State Report WY 5: Keith's Tour of Wyoming
Keith's Tour of Wyoming
From the 19th of July to the 28th of July 2003, I toured Colorado, Wyoming, and South Dakota. I spend the majority of my time in Wyoming and this report chronicles my time in that state. Overall, I finished the tour thinking that Wyoming is an even stronger candidate state than I had previously thought. I know most Free State Project members are unable to take a tour of Wyoming but I hope you learn something new about the state from my travels.
July 19th Ft. Collins, CO
- There are decent looking mountains right next to the city.
- The city features a nice outdoor walking mall just like Boulder, CO and Burlington, VT.
- Large companies like HP and factories are just a few minutes off the Interstate.
- Colorado State University is huge.
- There are other local universities like the University of Northern Colorado and the University of Colorado.
- It takes just over 30 minutes to go from Ft. Collins, CO to Cheyenne, WY (going around 80 mph, potentially you could drive faster but it might not be recommended) but it would take a little longer too go from downtown Cheyenne to downtown Ft. Collins.
- The consensus opinion was that you could work in Ft. Collins and live in Cheyenne and that people already do it.
- However, I was cautioned that the Interstate is closed for a handful of days a year because of wind and the snow drifts it can cause.
- It takes just over 90 minutes to get to the Denver Airport from Cheyenne.
- In Colorado, people drive fast and it is not unusual for the flow of the traffic to be 85 mph.
- In Wyoming, people are more likely to drive around 70-80 mph (the speed limit is 75).
- I'm not sure if this is because there is very little stress in Wyoming or if it's just so magical that people slow down to take in all of the wonders.
July 20th Cheyenne, WY
- In Wyoming, a "Weigh Station" is called a "Port of Entree".
- The first thing I saw as I crossed the border into Wyoming was a huge Polaris store.
- The second thing I saw is a huge camping/RV community.
- I could not figure out why Cheyenne even has an airport if the Denver airport is just 90 minutes away.
- Lots of I-25 and I-80 Interstates exits mean that is takes very little time to travel the city.
- Very friendly people.
- Tons of trees everywhere.
- Actually, all of Wyoming's towns (that I visited) are filled with trees.
- There are museums everywhere (most of Wyoming has lots of museums because of the tourism trade).
- Parking is allowed on most downtown roads for two hours for free.
- Cheyenne has at least two same-day dry cleaners.
- Over half the vehicles on the road were cars (but some Wyoming towns had more "other vehicles" than cars).
- I entered the Cheyenne Air Force base just to look around (I am military
so it was easy to get in) and on my way out (during rush hour) I almost hit a
Wyoming Taxpayer Association
- I met with Michael of the Wyoming Taxpayer Association.
- This is a group with many corporate members and some regular-folk members.
- The group is non-partisan and the group's website describes it pretty nicely.
- Michael is a very nice guy and a great people person.
- He once had Dave Dawson speak at one of the Wyoming Taxpayer Association functions.
- He fought against the Cigarette tax increase and said Wyoming did not need the money.
- He said there is some popular support to lower Wyoming's already very low property tax.
- He said that Wyomingites pay less taxes on average, than people from any other state, except Alaska.
- He reminded me that some young people consider Wyoming boring.
- I asked him about the winters in Cheyenne and he said the roads do not ice over.
- I asked him about Wyoming's least populated county (Niobrara, with around 2,200 people) and he said it would love to have us (great news Zack).
- He told me that people in Wyoming think government stops at their front door and some would like it to stop even sooner.
- He summed it up by saying that people in Wyoming have a "live and let
live" attitude and don't care about your personal life.
The Cheyenne Paper
- I read the Cheyenne newspaper while in town and found some interesting information.
- The University of Wyoming does not even have a track and field facility; they have to use the high school's.
- The Indian Reservation is building a new 30,000 square-foot bingo casino.
