Today’s BEFORE picture involves one of my all-time favorite rest stops. It was a historic general store in Aladdin, Wyoming (population 15). I just wanted something to drink, but I was so enamored by its creaky wooden floors and its quirky ambience, that I hung around there for quite a bit longer than I do at gas station convenience stores. I’ll let the picture and the caption tell the rest of the story.

August, 2017: It was a pretty hot day and I had been doing a fair amount of climbing in Wyoming’s little corner of the Black Hills. I’m generally not much of a soda pop drinker, but I saw this orange cream soda in the cooler and the temptation was irresistable. I drank it straight out of the bottle on the front porch and I assure you, it was as refreshing and tasty as it looked.

June 10, 2020: It was a pretty cool day in MY Town (population 22,172). I drank this orange soda straight out of the bottle on the front porch of the old Gardner Hotel and I assure you, it was only mildly refreshing. It tasted pretty good though.

Okay, since it WAS one of my favorite stops of all time, I figured I should back it up with a couple more pictures. The first one is a front view of the place, which has been in continuous operation for something like 2,000 years. (Actually 125 years.) The second picture captures the greatest sign I’ve ever seen.

If the bar in the back corner of the general store had been open at that time of the day, I definitely would have ordered a fancy beerif for no other reason than to learn what constituted a fancy beer in such a tiny town. (A fine ale handcrafted by Belgian Monks? Or a Michelob Lite?)

It’s funny how I can get so carried away once I sit down in front of my typewriter — I mean — computer. I swear, I only intended to post the before and after pictures and then close this thing out quickly. I’m not yet done though.

On my way home from the elaborately staged AFTER picture, I ran into a little excitement. I was riding up the hill just past the Fire Station when an Emergency vehicle pulled out and passed me with lights flashing and sirens screaming. I expected it to continue on for miles — like they always seem to do — and I’d be unable to keep up and never see it again.

This time, however, it came to a stop at the top of the hill just a couple blocks ahead. I arrived only a minute after that first responder. I could not believe what I saw.

That pick-up truck down there apparently came off a side street at a high rate of speed, crashed through a chain-link fence, launched itself over about 20 rows of bleachers, landed on the high school football field, and gouged out a big chunk of the brand new artificial turf.

Cops and ambulances and fire trucks and more gawkers like me showed up soon thereafter. Probably lawyers too. The general consensus amongst the bystanders was that the driver either suffered a medical crisis, or a drug/alcohol-fueled burst of psychosis, or a suicide attempt. I rode home feeling pretty sad.

Hi. My name is Greg and I ride my bike a lot. That is to say, I ride my bike almost every day. I go on long rides and short rides. Sunny rides, cloudy rides, and rainy rides. I like commuting, errand-running, day-tripping, overnighting, and touring on my bike. I ride on city streets, highways, gravel, single track, and snow with equal enthusiasm. Sometimes I ride fast and sometimes I ride slow. I try to keep my feet on the pedals at stop lights and I do not dismount when I hop up on a curb. I have a roadie bike, a mountain bike and a touring bike. I try to accept any challenge a bike ride can throw at me without complaint. But I don't like bugs.

10 response to "BEFORE AND AFTER: June 10"

  1. By: Rich-Illinois Posted: June 10, 2020

    Double Yikes @ pickup truck incident. Maybe you will hear what the cause was on the news.

    My favorite sign was on a Radiator Shop:
    “A good place to take a leak”

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 11, 2020

      Last night’s news reported on the incident but there weren’t any details I didn’t already know. I’ll report back when I hear more.

      Update: The driver of the truck survived. Still no info on the cause of the crash.

  2. By: Bill Stone Posted: June 10, 2020

    Good post, Greg, and it’s a great sign, but your orange soda takes a back seat (so to speak) to the truck on the field. I never saw the movie, but I’m thinking this looks like a scene from Smokey and the Bandit.

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 11, 2020

      I saw Smoky and the Bandit . . . and you’re RIGHT!

  3. By: Suzanne Posted: June 10, 2020

    Do you have a copy of the original picture with you when you recreate it or do you do it from memory? I just realized it’s not so easy to recreate old shots from memory. Chapeau, Garceau!

    • By: gregblood Posted: June 11, 2020

      Yes, I do pull up an old picture on my phone to help me set the scene. But then I have to click it off when I go to the camera function of my phone. It’s surprising how many details you forget in just a couple of seconds. In this case, for example, I didn’t have my hand positioned on the bottle exactly the same. Had the old picture been right in front of me, that’s something I would have gotten right.

    • By: Bill Stone Posted: June 11, 2020

      Wow, that’s perfect, Suzanne. I might need to make it my new motto. “Chapeau, Garceau!”

  4. By: The Navigator Posted: June 14, 2020

    I stopped and had a drink in Aladdin in 2014 on a tour, too. The whole town was for sale as a single purchase. I didn’t enquire about price. I was heading west so hadn’t hit the hills yet. I ended up in a random bit of BLM grassland in MT that night about 103 miles from Belle Fourche where I’d started. I remember the creaky floorboards at the store.

  5. By: Alchemyrider Posted: June 30, 2020

    Perhaps being in bottles makes the beer fancy?

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