By: Tonya Stevenson
Everyone in Wyoming has windy stories, wild stories that make people question whether you are pulling their leg. This week we have proof of one such story. I will tell you where to find it at the end. But first, I’d like to give a small sampling of our true windy stories.
Where I grew up in Idaho’s mountains we had wind only in a rare storm. When I took Otie home, after we were engaged, we drove into the beautiful snow covered valley early in November.
“Look at that! Look at that! “ Otie points – but I see nothing.
“The fence posts, look the snow is a foot high on their tops.” He says.
“You must have NO wind. The snow never stays on our fence posts.”
“Oh no,” I groan. “Do you always have wind?”
The answer was a resounding, YES. Everywhere we have lived in Wyoming has wind, lots of wind.
On the Buzzard Ranch in the winter we tried to get all of our feeding done before noon because, by noon, the wind would whip down Sand Creek Canyon – turning the meadows to a white-out. It became a source of recreation. We would put ropes on the corners of a tarp (like a parachute), take an old inter-tube to the meadow, and “ride the wind.” It would carry us across the meadows at astounding speeds, but one had to be careful to let loose one side of the tarp before it pulled you into the barbwire fences.
It was such a great past time we even had friends families, and hired men join us for the “wind-riding.” You could pile two adults or four-five kids on a big tube, the unfazed winds would still drag you at break-neck speeds, not for the faint of heart. Those were the milder days. Most afternoons it was too crazy to consider.
The wind closed our twenty-two miles of road for up to thirteen weeks one winter. We would plow multiple roads with a four wheel drive tractor and the wind could sock it in, sometimes within minutes, every winter. Many times we drove home, from the if-you-were-lucky once a month grocery run, in a white-out. You had to feel your way down the closing road, because you couldn’t see it. It was only the grace of God we made it. Without cell phones, or even phones for that matter, no one was coming to pull us out.
Then we moved to south-eastern Wyoming to experience her winds. Otie refers to this area as the banana-belt of Wyoming. We do get real cold (like -30’s or -40”s), but it never stays long. The wonderful Wyoming wind blows in the cold; you might get a day or two with only gusts or breezes (under 30 mph). No need to worry, she’ll be back with a vengeance to blow the cold out. Not unusual for the temperatures to swing 50 or 60 degrees in one day. We have been on that roller coaster regularly the last two months.
What the wind is notorious for in this part of the country is overturning trucks, trailers, ripping off campers, etc. Just south of us, a few years ago, there were fifteen blow-overs on and eighteen mile stretch of road in one day. Every year, a few bite the dust.
Last year, at our daughter’s exit off I-80, a truck pulled off the exit to get out of the wind. A highway department employee climbed on the passenger running board, to tell the truck driver he couldn’t park there. A big gust rolled the truck. Thank the Lord, the highway employee was on the upwind side of the truck.
Two days ago, that same daughter called with a new windy story. She told us how a truck had blown over and a policeman stopped to help. Meanwhile, Wind chuckled, as he blew a passing truck onto the top of the trooper’s cruiser. I know, it sounds like a windy story; but the proof’s gone viral you can watch it for yourself on You Tube under” Wind blows truck on trooper’s cruiser.”
Wyoming’s windy stories are getting a run for their money these days – from the screeching progressives who are losing battles to take over America. However, like most of their past stories (and unlike Wyoming’s wind), I can’t find proof of truth-in the howl – only hot air.