Bosler

I’m dreaming of a trailer

In Bosler Wyoming

With tires on the roof dear

And you by my side.

…. From the song, “Bosler” by Jalan Crossland

With all due respect to Mr. Crossland, nobody, but nobody, seems to want to go to Bosler, Wyoming. There isn’t an intact trailer in the town, and no real streets for kids to play in as implied in his song. But his near-comical lyrics about a lonesome city apartment dweller longing for the open plains of Wyoming are an allegorical feast that says much about the spirit of the West. There are times when I feel that way myself.

Bosler was once a cattle town with a railroad mail stop, post office, stores, a school and the usual church. There was even a four-room motel, unplumbed of course, but with “Men” and “Women” privies. The urge to use one of those “facilities” in a wind-blown January night must have been intense. Or perhaps bed pans were available. Bosler remained a colorful pass through as long as US 287 was the main route from Laramie to Jackson, but Mr. Eisenhower’s interstate system nailed Bosler’s coffin shut. So now it looks like Jeffrey City, a once-thriving uranium-mining town a bit further along 287, and other ghost towns in Wyoming. The famous Virginian Hotel, or what’s left of it, is in the crossroad of Medicine Bow, a few miles north of Bosler. And Como Bluff, known for its big dinosaur fossils, is nearby.

(Note: The following images were processed in a style discussed in my earlier blog post, “Jack Spencer”.)

The truck is doing what most vehicles do in Bosler, passing through without slowing. The four small buildings on the right are the remains of the “motel”.

The truck is doing what most vehicles do in Bosler, passing through without slowing. The four small buildings on the right are the remains of the “motel”.

As with the rest of Bosler, the “consolidated” school is abandoned; its windows broken, the classrooms wrecked, and the campus is a sea of prairie grass.

The Bosler Consolidated School sits starkly empty on the plains on the north side of town. There are miles of open space between the school and the distant Laramie Range forming the horizon. There’s a road over there in the distance, where cars are mere specks.

The Bosler Consolidated School sits starkly empty on the plains on the north side of town. There are miles of open space between the school and the distant Laramie Range forming the horizon. There’s a road over there in the distance, where cars are mere specks.

There are more antelope carcasses than people in Bosler, although that statement would be true if there was only one dead antelope beside the road. Nobody but photographers drops their speed while driving through, and a 40 mph antelope can’t compete with a 70 mph vehicle. Speaking of which, dead vehicles abound too, some in the open, others behind a decrepit wood fence. There is also a house west of the railroad whose yard is crammed with junk vehicles, including old school buses. The accumulation of unusable stuff must say something about our insecurities, or maybe we’re just pack rats.

Bosler’s graveyard of the rusted automobile.

Bosler’s graveyard of the rusted automobile.

The last business in Bosler was Doc’s Western Village. Like the fenced-in junk yard a few yards down the road, there is still stuff inside the old store. Somebody is paying a utility bill for it as indicated by a drop cord coming from a side door to an old “motor home” parked to the right of this image. The strange sound of music, the only sound in Bosler other than the wind, an occasional Union Pacific train, and the whining of car and truck tires on the highway, was emanating from that old camper, but I saw no one. An eerie feeling if one thinks about the possibility of an armed crank sleeping off a hangover in that contraption! I moved about quietly. Back to my story, there’s not even a Dollar General in Bosler, and Dollar General goes to places where Wal Mart won’t go. As Jalan Crossland’s song says, “In Bosler Wyoming there ain’t much to buy”.

Doc’s Western Village, now deceased.

Doc’s Western Village, now deceased.

So, as the sun began its descent behind the Snowy Range, I got into my car, pulled out on US 287, and headed southward to Laramie, wondering about what I had seen and sensed, while the never-ceasing wind and the prairie grass continued their slow reclamation of Bosler.

Thanks, Mr. Crossland, for reminding us that we can dream.