Just about six months ago I arrived in Wyoming on the birthday of America. It was July 4, 2012...I’ll never forget the date.
Packing up my belongings on the east coast, it was a relaxing and scenic drive of approximately 2000 miles west, until I reached the border of the state I have longed to call my home for awhile now.
As the sign ahead of me finally came into focus welcoming me to my new home, I pulled my vehicle over, got out, and proceeded to kiss the dirt ground on the side of the highway – so thrilled was I that my journey had reached its final conclusion and destination.
The dirt even tasted good, believe it or not.
A lot of people have asked me; “why Wyoming?”
Because its awful here – everyone hates it, and I hate everything and everyone – and to the best of my knowledge misery really loves it’s own company.
Wyoming is by far the least populated state in the country – so what should that tell you?
Before I headed west I was residing about an hour’s drive north of my work place in New York City, I was living in Fairfield County, Connecticut.
Now to bring in some perspective for you, Fairfield County is comprised of some 1,465 square miles.
Contained within these borders of the county reside 916,829 people.
Now lets compare that with my new wasteland of a home on the map.
In the state of Wyoming, a state that is 280 miles wide by 360 miles in length, including me and my family, there are 576,412 people in the entire state.
The entire state.
With those statistics it should be easy to arrive at the conclusion that only the worst of the worst would choose to live in such an abominable and ghastly sort of a place.
There are only a few things that I would be able to tell you about my new home now for the last 6 months — that allow it to be viewed in a slightly favorable light.
Well, lets compare and contrast a few things — because I think that might be the best course of action to take in showing the stark differences between my former home on the eastern seaboard — as compared to the desolate nature of my new environment.
There’s only a few mind you.
Like for instance, when I was living on the east coast and doing my radio shows from the heart of New York City, I would have a good hour’s drive into the city, then get off the air at 11 PM EST, make another ride of an hour – and get home shortly after midnight each weekday.
Here in Wyoming, I get into my vehicle, drive 1 mile and I’m at my downtown office/studio in Cheyenne.
What’s up with that?
After the show – I get back into my vehicle and drive another mile to my house.
What a joke!
2 whole miles of travel?
10 miles of travel a week?
The distance was 60 miles door to door on the east coast from my home in New Fairfield, Connecticut, to the front doors of the SiriusXM building at 49th and 6th in New York City.
So in terms of overall commute – I guess Wyoming wins this one?
That depends on how you look at it.
Lets see now — 10 miles of round trip travel every week here — versus 600 miles of weekly round trip driving when I was back east.
It might seem like a win in the column for Wyoming – but that’s only one thing – and it’s not even a really big issue when you think about it, right?
Time in a vehicle is what you make of it no matter how much distance you’re traveling.
Think about it.
I mean as the cerebral talk show host I fancy myself to be — those 2 hours I previously spent in my vehicle those days going back and forth allowed me a lot of time to think, to plan, to get myself centered and ready for my shows day after day after day.
My goodness, I turn the key, put my head up, and I’m at my new studio.
No wonder my shows have been awful ever since I’ve been out here – I obviously have no time to think!
Then there is the matter of gasoline of course – and this has me feeling as guilty as ever…as you can probably imagine.
On the east coast I was contributing to the economic engine of the states of Connecticut and New York on a daily basis, with me purchasing gasoline most every day, at a minimum of $40 per day, totaling over 5 days – in the neighborhood of $190.00 per week…extrapolate that to just about 4 weeks per month and I was on the hook for about $760 in fuel costs monthly.
So frequently was I at these gas stations – that over time I got to know several of the individuals who worked at these places on a first name basis, and I have to admit, it helped me out from a social skills standpoint tremendously.
You must be kidding me.
May I remind you that there are a total of only a little more than 500,000 people in the whole state?
There are but 60,000 or so people here in the place I call home, Cheyenne, and virtually everyone I’ve met has no desire to talk with me. Believe me, I’ve asked them.
Whereas I was at a gas station on the east coast with regularity — here in Wyoming — unless I’m making a trip over to the college town of Laramie to watch my beloved Cowboys, I’m lucky if I see a gas station once every 6-7 days.
Another thing that struck me as kind of funny as I settled in out here and started to do my shows…I noticed that while I was in my vehicle and driving to the studio, my left hand would constantly be reaching for my left pocket.
You were reaching for your pocket?
It was almost like a reflex action of sorts – and I couldn’t understand why this was happening.
It got so bad that I thought about calling a doctor to analyze my condition – I was worried that this must be some sort of new nervous tick, and that maybe the lighter air here in Wyoming might be responsible for some new medical malady that was overcoming me.
