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A Wyoming Bar Journey

Jukeboxes & Jackalopes: A Wyoming Bar Journey (2007, Pronghorn Press) tells of my visits to small town bars all across Wyoming. I visited these sites with my husband and fellow bar tourist, Ronald Hansen. His photographs are available in the expanded version of the book, titled Jukeboxes & Jackalopes: The Photographic Companion to Wyoming Bars and Backways (2009, Wyoming State Historical Society.)
Find the original book at Pronghorn Press.
Find my Amazon author's page here.
Find the photographic companion at the WSHS.

Here is an excerpt:

Bar in View! O the Joy!

Dry Creek Saloon, Bill, Wyoming

 Have you been to the bar in Bill? Oh, you have to go to the Bill Yacht Club. You haven’t been to a Wyoming bar until you’ve been to Bill.

 Sometimes the most memorable part of a trip is the travel itself. It’s being in the back seat of the car, at the mercy of parents, wondering if they’ll ever stop for lunch, or to find a bathroom, or just to stretch restless legs. It’s playing the license plate game to relieve the sameness of an endless interstate highway. It’s opening powdered Sweet Tarts packaged in stiff paper straws, pouring them down the throat and trying not to choke as molecules of sour sugar dust swell the taste buds and fill the esophagus. It’s fighting for turf in the crowded back seat of a 1965 Chevy Malibu, drawing an imaginary line of death from the hump on the floor up the vinyl bench back seat on up to the back dash, which no sisters or sisters’ personal effects may cross. Dialog from such trips always includes the lines “Are we there yet?” and “Do I have to come back there?” spoken from beyond the border of a front seat that rises like the Wailing Wall above the heads of young back seat passengers.

            These are the images I recall from childhood travels. I can still feel the back of my legs sticking to the vinyl seat of the Malibu. I can see particles of Sweet Tart dust suspended in the Midwestern sunshine that poured through the windows of the un-air-conditioned car. I can remember trying to concentrate onArchie comics and Mad Magazine while my sister whined about car sickness. Whenever we complained of being hungry, my mother the peacemaker tried to quiet our groans so that they didn’t distract my father, who was Driving. She fed us Space Food sticks, those rubbery sugary protieny concoctions developed for orbiting astronauts. If they were good enough for the crew of Apollo, they should surely keep us going until we arrived at the motel.

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