Standing Out in Sundance, Wyoming

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One thing that I always try to do when I travel is not stand out and look like a tourist. For the most part I’m pretty good at blending in and not making myself appear out-of-place. Especially when I’m traveling within the United States. However, there are certainly places where blending in can be a tall order. For this post I’ll share a time when I stood out quite a bit in a small town in eastern Wyoming.

I took a solo road trip out to South Dakota shortly after graduating from college. It was something that I was really looking forward to after an intense final semester of student teacher before getting my Bachelor’s degree in elementary education. My itinerary for this trip included the Badlands, the Black Hills, Mount Rushmore, and the Mammoth Site. But towards the end of my trip I learned that Devil’s Tower was just a little bit further west. So I made the decision to go see that as well. I’d seen pictures of Devil’s Tower when I was younger. But didn’t fully understand what I was seeing at the time. Once I learned that it was relatively close by I knew I had to go see it.

By the time I had made it into Wyoming is was already getting dark. So I pulled into the small town of Sundance to find a motel for the night. The town reminded me a lot of the place where I grew up. With a population of just over a thousand people. I imagined that it was the kind of place where everybody knows everybody. This became quite apparent once I went out for breakfast the next morning.

I went to Higbees Cafe right across the street from my motel (Bear Lodge). The moment I walked in the door, every patron seated throughout the cafe stopped and looked at me. Clearly they knew right away that I wasn’t from around there. I stood there like a deer in headlights for a few moments then quietly made my way to a corner booth. I think all eyes stayed on me until I sat down.

The cafe appeared to have been ran by what I assumed was a husband and wife team. The husband was in the kitchen cooking and the wife was running the floor. After ordering my breakfast I sat back and began picking up some of what the other patrons were saying. I quickly learned that everyone there was having one big conversation, except for me of course. From what I remember it sounded like someone in the town crashed his lawnmower after drinking too much alcohol, or something like that. I definitely felt a bit out for place, but at least the food was good.

After finishing my breakfast I checked out of the motel and made my way up to Devil’s Tower. Now that was a sight to behold. I spent the rest of that day back in the Black Hills before hitting the road to return to Michigan.

So I definitely stood out in Sundance. Enough to where I was able to silence an entire cafe full of patrons. But this was nothing compared to my experiences while living in West Africa. Trying to blend in there was virtually impossible, but I’ll tell about that in later posts!

I hope you all enjoyed this story! I’ll be covering other parts of my South Dakota adventure later on as well. Now I’d like to hear from you. What are some places that you’ve traveled to where trying to blend in just wouldn’t work? Leave a comment below and tell me about it! Thank you for visiting my blog. Have a great day!

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