One of our favorite Bench Sitters asked, “What’s with these ‘wild’ turkeys around town? Don’t they know next week is Thanksgiving?”
And from another table came the answer: “Those turkeys are also aware most locals have tried to eat one of their cousins before. And that’s a good way to ruin a holiday.”
Among the subjects over coffee this week was the obvious difficulty a lot of companies are having as they try to hire truck drivers. We see lots of advertisements in newspapers offering good jobs with benefits.
They tell us it has been harder since most have to pass random tests for drugs and alcohol to keep their jobs and licenses. Might be some truth to that thought.
This week we heard about a driver who had stopped in Wyoming to pick up a load of stone as a “backhaul” to the southeast part of the country.
He may have been relying on his GPS system or simply got lost. But he ended up on a ranch southeast of town and got stuck in a snowdrift.
He had no idea where he was, and it was during that cold snap and snow we enjoyed earlier in the month.
He was lucky enough to be close to a cabin that was heated and stocked with some food and water.
Five days passed before it warmed enough for this truck driver to start hiking out to seek help. A rancher picked him up and brought the confused trucker to town.
Without going into detail, the company owning the truck made arrangements to get his rig towed to the county road.
They asked him why he didn’t just use his cellphone to call for help. But he told officers he had gotten a call from his wife a few days earlier and learned she was cheating on him. And he got so angry, he tossed the phone out the truck window.
We understand locals gave him directions to head south when he reached I-90 . . . but noticed he headed north.
They decided providence and the GPS would guide him home somehow.
And recently there were two other truck drivers seeking the shortest route over the Bighorn Mountains. Both were northbound on I-90 nearing Kaycee when they decided to take the “Mayoworth Slip Road” west of Kaycee.
They both drove right by a county road sign warning about that kind of decision.
It took a large wrecker truck to get them “unstuck.” With no place to turn a large semi-truck around, both had to be backed down the road all the way to the bottom. One driver just didn’t have the skill and the wrecker truck operator had to back his rig off the mountain for him.
In the past, there have been several big trucks stalled in Crazy Woman Canyon, but a very large sign at the bottom has put a stop to that.
Scott Pehringer, who heads up the Road and Bridge Department, says they are planning to put a bigger sign at the bottom of the “slip road” this year.
No wonder most of us do almost anything to avoid driving on I-80, which is loaded with big trucks all year round.
So we can be a little smug about knowing our way around Wyoming. We’ve seen “ways you can tell if you are from Wyoming” before, but this is the most accurate list yet –
YOU KNOW YOU’RE FROM WYOMING IF …
You wear your newest pair of Wranglers to church on Sunday.
A 30-second wait for traffic at a stop sign makes you want to move to someplace like Tensleep.
Air travel has something to do with driving while the windows are down.
You don’t hunt antelope because you had to eat one once.
You measure distance in hours and minutes.
When you give directions, you provide landmarks and not street or road names.
“Down south” means Colorado.
You know only a few people who have not hit a deer.
You can’t remember why you spent all that money on “rain” gutters for your house.
You know which cars not to park near in the grocery store parking lot.
You install security lights on your house and garage and leave both unlocked.
You think the four major food groups are beef, pork, lamb and beer.
You carry overshoes, heavy gloves and jumper cables in your trunk.
You went on a “snipe hunt” when you were in grade school.
You think lingerie includes tube socks and a flannel nighty.
The first day of elk season is always a holiday.
You know which brand of toilet paper works best in the septic system.
You know that Yellowstone is in Wyoming, not Montana.
You know that Wyoming is in the United States not Canada. (Or a suburb of Denver).
The UPS driver knows the names of your kids and your dog.
You have had a good visit with each of the state’s top elected officials at one time or another.