Day 214: Casper Jasper

Casper is a city of about 64,000 inhabitants located at the foot of Casper Mountain. It is the second largest city in Wyoming. Casper is large enough to have several interesting museums. Laetitia took her group to five of them: the Fort Casper Museum and Historic Site, the National Historic Trails Historic Center, the Nicolaysen Art Museum, the Tate Geological Museum, and the Werner Wildlife Museum. Casper is nicknamed “the Oil City,” and its culture is a combination of oil boomtown and cowboy, so perhaps it should be no surprise that the area has several clubs that feature oil-wrestling. Laetitia heard an oil-wrestling story about a local match that provided the limerick of the day.

At coed oil wrestling in Casper
A cocky young fellow named Jasper
Was pinned by Big Sue
At the end of round two
Though he tried, he never could grasp her.

Day 213: Bar Nun

Originally the site of the Casper Airport, the land where Bar Nunn, Wyoming is now was purchased by a local rancher named Romie Nunn and later subdivided. In 1982, the subdivision became the town of Bar Nunn. The town layout is interesting in that the former airport runways are now the town streets. From the air, the town still looks like an airport.

Laetitia and her group visited Hole in the Wall, an infamous box canyon where Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid used to hide out. They also visited Teapot Dome. Though few now living have heard of the Teapot Dome Scandal, it was a major event in the 1920s and left a permanent blemish on Warren G. Harding’s presidency. It involved misappropriated government oil fields, single-bid contracts, jury tampering, and bribery. The Teapot Dome itself isn’t much to look at—just an unusual rock formation. When one of Laetitia’s group read about the scandal at the site, he remarked, “Isn’t it amazing? The criminal activity was actually exposed by the Wall Street Journal, and some corrupt public officials were actually tried, convicted, and jailed. That wouldn’t happen today.”

A story heard during happy hour provided the limerick of the day.

A young fellow who lived in Bar Nunn
Who hung out at the Club 21
At the bar saw the back
Of a habit in black
And decided it was a bar nun.

Day 212: Recluse or Moose

Laetitia sat sipping coffee in the library of the Emerald Victorian as she looked at a map of Wyoming, the state she had chosen for the day’s tour. She knew that conventional tour directors sometimes devise games for the guests to play, particularly on days when there are long bus rides between destinations. Mind’s Eye Limerick Tours has no such obligatory long bus rides, but she thought a game would be fun anyway. The game was that half of the group would go to the Wyoming town of Recluse and the remainder would go to the town of Moose.

Though she suspected that the latter was named for the presence or past presence in the area of a large bovine mammal, she preferred to think of the residents as being gigantic like Moose Malloy, Raymond Chandler’s character in Farewell, My Lovely. Chandler described Moose as “not more than six feet five inches tall and not wider than a beer truck,” and “He wore … a rough gray sports coat with white golf balls on it for buttons.” Moose was, of course, a thug, which, as far as Laetitia knew, none of the inhabitants of Moose, Wyoming, actually were.

The game was to interview the residents of each town and determine how many shy and retiring people lived in Recluse and how many of gigantic people in Moose. A percentage for each town would be calculated by dividing the number of reclusive or gigantic people observed in each respective town by its population. The two teams would meet in the afternoon in the lobby of Old Faithful Lodge in Yellowstone National Park. At dinner, each team would present their results, and the team with the highest percentage would be declared the winner. This study was somewhat short on scientific rigor, and since it was an imaginary tour was likely to produce imaginary results. Also, as games go it was rather lame, but Laetitia had been on the go for several months and relished having a few hours to relax in the lounge of Old Faithful Lodge while her guests were off on their respective missions.

The two groups recombined that afternoon, and Laetitia took them on a brief tour of the area around Old Faithful Lodge. They watched Old Faithful erupt several times, hiked to view some hot springs, and enjoyed the bison and elk herds that roamed nearby. They read the signs warning guests not to try to pet the bison and elk since they were not tame.

At dinner, the Recluse group conceded defeat. They said that when they entered the town, the streets were empty. Occasionally a curtain would move, indicating that people were watching, but none ventured out. A man blundered out into the street as they were about to leave, but he acted so shy and seemingly confused that they couldn’t do an interview, and he quickly dashed back into the house. Moose did, in fact, have several very large residents who looked like they might be descendants of Paul Bunyan, though none came close to being as wide as a beer truck. After presenting the limerick, Laetitia stopped in Recluse on the way home. It was a small, unincorporated community with little more than a school, a post office, and a few businesses. Its residents seemed perfectly normal. She suspected that the folks from her group who went to Recluse had very active imaginations.

The group found them shy or obtuse
Those folks who reside in Recluse
They’re somewhat retiring
And not awe-inspiring
Unlike the gigantic people from Moose.

Day 211: Rose Pose

Powell, Wyoming is a town of about 5,000 people close to Yellowstone National Park. Laetitia and her group drove through the park, passing Yellowstone Lake and taking the loop road over Craig Pass and past Old Faithful. They made several stops at other geysers and hot springs and visited the Museum of the Park Ranger before taking the northern part of the loop to Lake Village and then heading out through the east park entrance toward Powell. Powell was named for John Wesley Powell, a soldier, geologist, and explorer.

On the walkabout in Powell with her group, Laetitia saw some teenage boys snickering and poking each other. She looked in the direction they were looking and saw what they were snickering at. The incident provided the limerick of the day.

When a buxom old lady from Powell,
Who bent over to work with her trowel
While tending her roses
Got into rude poses
It made all the neighbor boys howl.