Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Back to Wyoming

Last week I returned to Wyoming, but I did not get a chance to visit Jackson Hole. I drove to Denver to visit my son Tyler and go to his gig with his jazz big band.

I actually like long-distance driving, which is a good thing since I hate flying. I got on Interstate 80 here in Davis, California, and did not make any turns until I hit Cheyenne.

Southern Wyoming was much as I remembered: desolate and bare. I raced along I80, rolling past smoke-belching mining operations and sheep wagons and pronghorn antelope. The outskirts of every town had trailer homes scattered across hillsides like blocks spilled from a child’s toy box. Wyoming is not big on zoning.

I took a detour in Cheyenne to find the house where I lived in a basement apartment. In 1985 a tornado came and drove several friends and I into my apartment. An hour later torrential rains and hail flooded the place, driving us out. The next day, all the cars in town looked like they had acne, with pits and dimples from the hailstones. The leaves had been ripped from the trees. All the birds were gone. I left too back then, eventually, heading for California.

Tyler’s concert was fantastic. He is an immensely talented musician and composer, and I am in awe of the way he can manage a 17-piece band. I have enough headaches with only 3 other guys in my band. It was a great trip, and a good way to decompress after working for two years on nothing but the election in November.

On the way back to California I decided to take I70 West through Colorado. Southern Wyoming was just too empty, and Jackson Hole was too far. I took the shortest route back to my home; to my family and my work and my music.