Most of the fair-weather treasure searchers are in hibernation. They probably are resting by the fireplace drinking spiked apple cider, or something worse. Some are sitting on the kitchen counter with their feet in a sink full of hot water. Anything to keep warm. Right?
Nope, not true of the Gypsy from Georgia. The first week in December she filled her black Ford 250 with gas and aimed its radiator at Montana, a gazillion miles away. Blinded by a flush feeling of anticipation, she had an idea that couldn’t wait until spring. Her husband said she was “born goin out the door.”
Alone, and with a financially under privileged budget, the Gypsy struck across the guts of America: Georgia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Missouri,
Nebraska, and Wyoming, where next to zilch could endure the -38 degree temps.
“In Cheyenne,” she said, “I was so cold I had to go to Cabela’s and charge me some warm clothes. Kept tags on so I could return them after my adventure. I went out to eat one morning, lil ole man pointed out I had my tags still attached to my coat. I said I’m Trying to bring the Minnie Pearl look back. 🙂 Lil did he know I even still had the tags on my under amour :-)”
The wind howled across Wyoming where the Gypsy put chains on her tires. “It was so cold,” she said, “I huddled tight against the wind and pretended there were four of us.”
(click on “WIND” below to see short video)
The Georgia Peach was making mental notes about western road travel. In Rock Springs, she noted that the hotel mattress was better on the side away from the phone. And nearing Pinedale, where she hoped to visit the Mountain Man Museum, she learned not to drive on an icy road while eating a Subway sandwich. She said, “My Ford 250 spun around, dodging semis, and landed in the median; my tuna sandwich still clinched tightly in my fist. I put that baby in 4-wheel drive and gassed it. The thought in my head, as I was spinning out of control, ohhhhhhh damn, this is sure gonna hurt :-)” There were signs on the road saying how many ppl died on the highways for 2013. The whole ride I was like, omg I don’t wanna be number 349.”
Mountain Man Museum was closed for the season
“I was on my last 7 miles to West Yellowstone, on the home stretch coming down hwy 20. At the last moment, I see 2 semis sitting in the left and right lanes. I couldn’t stop. I totally lost control again thinking ohhhhhh hell I’m gonna hit a loaded tanker truck. Somehow, my 250 manage to miss them, but I landed in a 4-foot ditch of snow. The semi drivers were rude and a lil slow minded. They had no dash at all. A cop, a handsome cop from Michigan helped me dig out as much as we could but then I got a tow truck. The driver, he asked what I was doing in Yellowstone. I said I must be lost. I didn’t dare say I was looking for Fenn’s treasure. Lol. He didn’t believe me so I stood on my tip-toes.”
“I was really wanting a hamburger and a hot bowl of chili at The Gusher in West Yellowstone, but it was closed for the season.”
When the Gypsy finally reached her isolated search spot near the north side of Hebgen Lake, she said, “Nothing was watching but me and the wind. I sensed the treasure was right there – and all of the clues fit perfectly. The blaze was winking at me and grinning, and I was grinning back.”
When a grizzle of an old man told her the ice on Hebgen was 4’ thick, she wisely decided to wait until spring. “The treasure chest was probably frozen in for the winter anyway, and I didn’t have a jackhammer. LOL.”
The easiest way out of the ice was north. “I cut up thru Bozeman and took 90 toward Sheridan, Wyoming. 80-mile winds plus icy highways made for one hell of a ride. I got thru a bad spot where 18 semis were tossed on their sides. I counted them. I made it thru right before they closed 90 :-)”
“The distant warmth of summer was on my mind, and I was 2,600 miles from John Wayne.” (her rooster) The Gypsy said she enjoyed being alone on the long journey. She had time to think and she learned a lot. “I found that experience is something you don’t get until just after you need it. I won’t make some of those mistakes again.” She said she was anxious to get home so she could return her coat to Cabela’s. Everyone loves a happy ending. ff