I think Justin's had three posts since my last one. I'm seriously lagging.
Anyway, I just got back from Wyoming...yep, Wyoming. It was actually pretty amazing. I had been slightly dreading the trip. Not dreading seeing one of my best friends get married, and seeing tons of Chicagoans and Napervillians I hadn't seen in a while, but just dreading the actual traveling. I had to wake up at 3:45 AM Wednesday morning after working a 12 hour day and drive to Indianapolis to meet my mom. We dropped our cars off, got a 45 minute ride to the airport, flew into Denver, got a rental car (a Mazda6 that I proceeded to fall in love with over the weekend), and then drove to delightful Laramie, Wyoming. It took fucking forever.
Now, I really had no idea what to expect from Wyoming. All I knew was that it is the least populated state in America, which I find to be charming. The population is so minuscule that the state actually boasts a "smallest town in America." That's right, Buford, Wyoming on I-80: population one. Of course I had to stop at this gold mine of schticky Wyoming parephenilia. I actually stopped there on three separate occasions during our trips between Laramie (where the bride and groom live) and Cheyenne (the wedding location). That guy has to make a fucking killing. Who's not going to stop at a town with a population of one? It's a house and a gas station/trading post. That's it...literally.
Another fantastic highlight of the wedding/vacation was the mountain trip we took into the Rockies on Thursday. It took about an hour to drive up, but it was seriously beautiful. All of the typical things you've heard. Crisp, but thin air, lakes so clear and blue you can see straight to the bottom, snowcapped mountains in August, and just amazingly scenic greatness. Here are a few pictures of me perfectly posed in front of mountains and lakes:
The wedding was a success and I made a pretty damn good speech if I do say so myself. Right off the top of my head. I do wish the best man speech could be done before the wedding ceremony, so I didn't have to think and fret about it all night and really only get to enjoy the last three hours of the evening. I demand a societal change.
There's really tons more to say about the greatness and strangeness of Wyoming, but I just don't feel like typing anymore. So, here's one of my patented lists:
-Everything moves slower in Wyoming. Everything. Not to say I'm some big city boy or something, but I personally find it ridiculous that it takes two hours to check into a hotel room. Or ten minutes to get a drink at a bar with a whopping five people in it. The whole population is in no hurry, and they're making no attempts to hide it. Partly charming, partly annoying.
-I did get the "You're not from around here are you?" line. I had been waiting for it all weekend, and I got it my first day in Cheyenne. I asked a sales clerk about a pair of polyester Wrangler pants in a Wrangler store, and I got the line. Does that make sense to you? Not to me.
-Everyone in the state seems to own at least 25 acres of land with multiple horses and/or livestock. It's a requirement.
-The highways are always empty and you can go five thousand mph on them. It's fucking great. I was in Wyoming for almost five days, and I saw two cops...two. The driving in the state is fantastic. The highways are in perfect condition and the drives are scenic as hell. They even have highway signs labeled "Point of Interest" when anything extra Wyoming-like is approaching so that you can slow down or pull off to take it all in. My favorite: a tree growing out of a boulder. Definitely a huge "Point of Interest" to me.
-Every bar has its own microbrews, which I found to be a pleasant surprise. Pretty good beer too.
-Strangers wave at you on the street and say hi. Most people know my feelings on community...I eat it up with a spoon, and Wyoming is teeming with lovely country hospitality. There's something wonderfully endearing about a rugged dude in a cowboy hat and boots, smoking a filter-less Marlboro Red saying hi to you. Awesome.
I was delighted by the whole trip. Good times.