Dave Simpson: Plenty Of Good News Up At Buford

Columnist Dave Simpson writes: "This past weekend, gas at Buford was $4.15 a gallon. I never thought I'd see that as a bargain, but then we'd never had fossil fuel-hostile Joe Biden as president before."

Dave Simpson

July 25, 20224 min read

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(Cowboy State Daily Staff)

Let’s hit the road:

– It’s good news that the convenience store at Buford is open again – bigger and better than ever.

The even better news is that gasoline up there is selling for significantly less per gallon than in Cheyenne.

That’s because Mintu Pandher from Laramie now owns the place, and he sends tanker trucks all over the country to find the cheapest gas.

This past weekend, gas at Buford was $4.15 a gallon. (I never thought I’d see that as a bargain, but then we’d never had fossil fuel-hostile Joe Biden as president before.) In Cheyenne the going price was $4.35 a gallon. Earlier this month, the bargain was even better, about 40 cents.

He’s also offering what I’m told is excellent Indian food out at the Quealy Dome truck stop west of Laramie, and now in Laramie at the Chuckwagon restaurant on South Third.

You’ll recall that Buford – population one – was auctioned to a Vietnamese investor back in 2012 for $900,000, who tried to re-name it “Phin Deli Town at Buford.” But I never heard one person call it that. Another investor owned Buford for a while, the convenience store was closed for a couple years, but Pandher has brought it back to life.

One would never expect to find the best price of gas at a railroad whistle stop midway between Laramie and Cheyenne, but it’s true.

– Over on the west side of the Snowy Range on Highway 130, there was a favorite stopping place of mine called “The Place.” It was a great place to stop after skiing or snowmobiling, or on a summer afternoon, but it has been closed for years now. If you forgot something basic shopping in Saratoga, you stood a good chance of finding it at The Place, along with something cold to drink and a good hamburger.

It had several owners in the 45 years I’ve spent in the area, including one guy – sick of snow – who told me he was going to wire a snow shovel to the front of his RV and head south. When he got far enough that someone asked him, “What’s that?” he would buy a house and live there forevermore. Snow had lost its appeal for that guy.

The perfect ending to a summertime run into Saratoga for groceries, supplies (Shively Hardware is awesome), and a soak in Hobo Pool, was an ice-cold Coors at The Place.

I miss it bad.

But, I’m told it has new owners, who have something other than a bar and restaurant in mind. And you can get a cold beer across the street at The Ten Mile Inn, which also has new owners.

Stay tuned, fellow travelers.

– A few columns back I said I wanted to try the Reuben Sandwich at the Alibi Wood Fired Pizzaria and Artisan Bakery in Laramie, which was featured on Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” on the Food Network.

Mission accomplished. It was one wonderful Reuben, on rye bread baked right there. And it was big enough to also provide lunch at the cabin the next day. A pizza there the next trip was equally outstanding.

The sign is all that’s left of the old Alibi, where during my years as a reporter at the Boomerang you could sometimes find the county attorney, or a county commissioner, in the bar next to the liquor store.

It’s still a bar, so you can enjoy an adult beverage with your outstanding meal. Perfect.

– These days, whenever I’m anywhere near Laramie I tune in to  Markley, van Camp and Robbins on KOWB, 1290 weekdays between 10 am and 1 pm. Broadcasting out of my old neighborhood in Central Illinois, they are my favorite talk show now that the great Rush Limbaugh is gone.

Glenn Beck is as good as he’s ever been on KTWO 1030 in Casper, and Dan Bongino is excellent on KGAB 650 in Cheyenne. And we’re all lucky to have “Wake Up Wyoming” with Glenn Woods. So we crusty conservatives have options.

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Dave Simpson

Political, Wyoming Life Columnist

Dave has written a weekly column about a wide variety of topics for 39 years, winning top columnist awards in Wyoming, Colorado, Illinois and Nebraska.