- The weather report for Cheyenne and other cities:
Comments Cheyenne, WY 91/62 89/60 90/60 88/59 88/58 Normal is 81/55 Anchorage, AK 67/54 65/53 This is summer weather? Portland, ME 72/63 78/64 Bismarck, ND 83/56 87/61 Wilmington, DE 88/71 82/69 Rapid City, SD 91/62 90/61 Billings, MT 95/63 96/67 Boise, ID 102/72 103/68 NH ? ? The paper did have Boston VT ? ?
July 21st Torrington, WY
- The city is 75 minutes from Cheyenne.
- The drive between the two cities consisted of hills, bluffs, rock formations, farmland, and grassland.
- The sign said that Torrington has 5,700+ people. And I counted seven hotels.
- The hotel that I stayed in charges $25 per night (or $120 per week), after tax.
- That means someone could stay there for around $500 per month and get a hotel room, continental breakfast, maid service, cable, local calls, water, and electricity.
- The hotel offered no discounts and charged me one dollar less for paying with cash.
- It is a locally owned hotel and the owner accidentally charged me a dollar extra so he walked to my room to give me the dollar.
- Scottsbluff, NE is 35 minutes away.
- Scottsbluff has everything you would expert from a town its size including: Super Walmart, mall, zoo, gentleman's club, and a Radio Shack.
- Scottsbluff National Monument and Chimney Rock are just outside of Scottsbluff, NE. They are both amazing places with excellent trails that go all the way to the top of Scottsbluff National Monument.
- I think Torrington has extra jobs because I noticed illegal aliens in town.
- Scottsbluff, Gering, and Mitchell (5 minutes from Torrington) also have jobs and the roads are easy to drive all winter long.
- The only problem is that Nebraska has an income tax (like Idaho, Montana, Maine, Vermont, and Delaware).
- Houses are very inexpensive in Torrington. Decent safe houses in town cost $45,000.
- I was looking at property and I noticed 40 acres (13 miles from town) with a well, electric, and phone lines advertised for $45,000.
- Torrington gets very little snow but has high humidity in the summer. I did not feel hot, though, because of the breeze.
- I am seriously thinking about moving to Torrington if Wyoming is picked.
- Torrington seems to be a farm town with sugar beets, wheat, corn, and beans being the major crops.
- There is also a community college in Torrington (and Cheyenne, and Casper, and Sheridan...)
- Community colleges are great because students get more one-on-one time than at universities, for about 1/2 to 1/4 the price.
July 22nd Guernsey, WY
- Guernsey is a nice little town of around 1,100 people.
- People do not need to lock their house doors; some people still leave their keys in the ignition and the car doors unlocked.
- This town has a 1,000 yard shooting range.
- Guernsey is a beautiful small town with both public and private miniature Black Hills all around the town.
- I went in the Guernsey State Park and met a nice couple from CO that goes their to look for rocks.
- They told me all about Wyoming and its rock history and all kinds of other stuff.
- They even gave me this special type of rock that they had just found.
- They said it was valuable outside of Wyoming and that it would look great if I shined it up (I was a little confused).
- They said that there is a lake a few miles away that is used by people with wave runners from all over the West.
- The state park has nice canyon walls that are right next to the road (a little too close for comfort).
- Guernsey has decent houses for around $40,000 and all of the houses are safe.
- The charm of this town will stay in my memory for along time.
- I was at a local diner and I saw a child helping his parents out (for some
reason the parents were not charged with child abuse and violation of child
labor laws :) .
- I stayed with Mark Spungin, the President of the Wyoming State Shooting Association.
- I do not want to describe his house very much but it had a nice garden with sunflowers (among other pretty plants) and would be a dream home for anyone that is crazy about guns.
- Both he and his wife were extraordinarily nice.
- Actually, I stayed in the Boston T Party suite :)
- Mark had been on the town council before.
- It was a local, non-partisan election and he could have won again but he wanted to be Mayor.
- He ran for Mayor and did OK; ran for State House as a Libertarian Party member but didn't do very well.
- He told me that a libertarian had been elected to his state House district before but that he did not get reelected.
- Mark said that the gun laws in Wyoming are some of the best in the country (our research backs this up) and that there is not much discontent with them.
