“It’s too late for you! You’re already in the hole!”

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Reporting to you live from Thermopolis, Wyoming. This humble western town will receive extensive treatment in the next post, but for now, let’s trace out how we got here.

The short answer is by driving really fast over vast stretches of emptiness.  With our heartland diversions behind us, we got back on 20 as we left Douglas – at which point there wasn’t a town for miles and barely more than a dozen vehicles on the road.  With only open road in front of us, I gunned it to 90 and took in the desolation.  When people talk about the lonesome west, they’re talking about Wyoming.

The reemergence of human habitation came in the form of oil derricks – we had arrived in oil country.  We pulled off 20 in Casper, infamous for playing host to the Teapot Dome scandal and Dick Cheney’s childhood.  And, with a population of 55,000 people, it stands as the second-largest city in the state.  A quick trip downtown led us to find this fountain, a testament to the region’s lifeblood.

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Our stop in Casper constituted more than just a fuel up though – we paused our journey to watch This is The End, proof we’re not completely removed from pop culture (by the way, RIP James Gandolfini).  The movie was great, which must come as a relief to the locals: the theater was offering only the one film on its single screen.  I am now very grateful to live within range of a multiplex.

After laughing our asses off, we again headed off into the great unknown.  20 soon took us through Wind River Canyon, yet another natural wonder of the West. Along the way signs informed us that crews blasted through the rock and the former Indian lands to construct the route.  We carefully negotiated the winding road while taking in the stunning views, as the canyon walls guided us to our night’s lodging and the conclusion of the NBA finals.*

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* Hats off to the Heat, they definitely earned the win, but it’s still sad to see Tim Duncan sad.

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