The air falls fresh and thinner at this altitude, the gusts like offshore gales. The roads come filled with tumbleweed, the dirt lays soft like sand. The grass grows sharp and arid, the freight trains last forever. My room in Green River costs $37 without tax. There’s no number on the door and the knob jams before opening, but the space itself proves welcoming – two-cup coffee maker, full-service cable, a corner table, reliable wifi, a brand-new bathroom, a queen-size bed … double the amenities of several four-star hotels.
The night wind slips down low across the prairies, rattling hard against the window as I lie awake in bed. I am watching a cable access show about the suicide rate throughout this region. Wyoming, as it turns out, is part of a cluster of mid-western states, all of which perennially compete for the top five suicide rates in the country.