Added: Jill Ayer - Date: 23.01.2022 17:52 - Views: 33885 - Clicks: 1816
Byron often hosts cross-country bicyclists at his roide gallery. Sometimes he and his guests stay up late on summer nights, drinking and waiting for cars to pass by. They run to the side of the highway to shake their weapons and terrify the passing motorists, looking very much like an angry mob of zombies. Initially, I went out to help a University of Wyoming field crew surveying a rare plant, Yermo xanthocephalusalso known as Desert Yellowhead, which is found in this part of Wyoming, and nowhere else. Full disclosure: My girlfriend is the leader of the crew.
After a hot day spent counting waxy leaves and blossoms, I decided to get back on the highway to see what stories I could glean from tourists and the local population. I traveled the 42 miles of U. Along the way I found a colorful cast of characters in this isolated part of Wyoming.
This section of Highway is on the Trans-America Trail bicycle route. Every day, dozens of cyclists ride through the Sweetwater valley, attracted by the same low grades that made this preferred route for wagon travel on the emigrant trails. At the rest stop in Sweetwater Station, I met a group of young men from Quebec City who were riding their bikes across country, bound for the headquarters of Tesla Motors in San Francisco. They planned to ride through Yellowstone and the Lonely in sweetwater hotel parks of Utah before lighting out for Las Vegas, then riding to the California coast from San Diego to San Francisco.
Read their blog here. After talking to the cyclists, I continued East in the opposite direction of travel from the emigrant days. Driving up to the store, which is housed in a barn, I encountered a menagerie of animals: sheep, llamas, chickens, a peacock and a year-old donkey shedding its winter coat. I also met Polly Hinds, who has been running the store here with her partner Lynda German since She let me into the bookstore to peruse on my own.
Inside was a catacomb of shelves with more than 50, volumes on an incredible variety of topics. I spent more than an hour browsing the titles and the antique prints hanging on the walls. You also visit Polly and Lynda, and whoever else happens to be at the store.
While at the bookstore, I met two Casper women who stopped in to buy eggs. They were on a day trip from their second home at Alcova Reservoir, bound for an afternoon of gambling at the Wind River Casino. They told me it was their favorite place to stop along the way. Driving 19 miles east through broad expanses of open country, I came to Jeffrey City, the biggest town along the Sweetwater with a population of about 50 people. Jeffrey, who was one of his early financial backers.
The company town owned by Western Nuclear blossomed in the late s, waned in the s, then boomed a final time in the s, before it busted and dwindled to almost nothing in the s.
Jeffery City once had its own uranium mill, which served local mines of the open-pit and in-situ variety. An interpretive along the highway says that the town had 4, people inwith students in the local school and 1, people working in the local mines and mill.
The accident killed demand for uranium, ending the heyday of Jeffrey City. Today, Jeffrey City has become a regional headquarters for a few dozen members of scientific field crews who live here in an RV park behind the Split Rock Cafe. A crew consists of four to six people, headed by one University of Wyoming graduate student, plus a few younger field technicians who come from all parts of the United States.
One crew member named Leif told me his team drives four-wheelers across the prairie all night, spotlighting for juvenile sage grouse. One quick swat of the net captures the bird, allowing him to extract a few feathers. One night, when I met the scientists in their camp at Jeffrey City, they were grilling elk burgers, playing horseshoes, and practicing archery.
Their presence made Jeffrey City feel more like a college campus than the s ghost town it is. In Jeffrey City, the grass grows three feet high through cracks in the pavement. Most of the houses and apartment buildings stand abandoned, with paint peeling off in broad flakes. Windows are boarded over with plywood. Old concrete foundations for vanished houses stand among the brush.
The basements are full of dirt and tumbleweeds. In one section of town there is a football field choked with sagebrush. The goalposts are rusting. On the ground at the RV campground, I found a few old buttons, small circles of mother of pearl scattered in the dust. But Jeffrey City is still home to some. Driving around town, I saw a young man with a rifle target shooting in his front yard. Behind his house a pronghorn antelope was grazing. The people who choose to live here now enjoy the solitude.
Most live in well-maintained houses with the green landscaping and shade trees typical of any small town in Wyoming. Sprinklers turn circles in lush lawns, and keep the grass growing in front of the elementary school, which has a newly installed playground. The pride evident in such properties defies the forlorn air that hangs over the rest of Jeffrey City. On one side of the barroom the wall was covered with autographed one-dollar bills, left behind by patrons over the past decades. In a place where so many people are just passing through, there is an appreciation for graffiti.
It reminded me of the chiseled names at Independence Rock. The waitress and I joked about this being one of the benefits of world peace. Europeans also take part in the scientific efforts around Jeffrey City. One field crew I met included a Spaniard from the Basque country. Several years ago, a crew of French archaeologists excavated a site south of Jeffrey City for a summer.
France relies heavily on nuclear power for its electricity, and French companies have secured access to uranium resources on the Sweetwater over the past decade. An educated artist who ly lived in Lander, Byron came to Jeffrey City a few years ago and bought an old gas station to set up as his studio and gallery. While he enjoys his late night pranks on the highway, he welcomes visitors that stop in. The word is out among cyclists that Byron is the host of choice in Jeffrey City.
He provides water and a place to camp. Seeley also takes part in the larger Sweetwater community. Outside of Jeffrey City, most of his neighbors are cattle ranchers. In the spring, he helps with branding. The Sweetwater River flows through the Split Rock Ranch, whose namesake is visible in the background.
The ranchers, more than anyone, Lonely in sweetwater hotel the ones who are here to stay. They settled the area after the Oregon Trail days. Generations Lonely in sweetwater hotel irrigated out of the river and grazed cattle on the range. Agriculturally, this may not the best place to ranch, but it is a beloved place and the land provides enough to keep going.
Jasbir Singh is 53 years old. He spent his early years in the Punjab province of India, an area rich in farmland. At age 26 he came to America and worked as a taxi driver in Manhattan before becoming a contractor for FedEx and moving on to other ventures in Ohio. Today, the elder Singh owns hotels in Mobridge and Evanston, Wyoming. He ly operated a hotel in Rawlins. He sold that property several years ago, intending to buy another hotel in Riverton.
While making the trip north from Rawlins to Riverton, Singh stopped at the Muddy Gap service, where the cashier told him the business was for sale. The elder Singh bought the store turned it over to his son for management.
Jimmy opens the store and works until it closes. He also sells homemade Italian-style gelato in flavors like Sweetwater Strawberry. The elder Singh says the Muddy Gap store is a good commercial opportunity, particularly if wind power development comes to the area. The site is located 13 Lonely in sweetwater hotel northeast of Muddy Gap toward Casper. Several hundred died, and the survivors had to be rescued by a group of Mormons sent from Salt Lake City by Brigham Young. Several years ago, he was baptized as a Latter-Day Saint.
All four walls are covered with names of visitors. I want people to remember this place. WyoFile is a nonprofit news service focused on Wyoming people, places and policy. All of our content is free. There are no subscriptions or costs. The Press Pool. About Us. Donate Today. Nuclear ghost town Driving 19 miles east through broad expanses of open country, I came to Jeffrey City, the biggest town along the Sweetwater with a population of about 50 people.
Sun, snow, and wind are slowly reclaiming large parts of the town. Indian Country Today is a nonprofit news organization. Will you support our work? By Minnesota Reformer. By Associated Press. By Indian Country Today.Lonely in sweetwater hotel
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The Lonely Hearts Hotel