At first I feared the onslaught of something like Tourette’s syndrome – or something like that.
But then I figured it out.
See on the east coast – not only did I drive 120 miles round trip to my job each weekday – not only did I stop at a gas station every day before I headed into New York City – but in addition to all of that – I was also reaching for my wallet quite consistently during my drive to work — as well as my drive back home each day/night.
See once I got to the point during my drive where I was prepared to enter the island of Manhattan — that would cost me $4 — then once I was going home and was finished with the privilege of using those Manhattan roadways, it would cost me another $4 to escape the city.
So the reflex action of my hand constantly going to my pocket as I was driving was something that stuck with me the first few weeks I was out here in Cheyenne.
But there’s more.
The culture shock of arriving at work now – versus arriving at work back then was dramatic for me – and it took some time getting used to.
For instance, after I gassed up with a $40 payment before I left for the city back then, I’d then fork over the $4 to get into the city – and then as I entered midtown where the SXM studios are located – then it was time for the real battle to begin.
The…real battle, you say?
Here in Wyoming, I drive a mile to my office/studio, step out, sometimes lock my doors, and walk up one flight of stairs where my microphone awaits my presence.
Pretty simple, right?
In New York though – it was a lot more fun – as well as challenging.
See here in Wyoming I can park on any downtown street at any old time – always assured a place to park.
In New York though, it’s much more fun…in a sadistic kind of way I mean.
Not only was it like playing Russian Roulette each day hoping to find a parking space somewhere in the vicinity of the building – but if I couldn’t find a space – I’d have to ditch the vehicle in a parking garage where the bill would only come to $54.00 for 4-5 hours of being able to keep my vehicle there.
Then after they brought my car to me at the end of the night so I could drive back home, the guy who brought me my car would stand there waiting to be tipped a few bucks — this after I’ve already paid his damn company $54 for 4 hours of their time.
I miss those moments a lot.
It was way more fun parking in New York as opposed to Wyoming in many respects.
How about this one?
Lets say I was running a bit late on that particular day to the studio – and I’d be arriving lets say only 30 minutes before show time – and I was in no mood to pay $54 to use one of Manhattan’s gorgeous parking garages that day…and then tipping some asshole as well.
Under this scenario (which happened more frequently than you would imagine), what would inevitably happen, is that I would place a phone call to either Andrew Caplan or to Rich Mendes (my producers) when I was within 5-10 minutes of arriving — and I’d request of these individuals to please go down to the street, and if they saw a vacant parking space — to act as though they worked for a business nearby and to not let anyone park there because there was a big truck coming that was only moments away and needed to make an important delivery.
I never really thought that either Caplan or Mednes could possibly get the ever loving shit kicked out of them pulling this kind of a stunt with perhaps the wrong person – but I didn’t really care about that – I just needed a place to park.
A place to park?
Here in Wyoming as I’ve already indicated there are hundreds of places to park.
And park I do.
Not only for work purposes, but whenever I decide to go downtown for a cup of coffee, maybe a run over to the mall, a visit to the Depot Plaza to go out and walk around a little bit.
Parking is a breeze.
Back in New York it was not so much a breeze as much as it was a multi-layered test each day to do your best at retaining your sanity to keep you from ripping somebody’s fucking head off.
I’ll give you another difference to this whole commute thing.
In New York, after I gassed up with $40 (each day) and I paid $8 to get in and out of Manhattan (each day), and I struggled to find a place to park within 15 miles of the SXM studios (mostly each day)…there was also the process of paying additional monies to park on the street…assuming my car was not in a garage because I couldn’t find a place to park on the street.
Comparing again now, here in Cheyenne, I park, turn off the car, get out, go up, do my show.
No entry fee to get into Cheyenne, no fee to leave Cheyenne, no visit to a gas station, and NO FEE TO PARK ON THE STREET!
Not so in New York.
In New York that’ll be $16 to park your car there Mr. Costa for the next 4 hours.
That price beats the shit out of paying $54 for 4 hours in the event I could not find a space in time — but still — as you can see, all of these associated costs of simply going to work each day and becoming used to it, all this caused my involuntary action, with my hand constantly heading for my pocket the first few weeks I was making my way to work here in Wyoming.
I had to get out of that habit.
Lets now review for clarity purposes…
Fee to get in & out of the city>$8
Cost to park on the street>$16
Some folks struggle to bring home $64 each day they go to work, in my case when I was back in New York it cost me $64 every day simply to go to work.
