Almost immediately after crossing the border into Wyoming, we came across fireworks stores. This seems mainly because it's legal to sell “bigger” fireworks to the general public in Wyoming year round, hence residents of nearby states flock here, only to be picked off by under cover cops as they cross back to their own state. Almost immediately after crossing the border into Wyoming, I realised we'd turned off the road and where headed to one such store. Brad excitedly browsed the store, in awe of some bigger than a case of beer. I suggested sparklers were sufficient, and pondered whether our travel insurance covered firework related injuries, whilst unwelcome images of Brad with a bloody stump where a hand had been filled my mind.
We'd initially planned to spend July 4 in Casper, Wyoming. The word “planned” should be used loosely, as this wasn't exactly a plan into which much thought or time had been spent, more a decision to “go somewhere within a reasonable driving distance that might have something interesting to see”. On arrival in Casper the day before, we realised a little more prior planning might have been required. Casper might be an oil town (we're not sure), and at 5pm on a Sunday had an eerie almost ghost town feeling to it. We saw one couple the entire time we searched for a place to spend the night, and whilst they didn't fit the movie image of zombie, they might have been.
Having seen enough (sorry Casper) we quickly headed off to Lander early the next morning, with the promise of a parade and evening fireworks display, plus no restrictions on Brad letting off his own, and arrived just in time to see the start of the parade. It was as expected from a small town, with one distinct absence – not once was the national anthem played.
After the parade we secured ourselves a camp site on a hill over looking the town which promised a great view of their fireworks display, then found ourselves somewhat at a loss for what to do. It was at this point we realised we'd have spent the day with family or friends or both if we had any here, and a touch of homesickness set in. After this realisation we spent the rest of the day having a few quiet drinks and playing enthusiastic games of Spit, a card game which involves no saliva but a fair amount of speed and table slapping.
As soon as the sun hinted that it might be going down, the town fireworks display started. By town, I mean the entire population began setting off their personal cache and very soon after a gunpowder haze settled in. Brad and I set ourselves up at the camp ground perimeter overlooking the town equipped with chairs, a rug and hot chocolate and watched for the next few hours, until Brad decided it was time to head to the nearest parking lot and set off his own small stash.
The fireworks were still going when we went to bed at midnight.