- He said he likes the Free State Project and hopes it comes to Wyoming.
- I asked him if any other state was better for the project and he said nope, Wyoming is the best.
- Actually, a couple of times he said "we" like he was a part of the FSP (it seems like he is part of the project, at least in his heart).
- He thinks that large cities are breeding grounds for big government.
- I asked him about the tax situation in Wyoming and he said that he only pays around $260 a year in property tax.
- He said that if 2,000 of us joined the WSSA we would have massive power and if we were activists we might be able to change the gun laws.
- He said that he thinks Wyoming would go for Vermont Carry.
- He told me that in Wyoming they don't allow local cities to make gun laws so that no city can prevent you from carry open or concealed (if you have a permit).
- He said that in Alaska local governments are allowed to make strict gun laws and that Anchorage's gun laws are more strict than the Alaska state laws.
- He told me about Boston T Party's book, Molon Labe. It's a fictional tale about a group like the FSP moving to Wyoming and slowing changing the minds of the people, county by county.
- I asked him about Wyoming's smallest county, Niobrara.
- He did not think many people would want to live in that country, but that it would not be hard to influence the county.
- I asked him about Hot Springs County and he said he liked that county and if he was not in Gurney, he might live there.
- He told me a story about how some big government politicians tried to increase the size the Thermopolis's (the major city in Hot Springs County) government and they were all voted out in the next election.
- He said you have to be honest with the people of Wyoming (State Senator Bruce Burns later said the same thing).
- He told me that they don't have DUI checkpoints in Wyoming.
- I asked him that if he likes the FSP so much, why doesn't he join.
- He said he already lives in Wyoming.
- He said that he is going to retire in 2004 so he will have more free time to be an activist.
- He homeschooled his kids and I asked him about the homeschooling laws in Wyoming.
- He said his family had no problems teaching his kids exactly what he wanted to teach them and that around 20 kids in his small town are homeschooled.
- He said the Wyoming Highway Patrol only has around 166 members.
- Right after I left, he and his wife headed off to go practice shooting for
some national shooting completion.
- His wife, Beverly Spungin, is an even a better shooter than he is (and a great cook), grew up in North Dakota.
- She shared with me a couple bright spots of North Dakota: great soil, and fields & fields of sunflowers.
- However, she did say that North Dakota was too flat for her.
- She is the Vice President of the Wyoming State Shooting Association, the Secretary of the Wyoming Libertarian Party, and also a volunteer firefighter/EMT.
- She said that they did not have a major snow storm last year until March and that they do not get much snow in Guernsey.
July 23rd Douglas, Glenrock, and Casper WY
- Douglas is a nice small town with beautiful mountain views.
- I stopped in, got a car wash, ate lunch at a nice Chinese restaurant, and had a root beer float at A&W.
- I saw a little motel for sale.
- This would be a great place for FSP members to pay $300 per month and have a seasonal place to stay.
- I noticed that there was a Douglas Motocross Speedway bingo parlor.
- I asked the lady about it and she said they have non-profit bingo parlors all over the state and named Casper, Douglas, Torrington, and Gillette as examples.
- Well, I guess that means Wyoming really does have casinos.
- Glenrock was a nice town, and it too has beautiful mountain views.
- I stopped at a city park that was nothing but a field with a variety of weeds, low brush, and cacti, and two massive rock formations.
- I spent around 20 minutes chasing a group of 14 mule deer up the rock formation.
- The was my first encounter with a group of mule deer.
- They were quite loud to show their anger but continued to back up.
- Eventually I chased them through barbed wire, up a hill, and into a valley.
- In Wyoming, there is no one to keep you off the land and things like barbed wire don't work either; you are free to travel anywhere you can imagine.
- State Senator Keith Goodenough said that some people live in Glenrock and work in Casper.
- Glenrock is around 25 miles from Casper.
- Casper is another great city.
- Casper is right next to the mountains.
- In fact, Casper Mountain and the other nearby mountains look notably better than the foothills and mountains of Ft. Collins, CO.
