The Great Migration: Why Bother?

Once Dubois WY was the place we went in the summer to avoid heat and humidity. Now it’s the place we leave and return to, even in the winter.

RidgelineRearEnd “Did you decide when you’re coming back?” my good friend Karen texted yesterday.

“Oh good!” she responded  after my reply, adding a smiley face. “Everyone keeps on asking when you are coming home.”

She’s got it right: home. At first, we viewed Dubois as the place we could go in the summer, to avoid the city heat and humidity. Now it’s the place we leave and return to.

Here in Brooklyn, our Wyoming plates no longer attract much attention from neighbors. People may comment on our absence, but rarely with as much fondness as my Dubois friends like Karen express.

None of them has responded to our repeated invitations to visit us out West. (All it takes is a flight to Jackson. We’ll take care of the rest. There’s so much to do and see!) It’s a tough sell here in Brooklyn, which considers itself the coolest place on earth.

Do they think we’re nuts to keep going back and forth like this?

Quite often, despite what’s clearly visible on our license plate, neighbors ask when we’re planning to go back to Montana.

I continue to wonder why Wyoming has such a low profile. After all, last year the financial planning website declared Wyoming the best state in the nation for retirement, not just for its uniquely low cost of living, but also for its natural beauty and low crime rates.

highway2The long commute to and from Dubois takes three and a half days in the summer when days are long, if we’re in a hurry. If we’re not, we mosey. Once we stretched it to 10 days with a detour to Austin and New Orleans.

En route, we’re totally wired with broadband, with 3 or 4 devices (phones, tablets, a laptop) to consult. Often it feels I spend the entire trip looking at a screen to check the weather (most importantly in winter) or the price of gas, or to look for a good restaurant or motel.

Why do we drive rather than fly? Partly because we always seem to be transporting stuff back to Dubois (much of it donations for the Opportunity Shop) but also, importantly, because of the dog. I never wanted to put him on a plane in the first place, and now I definitely won’t, after a Dubois friend told me at happy hour that her dog became lost luggage. (It survived.)

My husband and I like each other’s company, and we truly enjoy the trip. It’s a privilege to watch the nation unfold before us, to see the well-kept farms of the Midwest (or the sad abandoned clapboard farmhouses) giving way to huge skies and broad prairies, and them being gradually overtaken by outrageously huge natural sculptures of rock.

To answer the first question: Why bother (especially in winter)? We have needed to return east to check on our rented house and to visit family. Now we absolutely must go home to Dubois.

By why in the winter?

For one thing, because it’s home. Also, we will leave the view at left for the one at right. Any other questions?










© Lois Wingerson 2016

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Author: LivingDubois

I am a retired science journalist, devoted to enjoying and recording the many pleasures of life in the Wyoming's Upper Wind River Valley.

7 thoughts on “The Great Migration: Why Bother?”

  1. Very nice post, especially the pictures. But you’ve got a hard sell, trying to convince New Yorkers that life in Montana is better than Brooklyn Heights ( not withstanding). 🙂 Remember the New Yorker cover art that showed everything west of the Hudson River as a tiny wasteland?

  2. Hello Lois, Bob Buckman, Joe Brandl’s cousin in Nashville here. Still enjoying your posts. I drive from Music City to California at least yearly, passing through Kearney, Cheyenne, SCL when I use the northern route. Your descriptions of the dashboard view of this beautiful country pretty much summarize my primary reason for hitting the road. So much to see and feel and smell (Amarillo feedlots on the I-40 route and the slanted Cadillacs in the ground).

    Might detour to Dubois this year. Great posts.

    Sent from Windows Mail

    1. So glad you like them, Bob. I’d love to meet you when you come to town.

      Now we’ll have to follow I-40 just for the feedlots and the Cadillacs. Not sure we want to “feel” the feedlots, though. There are also some of those along Highway 20 in Nebraska, close enough to see and smell them. It’s an interesting reminder for us city folk where those great Nebraska steaks start out. Not nearly the same thing as seeing the cattle on the hoof in the valley next to our Dubois house.

      Safe travels!

  3. re: Steve’s comment….That was ironically funny Lois. I actually like that Wyoming is low key but do wish there were more opportunities to keep young people here. Great article. Thanks

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