college prof with elbow patches ... incredibly comfortable.
The advice for layering up is spot on. Don't try to get all your warmth and wind/water/snow protection from only one layer on top. Build up with lighter layers that can be managed, and then use a top outer layer that gives the protection you need. Take off or add layers as required for your comfort ... and you'll rarely want to have more than a couple once you are in a heated vehicle.
Key to all of this is you don't need to spend a lot of money on pricey fashion clothing/ski parka's to stay warm and comfortable. You'll see very little of that type of outdoor clothing in use here.
Murdoch's will have a good glove and hat selection for reasonable cost. Buy several and have them handy in your car and apartment so you won't get caught out without them.
Driving around will be a different experience. For the most part, any FWD or AWD car will do just fine in the metro Rock Springs area. If it's bad enough conditions where you can't get around with one of these, then it's conditions which you probably shouldn't be out in. Leaving town calls for checking the road conditions and the forecasts; if it's looking like a storm front will be moving through, it's not time to be on the road until you have experience with the conditions and an appropriate vehicle. Consider that it's not just you out on the road with your level of experience, but there can be others who don't handle the conditions very well.
True, too, the I-80 corridor sees a lot of commercial traffic that needs to get down the road and has little tolerance for those who cannot negotiate the conditions very well; ie, you may be driving prudently with appropriate caution for your vehicle and experience, but the semi's will be passing you at their normal speeds. Each passing can be a total white-out for you, virtually blind as to where the road is at until they've passed you some distance. It's a rather intimidating experience and a good reason to not be out in these conditions if not absolutely necessary.
Winter time activities will be something you'll have to sort out for yourself. Hobbies, social interests? Do you plan on having a job, going to school, or what are your plans?
Only you will be able to determine if the price/value ratio of being in Rock Springs is worth it to you. Nobody at this time can tell you what will present for this winter's weather pattern ... we all can only tell you what we've seen in the past. RS can be brutally cold and windy for much of a very long winter ... and the winds/gusts there aren't trivial. In a couple of months, the season will start again ... your BF has missed that for this last winter season, so it will be a new experience for both of you. Good luck on your move.
Wyoming Work Warehouse has clothing that will fit your needs and there is a Penny's and Herberger's as well as Sports Authority so you shouldn't need to go to Salt Lake for winter clothing. Drugs are a problem but I wouldn't worry too much about violent crime, although I would recommend staying out of some of the bars if you go in by yourself (most are pretty sleazy anyway).
As far as roads they aren't salted and I've only been out once and seen the chain law in effect. I do stay put in the winter most of the time. If I get cabin fever I check this site before I leave town:WYDOT Travel Information Service (Laramie)
I am also a southerner planning to move to WY, but to Cheyenne. I have a 2009 Honda Accord; will I be able to survive the winter driving conditions in an Accord? I have never driven with chains and am curious if folks in WY are good about helping out transplanted southerners until we get a clue? Also, I was told that snow didn't usually stay around very long when it snowed in Cheyenne. Was I given a bum steer (smile)?
Your Accord will do just fine in the driving conditions around Cheyenne. Best to have high quality all-season tires on it, and worth considering having a set of winter tires on it if you plan to travel beyond Cheyenne regularly. Slick streets due to ice is a more prevalent driving condition than rarely seen deep snow, with low visibility the secondary problem. Blowing snow will obscure your vision and blowing snow across a roadway may leave you with little idea as to where the road is.
Like others here, I've not used chains on any FWD or AWD vehicle in this region.
What one has to accept is that there will be days when travels in the area will be posted as "no unnecessary travel advised". As well, there will be days when either or both I-25 or I-80 will be closed to all traffic. Sometimes, the advisories and closures are for a number of hours, sometimes a day, sometimes ... for a few days. In town, however, is rarely shut down.
Snow generally doesn't stay around very long on the streets of Cheyenne on the main streets due to plowing, but residential side streets aren't maintained as well with the limited plowing resources. Due to altitude and dry climate, a lot of the snow will dissipate in time and the city relies upon that for clearing the streets. A big factor will be how much snow gets blown or drifted onto the street in localized areas, depending upon the storm direction and intensity. It is likely that drifts will form even after a storm has stopped snowing and this can happen for days after a storm due to the prevailing winds.
While you'll find folks in Wyoming will assist as needed if you appear to be stuck or have taken an excursion off the road, be aware that the interstate highways here are major commercial traffic routes. The semi's are capable of much higher speeds than your vehicle for many reasons and will continue on their routes. Passing one of these or being passed by one is oft times like driving into a white-out blizzard even when there's no snowstorm in progress at the time. Use extreme caution ... the problem is aggravated by your desire to get to where you are going and your car's ability to maintain a higher speed than the semi's on some of the grades around here. So you are passing them on the uphill grades, and they are passing you on the downhill due to their ability to go much faster.
I will be working, and am going to take a class or two online. I already have a BA in education. Both my bf and I have indoor hoobies, art and cooking for me and video games for him(he could play them for days if given the chance) so I don't think we'll be going out much. I do have a dog so provided she doesn't mind the cold ill be out walking her so that will get out me out most days.
Thanks for clothing suggestions, had no idea what brands were useful/pretty standard. Here we have hoodies and water proff coats, cause it storms pretty bad in the summer due to the "afternoon heat effect" as its called. I own a few thermals from riding horses in the mornings in Jan but that's about it. I don't need fancy or cute clothing, just stuff that will get the job done.
I don't have a fwd or awd drive, but plan to get one before thanksgiving, my parents are helping with that, but the bfs car is awd. Guess Ill just have to suck it up and drive, since ill have to go to work unless things are closed. I don't see us going anywhere out of town during the winter, so I80 shouldn't be a problem. Coming from never driving in white conditions, it just seems like a really stupid idea to try, y'all are much better at it.
We should only be there for 2 winters, then his contract is up, so I figrue we can do anything twice, it won't kill us lol.
All of the clothing ideas are good, but to be honest, as a person who has lived in Wyoming or Montana my whole life, I've never gone anywhere "special" for clothes! Like EH said, layering is good. Be sure to have a good pair (or more if you like to change it up!) of good, warm boots. For me, when I'm out recreationally I wear either my insulated hiking boots or if in snow my Sorel snow boots. Going back & forth to work, the store, etc. I just wear pull on boots like UGGS, etc. My feet always get cold first! Unless you are going out of town in the winter you will get around R.S. just fine. As others have said, you should do fine going out on the highways, too. It will just take some getting used to. My brother & his wife have been in R.S. for 2 years (he is a teacher, too) and they say they get about anything they need there, but they do enjoy going to SLC for some fun & shopping once in awhile. Welcome to Wyo!
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