imkittymyers at hotmail dot com
Saturday, January 29, 2005
A WYOMING STATE OF MIND
I’ve reached my limit with NY State. I’ve lived here my entire life in that nether region known as Upstate, so as to distinguish it from The City, and now I’m more than ready to leave. I hate the politics, the taxes and the humidity here. Yeah, I know it’s nothing like the humidity of (fill in your favorite sweat pit of the US), but it’s still too humid for me. We visited Colorado in ’82 … drove out in 2 days’ time. We got a few hours of sleep in Missouri motel the first night ... saw the most wretched display of bigotry on tv there ... and then we slept in the car at a rest stop somewhere near Limon, CO, the second night. We started out early enough to see the sunrise illuminated against the Rockies in the distance, a majestic sight which I’ll never forget. Our destination was actually Colorado Springs, yet we stayed in Green Mountain Falls at the Outlook Lodge, 7,800’ above sea level and west of the city. During our week’s stay, we toured the Garden of the Gods, Cave of the Winds and the Manitou Cliff Dwellings. Best of all, it wasn’t humid, it was semi-arid. Yee-haw! And the air! Everyone should have the opportunity to experience clean, mountain air at least once in their lifetime. None of us cared if we ever left again.
Colorado was beautiful, but in the intervening years it’s become too crowded for my tastes, invaded by Hollywood and the usual assortment of yuppie scum and their evil spawn. I think I found my destination when I read Bill Croke’s “Rocky Mountain Bohemia”:
For the last decade I have survived on roughly $8,000 per year, sometimes less sometimes more, and far below the official U.S. poverty level for a single person ($9,000). I don't take welfare, food stamps, or any other kind of public assistance. A much beloved sister in New York does my income taxes for me annually, and every year she poses the same question: "How do you do it?" While a freelancer has many deductions related to the profession (I may be the only freelance contributor to the conservative press who qualifies for the Earned Income Tax Credit), the short answer to her question is: I live in Wyoming.Did you know that Wyoming’s population is a fraction of that of New York City’s? People think I’m nuts to even consider such a God-forsaken wilderness, 90% of which is “useless sagebrush.”
I live in paradise, a Rocky Mountain Bohemia of want and destitution with million dollar views from the backyard.
“Nobody lives in Wyoming!”
“Yeah, ain’t it great?”
Since Bill Croke lives in Cody, and since Cody is wired with a downtown webcam, that’s where I’ve concentrated my sights. I check in on the town and its weather. It rarely rains in Cody, and it rarely snows there, either. Whenever I thought of the Rocky Mountain winters, I envisioned harsh temperatures and never-ending snow storms, which was another plus in my mind. But Cody’s winters have been about as mild as ours have been in years past (excluding this year in NY).
According to Drew Munro, of the Cody Enterprise:
'Real' winters seem to be from another era
Meteorologists are attributing the recent warm spell to a phenomenon they call the Pineapple Express.
Ski areas from the Cascades to the Rockies are watching helplessly as the snowpack melts away. Some have even had to close because too much snow is gone or what's left has so much moisture in it that it's too heavy for grooming equipment.
To top it off, in many areas it's too warm to make snow. There are even flood watches in the Cascades.
In Cody, for instance, after a leisurely motorcycle ride Sunday I was on my patio when a mosquito flew by. No kidding. A real, live mosquito in Cody on Jan. 23. It was about then that a phrase in a news story caught my eye. "Back when the West had winters," it said.
So Cody’s warm weather spell is a phenomenon; that means there’s hope for real winters in the future. Either that or I’ll have to consider the west side of the mountains where they still get snow. (I should note here that it was -15* this morning here in the Corning area, which eventually warmed up to 8*, while in Cody it was in the 40s.)
As we drove back home from our Colorado vacation, we took a more northern route. We drove north to Denver and took in a Willie Nelson concert at Red Rock. A relative unknown at the time by the name of Ricky Scaggs opened for Willie. Throughout our trip, we listened to local radio stations playing regional music. Once out of NYS, C&W played exclusively. It was more C in the South and more W in the West. As we passed through Wyoming on our way home, the music took on that doleful twang of the lonesome cowboy guitar. I remember thinking I could live there.