A collection of distilled sarcastic wisdom, numerous photographs, discussions of books and stuff to learn and more stuff to think about from a retired economics professor turned blogger and photographer.
If you are tired of the hustle and bustle of the city, the congestion, the rude drivers cutting you off on the way to the store or to work, the ignorant dolts running red lights, the hours of wasted commuting time, etc., etc., consider buying the Town of Buford Wyoming. Located midway between Cheyenne and Laramie WY in southeastern Wyoming, the town has its own zip code, its own post office, a gas and a convenience store, and a variety of other amenities, parking lots, etc. The town comes with its own official state population sign: Buford, Population 1. I am not kidding. Please copy and paste the above web address for details. Then send me my commission if you decide to buy it.
I would never have known about this great offer except for information provided by my sister Ann who tends to know stuff unbeknownst to ordinary mortals. Ann, of course, has just bought, or is now buying , 12 chickens, a topic on which I have professionally commentated ad nauseum pro bono res ipsa loquitor.
Having lived in both Laramie and Cheyenne (Buford is about midway, or 24-26 miles away) from both urban areas where there are streets, fast food joints, and other manifestations of 21st Century civilization. I can verify that you may have to deal with whiteout blizzards, road closures, drivers along I-80 from places like Arizona or Southern Calif who will stop by in a state of utter shock and who mutter things like "I will never drive this way again." That is pure cowardice. When I lived in Cheyenne, and worked for the Wyoming Legislature, and lived in Laramie, as a student and later professor at the University of Wyoming, we thought nothing of taking off on I-80 in the middle of a whiteout blizzard. In those primitive days the Highway Patrol hadn't even thought about the possibility of road closing barriers.
So if y0u are sick of living where more than 1 person resides, consider Buford. You could be Mayor, Town Council, Postmaster, and, who knows, with these qualifications you might even run for Governor of Wyoming and move on into Cheyenne to the Governor's mansion. But then you would have to sell Buford again to the next aspiring hermit who wants to live amongst the finest manifestations Mother Nature has to offer. I thought seriously about buying Buford in lieu of moving to Ralston WY, pop 110 or so, five miles west of my home town of Powell WY and where I lived nearby during WWII. But, even though I don't drink, Ralston has at least a pub, and it is comforting to watch the pickup trucks mosey in to the pub (not a bar, for pity's sake, Ralston is a sophisticated place, after all) and depart to weave down Wyoming highways on their way home.
Being loyal to my home state of Wyoming, this article is provided as a public service announcement in my continuing efforts to inform my viewers about the great and wonderful state of Wyoming. I'd still rather live in Wyoming than in Utah. Except for the whiteout blizzards. And the 2 1/2 month summer growing season in Laramie. But I still have fond memories of Wyoming.
I decided that today is Wyoming Day. So, in honor of my home state, here are a few photos of the vast expanses of air and space that make up most of the state. If you are thinking Yellowstone and Grand Tetons, forget it. Sagebrush, snow fences, brush, vast blue skies, and peaceful nothingness stretch as far as the eye can see. I still get homesick for the wide open spaces of Wyoming. So, if you traveled from southwest Wyoming to central Wyoming and beyond, here are a few views of what you might see. Just watch out for the antelope, these beautiful animals come streaking out of nowhere and run like the wind, so keep your eyes open.
A blurry picture, but it captures the old--cattle--and the new--natural gas, the new wealth of Wyoming.
See what I mean?
The honor roll of Japanese young men from the Heart Mountain Japanese "Relocation" Center, i.e., prison camp, who voluntarily honored the country that incarcerated their families. We lived just four miles or so away from the "camp" during WWII, and we could see the searchlights from the guard towers sweeping the countryside from our windows. Something to weep over and think about. Too small to read the names, but the list speaks for itself.
During my tenth-through-twelfth years of my life, our family lived only a few miles from the Heart Mountain internment camp for Japanese persons, euphemistically called "Relocation Center." Double click so you can read the message. I have never recovered from the sadness and hopelessness we felt during this travesty. This replica of the notice is posted on the site of the Heart Mountain Relocation Center, east of Cody WY.