- Houses cost a lot (unless you're from the Boston area or California) on the mountain and right next to the mountain, but are noticeably less in the parts of Casper that are not near the mountain.
- Casper is where most of the Western trails meet, and then split off with some of them going to CA, ID, MT, and UT.
- The people of Casper are regular people; this is not a town of yuppies.
- I was told that the winter wind keeps housing prices down.
- A lot of the houses have either boats or RVs in the yard.
- I already knew that Casper, Cheyenne, and Rock Springs had off-track
betting for the horse track in Evanston; however, I learned that the cities
also have off-track betting from horse tracks around the country.
State Senator Keith Goodenough
- He is enough libertarian for people like us to call him a libertarian.
- He described himself as 1/3 Democrat/Republican/Libertarian.
- That seems to sell to the independent people of Wyoming because he started out in the House and moved to the Senate.
- Keith is a man of the people, maybe it would be best to call him a Jeffersonian Democrat.
- He supports lower taxes and more social freedoms.
- He told me that the Democrats in Wyoming have a higher NRA score than the Republicans.
- I do not know about local politicians but the Wyoming Congressional Delegation (all Republican) has the best Gun Owners of American record in the nation so I am guessing that both political parties have great gun records.
- He said the people of Wyoming support medical marijuana.
- In fact, he said that in 1992 the House voted on the issue and they voted overwhelmingly for medical marijuana, but the issue is hard to push in the Senate.
- He said that it would pass if the issue were on the ballot.
- He told me that the Native American's are winning the fight to get full gambling casinos on the Wind River Reservation.
- He said that he wants us in Wyoming and could use us.
- He also said that he wished us luck and wrote me a special email about how he enjoyed our meeting.
- He said that he thought the elderly paid too much property tax. (Michael, the executive director of the Wyoming Taxpayer Association also told me this). The way I look at it, any tax cut that does not give money to people that do not pay taxes is a good tax cut. I am glad there is a movement in Wyoming to lower the property tax rates (even though they are already some of the lowest in the country).
- I asked him if he thought another state would be more receptive and he did not think so.
- I did not ask him, so this is just a wild guess but I imagine him being a hippie in the 70s.
- There are only 30 Senators in Wyoming and it is a big plus that one of them really likes us.
- Keith is very nice and down to earth.
- We were in the parking lot of the bar and this guy from Wisconsin asked for some gas money and Keith was very nice and calm with him and gave him $20.
- Here is the signature line that Keith uses in his emails, "Wyoming Constitution...Article 1, Section 1: All power is inherent in the people, and all free governments are founded on their authority, and instituted for their peace, safety and happiness; for the advancement of these ends they have at all times an inalienable and indefeasible right to alter, reform or abolish the government in such manner as they may think proper."
- Keith explained an interesting way that very few people could have a lot of control in Natrona County (the one with Casper).
- Some of the measures have to be passed by 4 of the 6 communities in the county in order to go into effect.
- However, Casper is the only city with more than a few thousand people.
- A couple of the communities have around 500 people.
- He explained that if we could move into 3 of the 6 communities and vote against passing these measures the whole county would have to kill the measures.
- Likewise, if we moved in 4 of the 6 small communities we could get things passed that the city of Casper (with almost all of the county's populations) does not want passed.
- I think that is a great tool and it certainly works to our advantage.
- I met with State Senator John Schiffer (R) of Kaycee, Wyoming.
- His district covers all of Johnson County (with Buffalo and Kaycee being the main towns) and the southern part of Sheridan County.
- He told me that term limits are real and they are going to start next election.
- He bought me peach pie (yum) at a little restaurant in Kaycee (this is a very small town).
- John said he would like the FSP to come to Wyoming because he thinks new ideas and discussions would be useful.
- He is already a committee chairman, but might be set to become one of the Senate leaders. (He is already the VP of the Senate).
- He is a rancher and is one of the few people I saw in Wyoming that looked like a cowboy. His shirt was torn and it looked like he had been working has ranch before our meeting.
