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Archive for the ‘Wyoming’ Category

the international

Lowered expectations are the key to happiness. Every Airstreamer under fifty warned me about the dork factor of the WBCCI 53rd International Rally. Thusly, we had a rockin good time.

Yes, there was a weird opening ceremony involving unit flags and the procession of club officers in their blue berets; the sort of ancient tradition like the Elks’ 11 O’Clock Toast or the Shriners’ love of clown cars that many people enjoy. And I was confounded by the focus on structured indoor activities that had nothing to do with camping: byzantine meetings heavy on the Robert’s Rules of Order, some board game called Joker, ham radio workshops…it was like being on a senior cruise without the buffet.

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When I moved to Portland twenty years ago I thought the Oregon Trail was, well, in Oregon. I’m embarrassed that I was surprised to encounter historic aspects of the trail (and signs of Lewis and Clark) in almost every Western state we visited.

Fort Laramie in Wyoming is (according to the Smithsonian Guide to Historic America, our roadtrip reference bible) one of the West’s most important forts. As a trading post in the 1840s it became a popular stop on the Oregon Trail, one-third of the way to the promised land and the first place to swap an ox in 300 miles. Today, it’s restored to appear the way it looked back in the day and “provides a glimpse of a bygone military era”.

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i’ve got one just like it in my living room

Close Encounters has been on my Top 10 Favorite Movies list for 35 years so I was predictably excited about visiting Devils Tower, our nation’s first national monument. As we drove through Wyoming I waited for it to appear on the horizon the way I did as a child in the 60s approaching Disneyland, watching from the backseat of the family Studebaker for the first sighting of the Matterhorn.

As one explores the world it’s interesting to note how the natural and manmade wonders you’ve come to know in photos and films hold up to face-to-face scrutiny.

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