Biker Reunion in the Shadow Of Devils Tower

Mornings, when the rain drops fall heavy on the mule wagon roof, I know Polly’s harness won’t come out from under the wagon. On wet days we stay in camp. Driving a wagon in the rain just isn’t worth it. Polly’s bare feet, softened by the rain, wear too quickly. Drivers that whoosh past the Lost Sea wagon have more than just cell phones, arguing kids and fast food to distract them. Now they’re navigating a gray world slashed by windshield wipers.

So this soaking Friday morning, with the Wyoming rain coming down on Devils Tower, I fed Polly and headed to the Devils Tower KOA Campground for breakfast.

After eggs and toast, I stopped to chat with a motorcycle rider sitting on the restaurant’s porch drinking coffee from a foam cup and smoking a cigarette down to the butt. His name was Dean Cornett and we talked about the things travelers discuss in dry places when they don’t want to go back into the rain – how he broke his ankle in Oregon, how he’d wrecked the Harley in New Mexico with his wife and two dogs aboard. “Busted up the dog good.” he said, waving to the Pomeranian waiting on the Harley in the rain. “He landed spread eagle, slid across the pavement and I was sure he was dead.” But everyone survived and the little dog had 25,000 Harley miles under him now.


Then talk shifted to mules. Of how, once, a few years back, Dean saw a man with a mule and pony come through his home town of Estelline, Texas.

What? Estelline? No, it couldn’t be. I’d traveled through the town of 168 a few years before and had spent a pleasant night camped at the town’s rodeo arena. I remembered it well for the fog and the stock tank where I’d watered Woody and Maggie.

Watering Maggie and Woody
Estelline, TX – Fall 2004

Dean smoked some more and I closed my eyes and I described my route through the area and sure enough, it turns out I’d camped across the street from his house. He knew Sherry, the lady who’d supplied me with grain for Woody and Maggie, well.

Dean, dog and Devils Tower in the rain

And so we passed the morning hiding from the rain, talking Texas, Harleys, bike crashes, the tornado that struck Estelline and a mule journey from way back when….

So that’s what we’re doing out here in the Wyoming rain. Sure hope you’re killing some rain time today with a friend from way back when – even if your skies are dry.


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