Cokeville Wyoming

After U-Dig I was supposed to go dig up some fossil fish with Fossil Safari so it was decided to get closer that night. I was dubious. I drove far into cow country and mile after mile there wasn’t a house or a town to be seen, just cows, cows, and more cows. I was hypothesizing I’d be sleeping aside the bovines for the night, especially after a “Rest stop” I passed turned out only to be an outhouse (with no toilet paper or soap) and a picnic table surrounded by cow pastures. I was quickly learning just how much this country loves beef. There are cows EVERYWHERE all the time. Finally I reached Cokeville, and saw a Pilot’s truck stop. The parking lot was empty as could be. Aside from the music blaring and the bright lights the place seemed to be deserted but then again I suppose a town with only five hundred people would always deserted.

In the morning when I went to use the restrooms one of the attendants gave me a fierce scowl, for what reason I’ll never know. Perhaps it had something to do with the half and hour or better she spent staring at the Jeep with her co-worker from their steps. I slinked off. Coming out of the Pilot’s was no better. A cop immediately came from nowhere and pulled me over. I was absolutely confused as to why. The cop came over and in a very rushed and aggravated voice he asked for the license and registration. Looking at the license he then asked what I was doing in town and where I was going, and why. I got the feeling I was being watched and the locals around here are less than welcoming to interlopers coming through. I wondered what could cause such abrasive behavior and possible paranoia. Was it the fact I was wandering through parts of the country notorious for fundamental Mormonism? Who knows. I wasn’t even given enough time to take out the registration before the cop threw the license back, made up some cock and bull story about how you’re not supposed to “shoot out onto the highway” (I’m pretty sure us normal people would call that merging) and told me to keep going. It was weird. The day wasn’t going to get much better…

I drove and drove and drove out into the middle of nowhere to find this damn quarry. As it turns out the address programmed into the GPS was on the contact information page of the quarry because the actual quarry address was not listed anywhere. This isn’t normally a bad idea except when the address is actually the people who work the quarry’s home… two hours away…. 200 miles off course… and after passing another site I really did want to visit (Fossil Butte National Monument.) One tank of gas and half a day down….

***UPDATE: Further research has let me know that Cokeville Wyoming may have had reason to be so unwelcoming. In 1986 it was the sight of the Cokeville Wyoming Elementary School Hostage Situation and Bombing. Sooo…. strangers aren’t particularly loved there…

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