The University of Wyoming is not exactly beloved in Utah. Most Utahns know nothing about the fact that UW is a fine school with many outstanding academic departments. Funding a state university in Wyoming is expensive, relatively, in a sparsely populated state since all professional areas including law, engineering, pharmacy, and many others must be accredited. Unfortunately, what most Utahns remember Wyoming for is the drinking, unruly behavior, and vulgar chants when BYU plays Wyoming in Laramie. Apparently this behavior is not anything that is going to go away soon. However, I am still proud of my degree from the University of Wyoming. My mother, my sister and my wife all graduated from Wyoming, and my oldest son is a graduate of the UW Law School. Aside from the entertainment that putting these stickers on my car affords me when incredulous Utah types are shocked to see them, one of the other main advantages is that they help us find our car in parking lots when we can see the bright yellow ovals. And when I long for howling winter winds, whiteout blizzards, 25 below days in January, road closures on I-80 east to Cheyenne and west to Rawlins, I take a little nostalgia trip and wish I could be back in Laramie where I spent four years as a University janitor while working my way through school. I've always been partial to student janitors in every school where I have since taught or attended. They are completely serious about getting an education as they work late at night and start early in the morning. Besides, not all UW football fans are rotten. You just wish the rotten ones would shut up.
I left home just after my 17th birthday to attend the University of Wyoming. I had no money, no job, and only a 1941 Ford to travel the 400 plus miles from my home in northern Wyoming to Laramie WY on a cold and icy day. My first quarter at school, I stayed with my high school friend from Powell in a room fixed up for college students who worked at the dairy farm. The room was on the second floor of the sheep barn. For several months, I reeked of sheep lanolin every where I went although we had at leat a dozen bottles of airwick in our room. Here I am in this photo with my favorite bovines at the University Dairy Barn, which was converted from the original Wyoming State Prison, now converted back to the Wyoming State Territorial Prison as a tourist attraction. After this experience of getting up at 4:30 to help with the milking and then going to school at 8, plus my chores of helping with the milking at the family farm in Penrose, I vowed that the only milk I ever wanted to see the rest of my life would come in glass, paper, or plastic containers. I have never gone near another cow since then. But thanks to the University Dairy Farm, I got my start in college at the University of Wyoming and was able to make my way from there to getting my degree in agriculture in 1953. After getting my Master's degree in agricultural economics from Montana State, I decided agriculture and farming were fun to think about but not to do. So I switched to general economics for the rest of my 45 year teaching career.
Not great photos from a moving car, but good enough to give you an idea of the natural gas wealth of southwest Wyoming
The Farson Merc, famous for monster-sized ice cream cones, and the last stop before going down South Pass and reaching Lander. Used to be small grocery here, now just ice cream and lunch stuff. If you have legal problems, a law office is on second floor, going up rickety stairs with bannister loose mostly from the wall. Coed restroom up half a flight of stairs. The girl working the ice cream counter turned out to be from Pleasant Grove UT. Farson is a tiny agricultural community founded by a project to irrigate the high desert. We've stopped here countless times. A small ice cream cone is $2, which is large enough for three people.
Stuffed critters at the Evanston WY rest stop View of Evanston WY from the highway rest stop The familiar red, white, and blue Wyoming State flag with the buffalo and the State seal. I lived in Wyoming for 29 years and my wife and I were both raised there. So Wyoming is still home and Utah a foreign land. East from Kemmerer toward South Pass. Our trip will be two lane Wyoming highways from Evanston nearly to Powell WY. Below is a typical Wyoming prairie scene, but watch out for the antelope which can run at extremely fast speeds and the deer, not to mention a stray cow or two here and there and a bald eagle on a fence post. The Naughton coal fired power plant south of Kemmerer. Fueled by low sulfur coal from the Chevron U.S.A. Coal Mine, the deepest open-pit coal mine in Wyoming which produces 40,000 tons of coal per week. You can read about the Chevron Coal Mine here. Kemmerer is famous for being the location of the mother J.C. Penney store. I asked the store clerk at the convenience store if that day was a slow day and she replied "Every day is a slow day in Kemmerer."