Gaps between towns in Wyoming can be large. We discovered
this the hard way.

We drove past Buffalo, Wyoming in the midst of animated
conversation and with our tank registering half full. We were
surprised by how many steep hills there were between Buffalo
and Gillette. The van struggled with them and we chewed
through gasoline at a painful rate. We began to worry when we
realized we were at an eighth of a tank and the next gas station
wasn't until Gillette, 67 miles away from Buffalo.

We found a pseudo-gas station about halfway there at the
Powder River turnoff and added 3½ gallons of very expensive
gasoline that was dispensed incredibly slowly, a tenth of a
gallon at a time, as if liquid gold were being poured out of the
pump. We had 30 miles to go to Gillette, and I mistakenly
assumed 3½ gallons of gas would get us there, plus what we
still had left in the tank. Our van couldn't possibly get less than
10 miles per gallon, could it?

Big mistake! High winds, coupled with steep hills, tripled with
the high profile of our van, quadrupled with the even higher-
profile Thule canvas bag mounted on top, all conspired to
cause our van to run out of gas seven miles short of Gillette.

This was galling to say the least. I felt beyond stupid, especially
since we had stopped at Powder River specifically to address
the problem. A classic case of penny wise and pound foolish. I
apologized profusely to Robin, who remained surprisingly civil
given the circumstances. We called AAA and became members
on the spot. They contacted a local towing company to help us
out of our immediate predicament. We ended up paying $80 for
a tow-truck guy to drive three gallons of gas out to us from
nearby Gillette. Ouch! But what can you do other than live and
learn from something like this...and try not take it too seriously.
Where We Be
Devil's Tower, Wyoming
Devil's Tower rises up from the Wyoming
plains in such an abrupt and startling way
that is was used as the site of the alien
encounter in the movie “Close Encounters
of the Third Kind.” It certainly has an
otherworldly presence about it. Rising 860
feet from its base, its fluted columns
stretch from top to bottom, making it look
wholly out of place in its surroundings. It
was a sacred site to the Lakota Indians, and
no wonder.

The geologic explanation is that 60 million
years ago, molten magma solidified while
still under-ground and became a “plug” that
cooled and contracted, causing the rock to
fracture into six-sided columns. All the
sedimentary rock around it eroded away
over the millenia, but this solid monolith of
rock remained.

We hiked the 1.3 mile Tower Trail loop
around the tower's base. While it had been
windy all day, we lucked out and it was
warm and sunny with just a light breeze
when it came time for our walk. Perfect!
Running Out of Gas in Wyoming
Beam us up!
In the midst of flat plains, a natural skyscraper
"I'm Trying Very Hard Not To Kill You Right Now" -- a patented Robin look
Desolate Powder River, where a tenth of a gallon of gas is like liquid gold
This was the country's first national monument