If you’ve driven through central Wyoming, chances are you’ve stopped at the Fast Lane in Shoshoni.
It’s the only gas station for miles in any direction – and because of its strategic location in the center of the state, the place is almost always busy.
“If you’re going to travel Wyoming and not use the interstate, you have to come to my town,” said Monica Gabriel, one of the managers at Fast Lane. “Shoshoni is the crossroads of Wyoming.”
Because Shoshoni is such a small town with few businesses, travelers can’t help but notice the construction going on just north of the business that’s been serving travelers since 1985, when Tim Davis bought the property.
In 1995, he built Fast Lane as it is now – but Davis said it’s time to go bigger. Since the spring – when construction began to ramp up after a pandemic-related slump – slowly but surely the old Fast Lane is being overshadowed by a bigger, better version.
From food services to fuel pumps, Davis said the Fast Lane is expanding in all directions. He’s adding package liquor as well as setting aside one fuel island specifically for high-flow diesel for large trucks.
And once the existing facility is razed, which Davis expects to be around March, a new canopy will be erected to shelter six fueling stations that each will offer all gasoline products, plus diesel.
“The new store is considerably larger and it will have package liquor and more fast food – and a lot bigger bathrooms,” said Davis.
Fast Lane employs about 35 people, but because the new store will more than double in size, Gabriel expects the need for staff will grow as well.
“We’re gonna need more help in this new store,” she said. “Part of me goes, ‘Oh, what am I gonna do? I can only work these people so much,’ but the other side of me goes, ‘Nah, it’ll all be fine.’ That’s what we do, we pull together and we just do it.”
Keeping Shoshoni Alive
Shoshoni is a small town that has experienced a decline in businesses and seen several buildings demolished in the last five years. But those who live there are determined to see their community grow.
The town has bought land to sell for housing and small ranches and has scheduled a major sewer system expansion, and a school built in 2016 has attracted students from around the region.
“I think Shoshone is coming out of a slump, if you will,” said Davis, who expressed his gratitude not only to the “regulars” who continue to patronize his business, but to the traveling public that have kept this modern-day way station alive.
“The ‘crossroads’ part of it is what drives Fast Lane,” he said.
And Gabriel agreed. Having spent the majority of her adult life working at Fast Lane, she said she feels an immense pride in serving those weary travelers who come through the door 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We are like that desert oasis at the end of the highway coming from Casper,” said Gabriel.