A bird does not sing because it has an answer. It sings because it has a song.
Aside from the massive blanket of pollen over everything we owned, we were sad to leave Prune Creek—especially knowing it would be our last wilderness camping spot on this trip. We’ve got two more days at a KOA in Sheridan and then we start the long trip home.
On our way to Sheridan, we had planned a stopped in Ucross so I could show Len the awesome space where I was awarded a writing residency last April. Just as we were at the crossroads before Ucross, a white Bronco pulled up alongside us. It had an Absaroka County Sheriff decal on the side and the license plate said WALT. The young guy driving it rolled down his window to talk to us at the stop sign (we’re learning this is a SUPER common occurrence in Wyoming—apparently the majority of conversations happen through vehicle driver-side windows). He pointed to the trailer and said, “Where’d you get that??” I want one!” So we pulled over and gave him a tour and a TC Teardrop card. He was totally into it. Then we told him we were big Longmire fans and asked about the Bronco he was driving. He said it was the author’s personal vehicle and he was busily helping him preparing for the coming weekend which is Longmire Days in Buffalo, Wyoming. He told us to come to the shop in town the next day around noon and he’d show us around, so we set our watches.
At Ucross, we went to the gallery and saw an amazing show: The Universal language of Birds by Christina Baal, a young artist and avid birder who plans to depict all 10,000 species of the world’s birds as her artist’s mission. I was really, really into the artwork. So good. My favorites were the large paintings with gestural wings (including paint drips that rocked) and super detailed pen and ink heads. She’s really into the idea of the artist / citizen scientist being engaged and making a difference in conservation. Check out the website if you get a chance—or make your own art to add to it. I love her approach. It seems to be a very millennial way of effecting change in the world.
From there, we had cheese sticks at a picnic table on the grounds and went by the Ucross Schoolhouse to see a bit of the renovations there (mostly to the kitchen, which I’m sure will please Cindy, the fabulous gourmet chef who spends her days there). We had hoped to hook up with Ruth Salvatore, but she had some issues come up during the morning’s construction meeting and sadly couldn’t meet with us after all. So we drove around a bit and lingered at the Chapel and the surrounding gardens which were in full bloom.
From Ucross we drove into Sheridan, checked into the KOA Journey there and it was packed for the holiday weekend. We took a quick shower and washed off a peck of pollen each, then disconnected from the trailer and drove into Sheridan looking for a place to eat. We found a Mom and Pop spaghetti/pizza place: lasagna for me and a Rueben for Len. We went back to the campsite and fended off repeated mosquito sorties and attempted to connect to the Internet for the next few hours. Having learned my lesson at every other KOA, I closed my laptop much more quickly than Len and read, eschewing the complicated virtual world. He persisted, blood pressure rising with each “failed to connect” and “failed to send” and “server not found” message.
The sky was only just getting dark when we gave up, climbed in, and crashed. And just a word to the wise, the KOA Journey in Sheridan is not recommended by this camper. The bathrooms weren’t particularly clean and the showers sucked (temp fluctuated wildly every minute or so, plus the showerheads were mounted at an odd angle that shot water straight onto the main floor flooding it). The whole place felt disorganized and unattended and it lacked clear signage for important things (like trash and after-hour sign-ins). Plus the RV campsites were really tightly packed (we often get a little different spots—more like the tent spots—because we don’t need the whole megillah). We’ve got another night reserved here, but don’t plan to do much more than show up and sleep.
Next up: A day in Buffalo Wyoming.