A Book and a Drive through the Canyon
When earlier this summer I made up my mind to finish my book Will O’ the Wisp before we went on vacation in September, I decided I needed a carrot to dangle in front of me as additional motivation. A great weakness of mine, and one that often keeps me from writing, is reading other people’s books. So as a prize for writing The End on my book, and not a minute before, I promised myself I could read a book I’d recently bought that was by a favorite author.
I became a fan of the TV show Longmire when it first aired four years ago. When I discovered the show was based on books by Wyoming author Craig Johnson, I started reading the series about the sheriff whose jurisdiction is the fictional Absaroka County, Wyoming. I started with the first book and have been reading them in order, but Mr. Johnson also writes stand-alone titles, and the book I’d bought this spring was one of them, called The Highwayman. It proved a good carrot to keep me writing and finishing my book. Then I decided to save The Highwayman as a vacation read, so I could enjoy it while I was actually in the setting.
That played out even better than I thought it would. The book takes place in and around the Wind River Canyon, and the highway running through the canyon is a scenic byway in the state. We’re always big on driving scenic routes, so this time we changed our plan to drive through Yellowstone (which turned out to be a lucky choice, since fire closed the south entrance and snow the northern pass) and took the road through the canyon, a way we’ve never gone before.
The Highwayman has a supernatural, Native American theme to it, as do many of the Longmire books, and the opportunity to read it before and after driving through the canyon certainly gave an extra edge to both the story and the drive. I can’t say I’ve ever read a book while I was in the real setting. The canyon is beautiful if a bit scary, because traffic, including semi-trucks, fly through it as though they’re on a six lane highway, and there isn’t much room to get out of the way. That ties into the Highwayman story, too, but I won’t give anything away. It’s a good book to read while the moon is high and full and the beginning of the autumn season is just a few days away. You might enjoy it, too, even if you can’t drive through the haunted Wind River Canyon.