- He told me that Wyoming passed the recent cigarette tax increase because Wyoming has to produce a balanced budget every year and it was an easy way to balance the budget.
- I told me why they did not just make cuts and he said they also made cuts to programs.
- He said he did not agree to vote for the tax increase until a sunset provision was added to it.
- I asked him why Wyoming was the least regulated state in the country and used the example of no acupuncture laws in Wyoming.
- He said that it is called "fencing" and they try to keep that out of Wyoming.
- He explained fencing as this: someone in one industry moves in and tries to enact tough laws to keep others out.
- He said that they try to prevent such practices in Wyoming.
- He told me that they have preemption laws for guns in Wyoming. This means that Wyoming towns cannot pass gun laws that are more strict than the state laws.
- He said people would be willing to work with us issue by issue but it would be hard to hold a coalition together because people are very independent in Wyoming.
- I asked him if there were any counties that would respond positively to our smaller government message.
- He said every county would respond positively to it but explained that there are constituents for every program.
- He said that he likes to hear what the people of his district think about the issues.
- He said that he thought medical marijuana would pass as a ballot imitative.
- He told me that his daughter moved to Portland, Maine but could not handle the winter there.
- He said that the winter is much worse in Maine than in Wyoming.
- I met with State Senator Bruce Burns (R) of Sheridan, Wyoming.
- He said that Montana is too big and spread out for the FSP to succeed in Montana.
- He said that Wyoming already has one of the smallest governments.
- He said the Democrats of Wyoming are like Republicans.
- He said he likes the idea of the FSP but thinks the people and state of Wyoming already have so much in common with the FSP, that things would not change much in Wyoming.
- He bought me lunch at a steak house in Sheridan.
- He thought that we should pick Vermont.
- He said it is the only state that elected a self-proclaimed socialist to the US House.
- He said that we could make a huge national impact if we picked Vermont and changed its entire Congressional Delegation.
- He pointed out that we would not make much impact with Wyoming's Congressional Delegation because they are already so inline with us (they are considered the most pro-gun by Gun Owner's of America and the most libertarian by the Republican Liberty Caucus, and Senator Michael Enzi is considered to be the most libertarian US Senator in the nation).
- He did admit that Vermont has harsh winters.
- I tried to explain why Wyoming and New Hampshire were leading states but he would not let up on this Vermont idea of his.
- He said that a sizable minority of the Vermont population is upset and they will be go along with our agenda if we move there because they have nowhere else to go.
- He said that there is not widespread discontent in Wyoming because the government is already so small in size and scope.
- He said that the religious Republicans used to be discontent and that they tried to take Wyoming county by county.
- He said they move from county x to county y and are now in Platte County.
- He said that they lost and the Republican Party has already moved away from them (but they have nowhere else to go).
- He said some of them do not even vote any more.
- The impression I got from everyone is that abortion is a losing issue in Wyoming, and so the Wyoming Republican Party is more inline with America on the issue than other state Republican Parties.
- Bruce gave me ideas on where to hike in the Bighorn Mountains and asked me how my trip was doing.
- It seems as though everyone is Wyoming unofficially works for the
Department of Tourism as everyone asked me if I was having a good time.
- I went on a free tour of the historic Sheridan Inn.
- Apparently the Sheridan Inn was owned by Buffalo Bill Cody who also founded Cody, Wyoming.
- According to the volunteer tour guide (who also happens to be a local school principal) Buffalo Bill used to be one of the most famous Americans in the world.
- Sheridan is a town with lots of tourism and lots of retired people.
- The area is very pretty and Sheridan looks like an authentic Western town.
- There is a gentleman's club right across from the post office.
- The town has four golf courses and looks absolutely beautiful.
- I left Sheridan and entered Montana.
- As soon as I got in Montana I noticed that I was on an Indian Reservation and that it was against the law to use the Interstate turnarounds.
- In Wyoming it is legal to use the Interstate turnarounds I even saw one sign that encouraged it.
- I quickly left Montana and headed for the Bighorn Mountains.
