Monday, March 12, 2012

Little America and the Nameless Sheep Herder Who May or May Not Have Snuggled with Heath Ledger

Driving on I-80 in Wyoming is chock-full-o-fun things like:

*Sage brush

And freakish weather conditions that often close the highway for hours or days at a time while the rest of the state enjoys mild weather.

That's why Little America, Wyoming is such a welcome oasis in the southwest part of the state.

What began as a young sheep herder's dream is not only the name of a town, but also a chain of hotels and travel centers in the west.

If you believe it, that is.

This is not a sheep. It is an American bison.
Another hole in the story?

According to their postcards, menus, and website:

In the 1890's a Wyoming sheep herder became lost in a blizzard and was forced to camp out all night by himself. There were 50 mph winds, the temperature was 40 below, and he had no fire, food, or blankets (or Heath Ledger to snuggle up with). 
He longed for a warm, safe, shelter from the storm. He survived and the experience stayed with him. 
Years later, in 1934 after hearing of Admiral Byrd's Little America base station in the Antarctic, a light bulb went off and he opened a refuge for travelers on the exact spot of his harrowing experience of so many years ago. 

I'm sure this is all true, mainly because Heath Ledger wasn't even alive back then. But what I find odd is that nowhere do they mention the sheep herder's name.

My skeptical mind says it's all just hokey propaganda but my romantical mind says Heath Ledger was kind of hunky, so who knows?

This penguin is on the roof of the restaurant.
They are everywhere.
Kind of like symbols in The DaVinci Code
only with penguins.

For this Tumbleweed, what really matters is that they have *classy* showers and bathrooms. And for Himself it's the 50¢ ice cream cones.

You know it's classy when you can sit in the
bathroom while holding up a ball of light next to
a brass lamp surrounded by
groovy red velvet wallpaper.

As I may have mentioned once or twelveteen times before, life on the road means a LOT of public bathrooms and showers, some more cootie-ridden than others.

Little America is known in the trucking world for their nice facilities that feel nothing at all like a grungy truck stop.

A full size bathtub

Or a nice roomy shower

And the absolute mark of class in a bathroom:
the folded point.

Another thing that Little America is known for is their foreign worker program.

They get work visas for people from Turkey, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, and elsewhere in exchange for housing and a year of work and training in their establishment.  Apparently, local workers are hard to come by because the oil field and mine jobs pay so well.

Nowhere else in Wyoming will you hear such diverse accents.

Conversation with a clerk in the store:

Himself: "Excuse me, do you have any bananas?"

Clerk: "No bananas. Eeet epple."

Himself: "Excuse me?"

Clerk: No bananas. Eeet epple." (points to apple display)



  1. They said the temperature was 40 below, but they didn't say below what. Because 40 below 120 aint too shabby. And definitely doesn't call for a fire or blankets. What a wuss.

  2. Good point, Christian. Plus, if it was 80 degrees (look at my math skillz!) would he really want to snuggle with Heath Ledger, no matter how hunky he was?

  3. Wow Tumbleweed, with restrooms like these, bet you hate to leave, huh?

  4. Doug, I might have shed a tear or two! ;)


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