A Springtime Road Tour of Wyoming

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Bill Sniffin
Bill Sniffin
Perhaps it was the dust blowing off where water used to be in Boysen Reservoir during a downpour that typified what spring means in Wyoming.
 
We were on the final leg of a series of road trips throughout the state and had seen about everything over a three-week period.
 
If the four seasons of Wyoming were siblings in a family, spring would be the family member the others would describe as a passive-aggressive nut case. Or someone who has no idea where he’s been, where he is now or where he is going.  
Spring could also be called that crazy aunt whose unpredictability means she will always rock the boat and upset your applecart. Whatever you have planned for Wyoming in spring, well, you always need a back-up plan.
 
Did I say that spring in Wyoming was unpredictable?  Looney, wild-eyed spontaneous is a more reliable description.
 
Thus, as Nancy and I departed on these trips over mountain passes and through mountain gaps, it was with the full knowledge that weather could change at any time.  We had winter gear stored in the back of the rig along with a cooler of emergency rations.
 
The first trip to Rawlins involved some stunning weather – it was not blowing . . . the wind was calm.   Beaver Rim and Muddy Gap are two of the most interesting weather locales in western Wyoming but on this trip, both were just as surprisingly tame as downtown Rawlins.
 
Thanks to Jill and Mark Carrico at Bi-Rite Sporting Goods for hosting a book signing. 
 
The following week we journeyed on the newly-constructed federal highway 287 over Togwotee Pass to Jackson. Visited with Mike Gireau at Jackson Hole Airport. It is amazing how big that airport is getting.  It is already, by far, the busiest airport in Wyoming but its size is amazing.  Gireau operates the Jedidiah’s gift stores and restaurants at that airport and the one in Cody.
 
Old friend Suzanne Young greeted us at Jackson Hole Book Traders. Steve Meadows hosted us at the 49er during our stay.  
 
The new developments at the Snow King Resort and also out to the Jackson Hole Ski Area were impressive.  I attended a Chamber of Commerce mixer at a pharmacy where they contend they can diagnose your ills by looking deep into your eyes.  Not sure I had ever heard of that before but they say the eyes are the keyholes into your soul, right?
 
The National Museum of Wildlife Art continues to grow and amaze.  A can’t miss stop, in my opinion.
 
I have always loved the historic Wort Hotel and its Silver Dollar bar.  A place for locals and tourists, alike.  A fun band was playing on this Friday night. 
 
Then it was home before heading out again for a loop drive to Sheridan.  
 
Ate one of the best scrambles ever for breakfast with old friend Pat Schmidt at the Little Wrangler in Thermopolis.  Then up to Worland and Tensleep and over the mountain to Buffalo and on to Sheridan for a book signing.  Robby Smith operates one of the best bookstores in Wyoming at Sheridan Stationery.  Lots of nice people bought lots of books.
 
Was involved in a power dinner that evening at the Powderhorn’s fine restaurant Reminginton’s hosted by local media mogul Kim Love.  He invited Sheridan Press publisher Steve Woody to join us.  Steve worked for me at the Lander Journal back in the mid-1970s.  It felt like old home week.
 
I joined Kim on the radio the next morning as Sheridan folks debated restrictions on buildings next to rivers and creeks.  The call-in show featured a variety of opinions.
 
Rotary hosted me that Friday to talk about my new book.  Brooke Barney was the song leader. She is a native of Lander and is an attorney in Sheridan.
That evening we journeyed down to Buffalo in tornado-threatened weather to have dinner with Jim and Mary Hicks at Winchester’s, an outstanding eatery.  What is it about these places being named after great gun builders?
 
In Casper we loaded up Vicki Burger with more books at Wind City Books.  She has sold over 200.
 
Then it was on to home where we planned to stick around for a while.
 
These cities and towns looked busy and optimistic during our odyssey that started with Rawlins, ended up in Dubois and Jackson and then on to Thermopolis, Worland, Sheridan, Buffalo and Casper.  
 
For someone who loves Wyoming as much as I do, this was an unbelievably wonderful adventure. 
 
 
 
Check out Bill Sniffin’s columns at www.billsniffin.com.  He is a longtime Wyoming journalist from Lander who has written four books. His most recent book is “Wyoming’s 7 Greatest Natural Wonders” which is available at www.wyomingwonders.com.
 
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