- There are two small towns between Sheridan and the Bighorn Mountains.
- It was nice to see a drive-thru liquor store in a town with only 500 people.
- Drive-thru liquor stores are all over Wyoming.
- Sheridan's real estate is pretty steep.
- Houses start around $70,000 and go up to around $800,000.
- You can get a 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house for around $125,000 if it is older and not near the mountains, and things go up from there.
- The Bighorns were amazing and were much better than all of the other mountains I had ever been in (Smoky Mts, Green Mts, Adirondack, Casper Mt, Black Hills, Colorado Rockies)
- There was a clear lake where less than a handful of people were fly fishing.
- A long and clear stream fed the lake.
- I played around in the stream and noticed a few leeches (or worms) but they wiped right off.
- Now I feel that I have to go back to Wyoming just to spend more time hiking and climbing rocks in the Bighorn Mountains.
- I talked to my Mom on the phone and she said the family is pushing for me to move to New Hampshire (almost 1/2 of my family live in Northern New England).
- I noticed that there was a $30 hotel in Sheridan (a family business) but I stayed in a $40 hotel instead.
- I felt sprinkles twice in Sheridan (this was the first time I had felt water since entering Wyoming).
- Gillette, Wyoming is the energy capital of the world (coal, oil, natural gas, etc.).
- I noticed a restaurant called "Taco Time" in Moorcroft (near Gillette).
- The lady at the counter said that it is a national chain from Oregon (I had never heard of it).
- If that is true, Taco Time was the 4th national chain of taco restaurants that I saw in Wyoming.
- I noticed that Wyoming has tons of miles of the Black Hills that are not government land.
- I visited Devil's Tower National Monument.
- People are not supposed to climb the tower without a permit, but I cannot imagine how they plan to enforce that rule.
- The tower is spectacular and the views from about half way up are magnificent.
- I was unable to climb any higher because after that point it became all crack climbing and I cannot climb cracks without the proper climbing gear.
- The park ranger said the national monument gets around 5,000 visitors per day during the tourism season.
- After Devil's Tower I visited Hulett, Sundance, and Aladdin, Wyoming.
- Hulett, Wyoming has a small rally (that attracts 10,000 gearheads) and a topless rodeo during the Sturgis Rally.
- Sundance, Wyoming has a topless drag race during the Sturgis Rally.
- I found out that the Wyoming police are less strict than the South Dakota police during the Sturgis Rally.
- ...in South Dakota until the evening of the 28th...
- Newcastle is a nice, inexpensive town.
- It has a Pamida discount general/ drug store.
- These stores are in small towns all over Wyoming and South Dakota.
- The cashier said the store is a national chain and they even have stores in Tennessee.
- My hotel room cost me $25 (it was a family business).
- Newcastle is surrounded by the Black Hills of Wyoming on three sides and the prairie hills on the other side.
- Newcastle would be a great town to retire in because it's in the Black Hills, is very inexpensive, and has everything most people need (local restaurants, chain restaurants, a pharmacy, a general store, a medical center, and all the other stuff).
- Custer, SD is 45 minutes away and Rapid City is 80 minutes away.
- The FSP could differently capitalize on the big Sturgis Motorcycle Rally by moving a lot of people (and changing the laws) into either Weston County (Newcastle) or the county above it (Crook County).
- Both counties are in the Black Hills and very nice areas where property is inexpensive.
- Jewel Cave National Monument is 25 minutes from Newcastle.
- Jewel Cave is the 3rd largest cave in the world.
- "Box work" cave formations are very neat and look like little (or big) boxes all over the walls.
- A ranger at Jewel Cave said the park gets around 75,000 visitors per year.
- Wind Cave National Park (which features a large prairie dog town and wild buffalo) is 45 minutes from Newcastle.
- Wind Cave is the 6th largest cave in the world and contains about 95% of the world's cave "box work" formations.
- Wyoming has bingo centers (that you and I would call casinos) all over the state.
- Wyoming has a horse track and Cheyenne, Casper, and Rock Springs have simulcast horse races from all over the country.
