Tag Archives: Wyoming

Forever frontier

27 Jul

A year ago I came to Wyoming.  In 2001, I had driven the southern portion of the state west to east.  I vaguely remembered being in Yellowstone and the Tetons on that drive.  Last year is when I began to know Wyoming.  I was out there to attend a three week course at the Trial Lawyers College.  The College was created by Gerry Spence to teach lawyers humanity and how to truly communicate.  Its located in Dubois which is about an hour and half from Jackson.  The College is located ten miles off a dirt road.  The property was previously used to ranch and is now called Thunderhead Ranch.  The most important lessons were how to empathize with people and we all have issues.  It’s an experience that I don’t want to characterize in words.  Anyway, I had a few chances to get off the ranch and feel Wyoming.  I also was reading Gerry’s biography.  It’s a land of cowboys and vast land.  I enjoyed being out there.  I made sure on this trip to see those involved with the ranch.  Before we entered Wyoming we had visited five other lawyers who also attended the college with me.

As soon as we exit Highway 80, the pavement ends and there is nothing but a trailer selling fireworks.  No gas station, no fast food, no buildings. Just dirt pounded into a flat track.  Surely this is not the road to Lori and Mike’s house. Lori is a good friend with a sense of humor and the registrar of the College.


Mike, Lori’s husband, is a well rounded guy that can discuss wind energy to politics while drinking quality beer.   After a call to Lori, we were assured this indeed was their road. Their home, simply put, is removed.  Their home has lots of atmosphere and historical décor.  The most notable aspects were the antique, very ornate furnaces and the wind generator that provides all their power and then some.  Mike has a dream garage that I wanted to take with me.  We are in Buford, Wyoming where there is a dearth of people.

During our journey, one of the most surprising aspects is the amount of people who live in small remote areas.  When I was younger I desired obscurity.  A small wooden boat with a line or two of color around it in the Mediterranean I thought.  I would be tethered to this wonderful ship while living a simple hidden life in Greece.  Outside of time away from people an unknown existence.  I don’t know why I yearned for that.  It was my teenage years, a time where popularity was the most sought commodity.  I didn’t buy into it, and I despised that type of value system.  I thought if this was the basis of society I could without it.  I’m an upstream swimmer sort.  At times, I forget that about myself.  Like when I decided to go to college in Boston and abandon my Grecian fisherman vision.  Or when I pushed aside my want to be a filmmaker and go to law school.  But now, the absence of people and their activity seems to be a lonely proposition.  It’s not so much that certain stores or services are missing but rather the bustle that makes atmosphere.  I grew up in Daytona Beach and the city was only active during a few seasons such as bike week or spring break.  Outside the seasons, Daytona was dead, although many people and stores lived there.  Key West is much smaller and has much fewer stores and services than Daytona but it is all atmosphere all the time.

As we continue, I feel like I again understand this self-imposed exile from society.  Lori and Mike’s house has a mesmerizing back porch that looks out to rolling green hills of uninterrupted nature.  We spent a full day just sitting on that porch.  The porch was filled with entertaining chatter, reading, napping, hummingbird watching, and great food.  As the sun set behind the mountains, a dense front of storm clouds way low to the earth paraded towards the sunset.  What a force those clouds presented.


The clouds, in time, brought a dark sky.  Lori ran into her house.  Once the sky turned from a warm blue to blackish gray the clouds erupted and brought down m&m size hail.  Sarah and I ran to Skyhorse so we could watch the show.  We loved watching it.

The next day we visited another Laurie.


Laurie is the executive director of the College and a rather well put together gal with a big smile.  She lived down the same road, except her driveway is two miles long.  I think that’s like living on an island.  You can’t see anyone unless you traverse your driveway.  Laurie is completely off the grid.  She relies on solar, wind, and a large battery bank for power.  The land was so vast, filled with large stones and a lake.  We surprised Laurie as she was in the process of collecting slag, tree remnants aside from the trunk.  I will say that I didn’t know Laurie really gets down with nature.  We walked the land, ate a Greek salad, and caught up.


Next stop, Thunderhead Ranch to see the ranch managers Greg and Kate.  I first met Greg when I was at the conference.  He wears a cowboy hat.  But that’s not the first thing I noticed about what he wears.  He has a magnificent mustache that is the envy of any male.  I am a hairy guy and he makes my mustache look like I’m Asian.  Kate is a warm individual with a fiery personality.  We spent a couple of days on the ranch with them.  We went in town for the Fourth of July.  We had a blast meeting their friends and watching a lengthy firework show that seemed to have multiple endings.


