It’s early morning, and I am writing at a dimly lit desk at the Red Lion in Denver. We have been put up here, my two-year-old son and I, after two cancelled flights into towns that surround the town we are trying to get to: Pinedale, WY.
This isn’t just any small business history. It is the 50-year saga of my family’s retail and repair business, a history that includes such wild ventures as beaver and badger trapping, ripped up old chainsaws and mountain adventures with guys tough enough to rival any mountain man of the 19th century. I am digging for gold, and, with the help of some locals and loyal longtime customers, I am finding it.
Except now, we can’t get there. Even if it hasn’t been a hard winter across the country, February is still mean in the part of Wyoming Will and I are trying to get to. Our flight into Rock Springs, WY, was cancelled due to high wind. Hours later, a flight into Jackson Hole, on which we had been re-booked, was cancelled due to overall bad weather. There was talk of loading the plane anyway, and re-routing everyone to Idaho Falls should the plane be unable to touch down at the base of the Tetons, but that plan, too, was scratched.
Will and I were kicked to the airline customer service line, along with a hundred other exhausted travelers, to make for us not a plan B, but a plan C. We have made the long trek to a hotel shuttle and have spent a noisy, restless night on the fourth floor of the Red Lion, listening to the wind scream outside and horn-happy trains whiz by.
In Denver, 400 miles from my hometown, we may as well be on another planet. It is rare moments like these when I taste the full, biting reality of how remote the place in which I grew up is. The least-populated county in the least-populated state. The only county in the nation without a stoplight.
The little community that takes two days to get to from LA via plane.
And all I want to do is get there and see familiar faces and start up conversations about life at Bucky’s, the small engine repair and retail and shop that has been my family’s bread and butter for 50 years.
We do arrive, finally, whipped by the harsh mountain wind and sleepless hours. How good it is to be home, I think. And winter here is beautiful.
How good it is to be home.