Good old Wyoming. Pre-kids, when I was 24 years old I drove across the country to live out in California. Quite an experience. After about 7 months of chaos living on Ventura Blvd, yep, the same one that Tom Petty sang about in “Free Fallin”, I decided it was time to head back East. I asked my very good friend and his friend to meet me to drive back. Since I’d taken the southern route from East to West, we opted for a northern route to head back East. This route took us through the state of Wyoming.The barren land, highway with tumbleweeds that you actually had to dodge while driving; Wyoming. We had to get gas in Wyoming. That’s when the Wyoming weirdness began.

Someone syphoned our gas. It was the only explanation as to why, when we had filled the entire tank, there was only a quarter tank of gas. For the money we paid, gallons put in, it was the only possible explanation. Our discovery happened while we were on the road telling stories. I was driving and looked at the fuel gage. We determined it must’ve happened while we went into the convenient store. Weird. Guess there’s a first time for everything. Hopefully the last. We stopped at another gas station and made sure we got the full tank. I finished my leg of the driving, and fell asleep in the back seat.

When I woke up I was in the car, by myself, doors unlocked, windows down. I was still in that fuzzy, just waking up mode. I see my friend and his buddy at the front desk of this hotel. I scan the scene. There are men in camouflage outfits, some with rifles perched nearby, bows and arrows, sitting in groups outside of the building and in the lobby. They were staring at me. I scrunched down in my seat praying that my friends would come back soon. I locked the doors.They came back after what felt like forever. A man in a nearby sketchy van continued to stare. He had a long shaggy beard and glared at us. It felt like a cartoon where they were looking at us and we’d taken on the shape of a sirloin steak. I think it was at that moment my friend realized maybe leaving me in the car with the doors unlocked and windows down, while I was sleeping wasn’t the best of ideas.

I don’t even feel my writing can do it full justice. I really thought that we were going to be hunted on that opening day of hunting season, which we learned later on at another gas station, was the reason we could not find a hotel with vacancy in Wyoming that night. I survived Wyoming, and lived to tell my tale.