Random thoughts/ month 3

26 Jul

I can’t believe this is the first real post since last months wrap up! We’ve been busy spending time with friends and just having really long days. The farther north we drive, the more hours of sunlight we seem to get. We spend our days either driving or checking out a town/landmark and don’t park for the night until 8/9pm (the sun doesn’t set until 10ish, its nuts). After we eat dinner, shower, and settle on a movie to watch, we are spent. Thus, few blog posts. Apologies! 20130724-173953.jpg This month I:

+ spent a lot of time with friends and friends of friends and loved every minute! In Denver, we spent time with our KW friend Susan’s friend Estrella, her husband and sister in law at a rainy outdoor jazz concert. In Boulder, we hung out with my high school friend Zane and met her husband and adorable twins. We also met our coworker Trish’s friend KayCee and her family and had a fabulous time at a dinner party at their house. In Fort Collins, we relaxed with Hani’s friend Phil and his wife while they were childless for a few days. From there, we went to Buford, Wyoming to see Hani’s friends Lori and Laurie who work the Spence TLC “summer camp”. Both live off the grid in the middle of literally nowhere and it was great to sit on an open porch and stare into space with nothing to do. We continued the TLC trek by heading next to Dubois to visit the Thunderhead Ranch and see the managers Kate and Gregg. It was really cool to see where Hani spend 3 weeks last summer and watch as he relived those moments. In Bozeman, Montana, we spent time with one of my oldest friends Jennie, her husband and new baby. After seeing so many new places and people, it was really comforting to reconnect with an old friend. All in all, the new people we meet are great but nothing beats an old friend.

+ learned creek, as in a body of water, is really pronounced crick in the west. And people will look at you funny if you say “creek.”

+ am surprised by the quality of food at Walmart. I feel like such a traitor to Target, the happiest place on earth, but Walmart products are great AND inexpensive. And they carry an impressive organic selection.

+ never thought I’d miss watching Seinfeld so much that I’d buy the DVDs. Who buys a show that’s on tv 24/7? We do.

+ don’t think country music is so bad anymore. Shut up Kevin.

+ spent quality time with fellow travelers. While in Denver, we got a tweet from Maria and Brian of The Roaming Pint, wanting to meet up. They are our age and have been RVing full time for 3 years. We grabbed lunch, some beers, walked the downtown and then took all of our dogs to the dog park. We had a great time and enjoyed picking their brains about where to go since they’ve done it all.

+ experienced 3 hail storms. 3! I don’t think I’ve seen 3 hail storms in my entire life let alone in a month!! The craziest was in Buford, WY where it literally looked like snow afterwards. See our Facebook page for the pictures!

+ visited 3 national parks in the US: Tetons, Yellowstone, and Glacier and 2 in Canada: Banff and Jasper. We saw elk, moose, bison, bears (grizzly and black), a bald eagle, mountain goats, and big horned sheep. We kayaked, hiked and saw some gorgeous sites. In Glacier, we road the motorcycle all through the park. It was an awesome way to experience the park. Our parks pass was definitely worth it!

+ discovered lakes are petty awesome! I used to think oceans were the only legitimate body of water but I’ve been proven wrong. We’ve seen some kick ass lakes in the Tetons and Montana that have been fabulous to kayak in. Even the pups enjoyed some time in the kayak on Canyon Ferry Lake in Montana. Though we didn’t go in, the lakes in Alberta, Canada are breathtaking. They are mostly from glaciers and are crystal clear and simply perfect.

+ realized timing really is everything. In Banff, Alberta Canada, while Hani was shopping in the hundredth bookstore of our trip, he got to talking to Andrew, the owner. Andrew sold Hani a Moon travel book on Western Canada since we don’t know the area or anyone here. That night, as we were reading through the book, Hani realized Andrew was the author. The next day, we went back to the bookstore to have him autograph the book and he invited us to his house that night for dinner. We had the best time meeting his family and friends. One of the couples at Andrew and Dianne’s that night was Shannon and Chad, who own a chalet that we were going to pass on our way to Lake Louise. The next day, we shopped at Baker Creek Chalet, met the staff and had coffee with Shannon and Chad. They gave us tips on lakes and landmarks to hit at Lake Louise. And after a long day of hikes and lakes, we went back to park at their place for the night. They were gracious hosts even as they were dealing with a packed business. Hopefully, we’ll see them on the road as they begin their own travels soon.

+ was in 3 states, crossed a border and in 2 territories. As we head farther north, things get greener and more lush and the days are longer. Crossing into Canada was not the best experience though. We rolled up to the border at 6pm not really thinking we needed much else besides our passports. I guess I just thought it would be like the US, very hands off. But they searched Skyhorse and it was so unsettling. I mean, if it was just a car, who cares. But this is my home. My underwear is here. It was eye opening and I won’t take the Mexican border this lightly.

Animals gone wild

18 Jul

Sorry it’s been a while since we’ve blogged. Our time as been spent with these guys. Here are some friends we saw in Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks that I wanted to take home.

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