Wamsutter, Wyoming

Wamsutter has the distinction of being the largest settlement in the Great Divide Basin. This area is also known as the Red Desert. It's famous for continually being in a boom-and-bust cycle since the railroad built a section point here, beginning in 1868. Since then, the cycle has been fed by booms in desert sheep ranching, wild horse round-ups (specifically for the big pet food companies), uranium mining and now oil and natural gas.

When the railroads changed over to diesel locomotives, the Union Pacific pulled all their people and equipment out (the train depot was actually wiped out in a large train derailment - something that happens often in the Wamsutter area).

Sheep ranching fell off in the face of foreign competition and the development of synthetic fibers to replace wool. Federal laws shutting off the slaughterhouses ended the wild horse round-ups. The Three Mile Island disaster in Pennsylvania ended the uranium mining.

Oil and gas operations come and go, depending on the markets. All of this up and down has left a rather unsightly settlement... 98% of the housing in Wamsutter is mobile homes, or what's left of mobile homes. I last passed through Wamsutter on Labor Day in 2008. I stopped at a truck stop for fuel and asked the attendant "Is there anything more to Wamsutter than what I see?" His response: "What you see is more than there is..."