- South Dakota has three different lotteries and casinos all over the Black Hills.
- Almost every town in western South Dakota that I visited had a casino.
- Deadwood, SD is a high casino and tourism town.
- Most of these casinos are small and lots of them just have machines (like the casinos in MT and WY).
- However, some of the SD casinos had a couple poker and black jack tables.
- There was no ID check at the casino entrances.
- I even saw a few kids walking around the casinos with their parents.
- Every town had a hotel for $40 per night (and more expensive ones also)
- I did no research, but it was still easy to find a $30 hotel room in Sheridan and $25 hotel rooms in Newcastle and Torrington.
- They were all family owned businesses (the hotels in the three towns above).
- My hotel room in Casper cost $40, but the lowest-priced hotel I could find in Cheyenne was $80 (because of Cheyenne Frontier Days).
- Normally there is a hotel that costs less than $40 in Cheyenne.
- Two of the hotels that I stayed at in Wyoming did not even have bibles (a first for me).
- All of the hotels had cable and HBO.
- Torrington, Guernsey, and Newcastle have very, very inexpensive housing $35,000 to $50,000 and you can get a decent 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom house.
- In Casper and Sheridan housing prices depend on how close to the mountains you live.
- I did not checking housing prices anywhere else.
- I heard someone say that in the towns near mountains, houses costs noticeably more than in the towns without mountains (and it makes sense).
- However, Guernsey is surrounded by nice hills and Newcastle is surrounded by the Black Hills so I am not sure how true that is.
Comments about other candidate states
- Mark (the president of the WSSA) said that Montana has a large environmentalist group and that they don't want to be free.
- Beverly Spungin (the vice president of the WSSA) said that North Dakota is too flat for her (and she is from North Dakota)
- Bruce Burns (R state Senator from Sheridan) said that Montana was too big and the people are too spread out for it to work.
- Bruce Burns also said that we should pick Vermont because everyone would notice us if we kicked out the socialists and changed the makeup of Congress.
- Of course, part of Bruce's argument would also work for South Dakota, because Tom Daschle is from SD.
- John Schiffer (R state Senator from Kaycee) said that his daughter spent one winter in Portland, Maine and found it to be much worse than a Wyoming winter.
- Michael (the executive director of the Wyoming Taxpayer Association) could not figure out why Idaho was on the list.
- The general consensus was that Wyoming had harsh winters but the Northeast had even worse winters.
- Fort Collins has mountains but they are not covered in trees.
- Casper Mountain and the other mountains near Casper, Wyoming are great.
- Most of Casper Mountain is covered with trees but some parts are not and it even has ski and snowmobile trails.
- The Bighorn Mountains stretch for seemingly miles and are magnificent.
- The Bighorn Mountains have tons of skiing and snowmobiling and hiking and fishing.
- These are mountains for the nature lover.
- The Black Hills of Wyoming/South Dakota are very nice and cover a extremely large area.
- There are highways that connect most of the Black Hills and the few places without highways have gravel roads.
- The Black Hills attract millions of tourists every year.
- Whether you want to fish, water ski, swim, hike, rock climb, sail, bike, gamble, or just sightsee, the Black Hills have something for you.
- I did not see any of the other Wyoming mountain ranges.
- I really do not know about restaurants.
- I brought half my food.
- For most of the rest I ate a combination of Chinese, Mexican, and fast food (like I normally do when I eat out).
- Basically, I just ate like I normally do and that was very easy to do.
- I also ate at a nice steak house and a couple of little diners (the food was good).
- If you like Chinese, Mexican, fast food, Italian, diners, chain restaurants, and the other foods that Americans commonly eat you will hardly be inconvenienced by Wyoming.
- I actually noticed types of restaurants in the Black Hills of South Dakota that are not even common to where I live (because the area is a tourist Mecca).
- Rock (oldies, 70s, 80s, and modern), Country (60s to present), and Christian are the most popular types of music in Wyoming, if you judge by amount of radio stations.
- National Public Radio is aired in almost every town.
