Moorcroft, Wyoming emerged out of the black just as my desperate quest to find a place to sleep birthed the recollection of Peter Fonda’s movie Race With The Devil. My adamancy to never own an RV is derived solely from the impact this movie made on my pre-teen brain.
I’m still searching for a place to safely catch some ZZZ’s because according to the map, Devils Tower is “nearby”. If you should decide to see Devils Tower, take a peek at the map of Wyoming, realize there’s only 400,000 people in the entirety of the square vastness and don’t make the same assumption about lodging I did. And don’t worry about the movie and the whole Devils Tower thing; it was filmed in South Texas.
Beautiful until you think about those poor schmucks in the RV.
The Cozy Motel’s sign was half lit but the gravel parking area was packed with good ole boy pickup trucks – a sight that put me at ease. At least if some creepy-motel-located-in-the-middle-of-nowhere-Jason-scene occurred, my screams would be heard.
I walked into the “office”, rang the bell and an older lady and a boy about 5 came out of a back room (they’ve recently become fodder in my novel plotting mind). “Looks like you’re busy tonight, do you have a room?” “Got one left,,,,,,, railroaders”. To which I didn’t bother replying as I didn’t feel any reply required. But the humorous thought, “railroad convention?” ran through my mind. “We only take cash. The room is $40”. Not a problem. My husband had threatened my future solo road trip privileges if I went below $200 cash at any point of the trip. I had been compliant and pulled out the cash. “You’re in number 11 on the end. We only got 11 rooms. The railroaders don’t like number 11.”
The boy’s face had been marble the whole while but I was certain some reaction to the woman’s statement had caused something to twitch. Did his upper lip move or was it some shift in those shifty little eyes? I checked up just as I opened my mouth to ask why. Too late. Again my imagination was off like horses out the gate of the Kentucky Derby.
The Cozy Motel at sunrise the next day. See the "No" vacancy? I had indeed taken the last room the night before.
I pulled the truck over to number 11 and began unloading. I’d just walked through the door and dropped the first of my loads of crap that I faithfully hauled out of the truck every night, when a train went by. Thunder, whistle, thunder, whistle, shhchhshhchh on the tracks. I laughed out loud and ran back outside to see it swishing by on the track parallel to the motel, close enough to touch. Okay, well, not close enough to touch, but close enough. I hadn’t crossed the track since it ran parallel – stay with me here, and since it was pitch black, I hadn’t seen it. The resting railroaders didn’t like ole number 11 because it was the closest room to the track!
By the time the 3rd train came by the unloading was complete. I called my husband howling laughter at the 4th train passing, holding the phone up so he could hear the whistle. He predicted a total of 6 trains for the evening and I went to shower. I counted 2 while in the shower and over the course of the rest of the restless night, 10 of them jingled my weird and wacky dreams. I was up and out of there just before sunrise and had a fantastic day despite the lingering lack-of-sleep dreams. Devils Tower was stunning in the morning light.
Devils Tower National Monument, Wyoming.
Before you read on, I must add the Cozy Motel is one of the reasons I love seeing what lies in-between the sterile and stamped out larger cities and towns on the American map. Motels are still worthy considerations for lodging if you want an experience. Then again, I have nothing against the knowns the chains offer. I stay at both.
Post Script from Journal: “Other than the trains, the room has been my favorite; the extremely low cost of course being a factor along with the story worthiness of my experience here. In addition to that the room was large as there was only one bed and the tiny bathroom was all white and brand new, and the carpet was clean. The railroaders were a quiet bunch; most of them were gone when I walked out to the truck at sunrise. The heat didn’t work well but after a sprint to the truck in the middle of the night for my emergency quilt, that problem was solved. It was 14 degrees this morning. Ahhhh…. WYOMING.”
Road Trip Locator: Devils Tower is in Northeastern Wyoming between Gillette and Sundance, approximately 35 miles North of Interstate 90 (from Moorcroft which is where you’ll exit and turn North of I-90).