A gas station, finally. Not that there weren’t options miles back the road at a quarter tank, but when your entire family of six is asleep and you’ve got mountain views and open road ahead, you don’t stop and risk ruining the silence of a thick scenery drive.
Pulling into the Pony Express gas station here in population 260 Ten Sleep, I knew nothing of the small town that came to rest just a block ahead.
We drove through, admiring the RV park directly in town, the tiny bars with names like “Crazy Woman Cafe” and “Dirty Sally’s”. I saw blocks stretch off the Main Street full of old, old cars and a tattoo shop that would hold likely more memory than the ink you were written on within.
Town faded in our rear view. Regrets for not stopping flooded my brain and into the back of my eyes, making them heavy with U-turn desire. Just then the lady said something similar, “Maybe we should have…”
I immediately maneuvered a 3-point turn come the first pull off (no easy feat with 31′ of aluminum trailer behind our extended van). Moments later we were back in town.
It isn’t the gorgeous canyon views, literally rivaling anything any of us have ever seen, on the way in. It isn’t the smile and courtesy of our waitress at the local pizza pub. It isn’t the allure of an actual small town that is actually working for the locals. It isn’t even the fact that we stumbled across town just in time to hang around for the local “No Woodstock” festival just a few blocks from the park where we’re staying.
It’s all of it. Old signs, big hiking trails, and friendly people. This is one of those rare few places, like Marathon or Terlingua, TX, like Bisbee, AZ, like barely anywhere else in the nation. We’ll explore the Tetons. We’ll watch hit air balloons hover above Cody and Yellowstone. But we’ll circle back here if I can help it to find roots for at least a few weeks while exploring this great state of Wyoming.