- Sheridan has two classical music stations (which also play operas).
- Buffalo has one classical music station.
- I enjoyed the country music stations more than the stations in the South because they played both old and modern country music.
- Cheyenne has at least one Hits station that plays alternative rock, rap, R&B, and modern rock.
- I could hear many of the Fort Collins stations in Cheyenne.
- Casper has two stations that play alternative rock, rap, R&B, and modern rock.
- Talk radio is found throughout Wyoming.
Cable and Internet
- Every town that I stayed in had cable.
- Every town had internet access.
- My high-speed cell phone internet worked in every town I stayed in.
Alcohol and Drugs
- It was nice to see drive-thru liquor stores even in towns with only 500 people.
- People in Wyoming think Methamphetamine is a serious problem (if only they knew about Crack).
- Wyoming is one of the places where politics can still take place at bars.
- Some Wyoming towns already profit from the Sturgis Motorcycle Rally.
- Hulett, WY has a small rally that attracts 10,000 gearheads.
- Hulett also has a topless rodeo.
- Sundance, WY has a topless drag race.
- The police in Wyoming are known for being less strict during the rally than the police of South Dakota.
- Because of the massive tourism that the Black Hills gets and this rally, there is a huge potential list of customers that we could draw into near-by Wyoming towns.
- We just have to figure out what these potential customers want and how to make it happen (or legalize it)
- Bruce (state Senator from Sheridan) said there is not widespread discontent with state government.
- The general consensus is that Wyoming is not overflowing with an unlimited supply of excessive jobs.
- Parts of Wyoming get very hot in the summer (almost as hot as Boise, Idaho, but thankfully there is usually a nice breeze in these places).
- I lost cell phone reception in areas near Gillette, Wyoming.
- Hotel prices near Cheyenne go up during Cheyenne Frontier Days (by 100% to 200%).
- Keith Goodenough (D) said that he wants us in Wyoming and could use us.
- I asked Keith if he thought another state would be more receptive and he did not think so.
- Keith told me that the Democrats in Wyoming have a higher NRA score than the Republicans.
- I do not know about local politicians but the Wyoming Congressional Delegation (all Republican) has the best Gun Owners of American record in the nation so I am guessing that both political parties have great gun records.
- John told me that they have preemption laws for guns in Wyoming. This means that Wyoming towns cannot pass gun laws that are more strict than the state laws.
- Both Keith and John thought the majority of the voters in Wyoming support medical marijuana.
- Mark Spungin homeschooled his kids and I asked him about the homeschooling laws in Wyoming. He said his family had no problems teaching his kids exactly what he wanted to teach them and that around 20 kids in his small town are homeschooled.
- Mark told me about Boston T Party's book, Molon Labe. It's a fictional tale about a group like the FSP moving to Wyoming and slowing changing the minds of the people county by county.
- Michael summed it up by saying that people in Wyoming have a "live and let live" attitude and don't care about your personal life.
Positives of not being in a large city
- I'm from one of the largest cities in America, so being in Wyoming was dramatically different than what I am used to.
- I've come to the conclusion that I liked living in Wyoming
- The air was clear.
- Never once did a smog or ozone warning come on the TV and tell me not to go outside!
- Even though the speed limits were higher than I'm used to, people did not drive any faster than I'm used to.
- It seems that people were more relaxed and calm and were not in a hurry to got everywhere.
- Laid-back is a way of life.
- I could see for miles and miles and miles.
- I could actually see the stars at night!
- Wyoming is the type of place that starts cooling off around 3 or 4 pm.
- You can camp outside for most of the year.
- If I sold the property I currently own and took my savings to Wyoming, I could buy a house and live the same quality of life I am currently living, for around $18,000 per year.
- In other words, it costs very little to live in Wyoming.
- Wyoming is SAFE!
- There were not long lines at the stores.
- Mom and Pop stores still exist.
- People are friendly and helpful.
- People are honest.
- Mountains, mountains, and more mountains.
- Deer are common, almost too common.
- Hunting is big, I mean big.