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day 5: where, when, how, and wyoming
Monday, Aug. 30, 2004 | link

I think the earplugs and I may be breaking up a little bit, because it turns out that they kind of wear little sores into my ear holes? Achy scabs in my hearing canals? That's not the best. Also they're freaking out my sleeps. My theory is that earplugs simulate flu-like symptoms, like clogged hearing and ringing in the ears, which bring on, in a sort of reverse Pavlov syndrome, a sickish sleep full of terrible dreams and lots of semiconscious itchiness. You see? So, nothing permanent, nothing hasty, the earplugs are still on board, but tonight I am sleeping solo.

Meanwhile, lots of driving today, but with some juicy stops. We saw Old Faithful spew forth, and it was amazing and really long-lasting and oddly quiet for all that raging steam and water.

And it sure does draw the crowds, boy. I don't usually suffer from an overwhelming impatience with humanity, the whole teenaged "look at those ants going about their small, pointless lives" scoffing, but hooo the people at Old Faithful, they were maddening! The guy asking if the two girls with the identical hair, identical faces, identical heights, and identical outfits (right down to the sweatshirts, both tied around their waists in the same, identical way), "Are they twins? Oh really? Identical?" The woman loudly tsking a young parent's parenting skills simply because his baby was barefoot, blablabla. Usually I kind of just roll with it, but my edges seemed bristly, less rounded for the rolling today. But really, is there anything more irritating than someone bitching about how irritating other people are? So now, hurrah, we're in Wyoming, the most unpopulated state in the Union, so I think I'm going to make it.

[Two things Colin loved about the town of Cody]

1) There's a rodeo every night during the summer that's about the equivalent of "Single A" baseball -- rookie rodeo, if you will, filled with high school kids hoping to make it big on the pro circuit. If you go -- sit on the far side of the arena, above the "launch" gates. And, don't forget -- many of those cowboys will be going home with nothing but your applause ...

2) I was told The Buffalo Bill Historical Center was like "The Smithsonian of the West." Of course, I snorted, and laughed ... and then went there, and agreed! It's five, five, five museums in one! (And I think admission is super reasonable -- $15 for a two-day pass to all five museums.) They've got an Indian museum, and an art museum, and a natural history museum, and a Buffalo Bill museum, and a firearms museum that's actually pretty dang interesting, even if you (like me) aren't naturally interested in firearms. Well worth checking out.

secret cody

We arrived in Cody (home of at least two scrapbooking boutiques) way too early to make the nightly rodeo that nice reader Colin recommended, shit. But we did lunch at the Irma Hotel where, as Jill pointed out, you can see at least four dead animals without having to even turn your head. My side of the booth also featured a mysterious little button, which our waitress Patty explained, in a hushed, naughty-talk whisper, used to beckon call girls in the 1800s. Later, when asked to describe the caliber of the coconut cream pie, she used the same secret whisper, "I like the desserts at Granny's, up the street." So after Jill partook of Irma's cherry pie, which she deemed "yummy," we walked past the tanning salon/cafe, past the framing store/donut shop, up to the weird teen-boy powered Granny's for a slice of chocolate meringue pie to go. (I ate it all somewhere on the barren strip between Cody and Casper, and yes, it was sumptious.)

On the way back to the car, pie in fist, I stopped in at a mountain store and bought a splash guard for my hippy Nalgene bottle, so now when I chug it up, hippy-style, my hippy nose and my hippy lips will no longer find themselves unduly moistened. Another success story from the road!

cold, hard casper

Now we're in Casper, Wyoming (home to at least two taxidermists) at the Holiday Inn, our first chain hotel, but we both really needed a bath, and at least the potential of room service. And a huge, black, eye-magnet television. Right now we're watching VH1's "top 50 most awesomely bad songs ever" (it always tickles Steve how those shows come up as "X Most Awesome" in the cable listing, because of the letter-limit, so you think you're tuning in for something righteous, but no), having just returned from obtaining a thrillingly chilled beer from Lill, the mistress of an amazing, smokey, and very authentico drive-thru package store with back-room bar.

After tooling around a bit more, we've learned that apparently this is how they do it here, liquor store in the front, bar in the back. Different, foreign, other!

And while everyone is perfectly civil here, the town (based on my exhaustive, and really I am plenty exhausted, twenty-minute investigation of maybe two streets) lacks a certain warmth. The coffee's good, but there aren't a lot of returned smiles here in Casper. And they wouldn't let me take a picture of the inside of the crazy, spaceaged Wells Fargo building, though I guess that may be more security issues than actual meanness.

Oh my god, Grease is on! Total trip leitmotif! Oh shit, and now? Danny DeVito, Emma Thompson (how did that happen? Also, worst front-pleat-pants-hiked-up-to-breast-line ever) and Big Arnold in Junior, the story of a huge, tan, and freakishly cut Austrian scientist who undertakes an experimental pregnancy and gets morning sickness and hormonal shifts that make him cry over sentimental commercials and experience over-sexy feelings when he cuts open melons. "You may be crazy, but you're also pregnant." Oh this is good.

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

(PS: My diary has officially moved over to my official evany.com website. Let's meet up over there!)

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