In Wyoming there is nothing that may be described as traffic.
In New York traffic is an expected way of life.
Here in Wyoming a burger and a brew at the downtown Grub-N-Pub will run you $12, and then you go home.
In New York a burger and a brew will run you $30, and then you go home but not before paying another $4 to leave the city.
Here in Cheyenne we have a Mayor by the name of Rick Kayson.
Rick seems to be a nice guy and well-intentioned, he runs a nice tight ship, and waves to you as you pass by.
In New York City the Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is the offspring of Satan himself, who never waves to anyone, and who tells me how big my soda may be in his kingdom.
But really now, aside from some of these minor issues and items I mention, Wyoming isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
For instance, my state voted overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney.
Politically we’re not with the times, obviously.
And here in Wyoming we actually believe that the answer to bad guys with guns is more good guys with guns.
Just a little bit outta touch, eh?
And what about my particular alleged area of expertise?
The world of Sports?
We have not a single professional team – even though I just finished a long letter to the owner of the New York Jets imploring him to pull up stakes, to get out of the shadow of the Giants, and to seriously consider a move to Cheyenne.
It’s actually the perfect town for Woody Johnson’s NFL team, as we do have a great Air Force base here, so the ‘Cheyenne Jets’ makes perfect sense if you ask me.
Did I say we have not a single professional team?
I must have forgotten the fact that we do have a pro minor junior hockey team, the Cheyenne Stampede, who play in the Western States Hockey League.
My goodness, we don’t even have an airport to fly in and out of!
We have a local commuter airport – but nothing in the way of big time commercial air travel.
If Chris Russo ever wants me to come to New York to have lunch with him, do you realize I have to drive 90 miles south to Denver in order to get on a plane that will scoot me to The Big Apple.
The Big Apple.
New York even has a cool nickname.
We have no nickname.
Last night in New York there were one million people crammed into Times Square to watch the ball drop.
We had a ball drop out here last night too.
Our bright ball hung from a crane an entire 16 stories above the ground.
That’s 16 WHOLE STORIES above the ground, mind you.
Know how many people showed up for our ball drop?
Someone told me last night that it was primarily the overflow crowd that couldn’t get into Times Square.
We’ll take it any way we can get it out here in Wyoming.
In New York you can count upon the weather just as Al Roker tells you.
Here in Wyoming we live in a state where the temperature can change 30 degrees in 2 hours.
In New York you have a cement jungle with massive skyscrapers.
Here in Wyoming we have lots and lots of land, virtually no population by comparison, and our tallest building just might be Devils Tower over in Crook County.
Here in Wyoming the next real town might be 100 miles in any direction.
No wonder the gasoline out here is far cheaper than on the east coast — nobody goes anywhere because there is no place to go to.
Here in Wyoming we love our rodeo and our annual Frontier Days celebration each July in Cheyenne.
In New York they view these activities as glorified animal abuse.
Here in Wyoming, we’re western, a lot of folks are western..in New York City the only thing western and wearing a cowboy hat is, Don Imus.
I really do hate it out here – in fact most people if they’re honest would tell you the same thing.
Out here in Wyoming we have lots of things to gripe about.
Like for instance, we have no corporate or personal state income tax.
Like for instance, we have low energy costs when compared to most other states.
The quality of life in Wyoming is outstanding – but that can be kind of overrated I’m told.
Here in Wyoming there is a spirit of individualism, a frontier mentality that still exists in these modern times, it’s a place where personal responsibility and accountability for your actions is championed.
In other words, Rex Ryan would not like it here.
Wyoming means freedom baby!
Well, at least until Obama passes through one day and sees how much we like being left alone.
From what exactly?
Well, from a few things that might be important to you depending on your position.
Certainly freedom of anything resembling high crime.
Here in The Cowboy State, you break into someone’s home in an illegal fashion, with the way we love our guns and the ability to protect ourselves — you might be leaving that home you just broke into in a body bag.
I like New York – heck I’m from the east coast originally.
But as I’ve gotten older my feelings have changed.
Call it The Cowboy In Me.
Call it a collective 10 years now living, working, and playing, in America’s best region; The Rocky Mountain West.
Or, The Rocky Mountain Empire, if you like.
I can take New York in drips and drabs…and I can take it if someone else is paying for my parking each day.
I love the fact that I can drive downtown here in Cheyenne, and make my way around town without the big city pressure that is found in many other places.
Freedom from traffic jams, freedom from noise and air pollution, freedom to grow and thrive, and freedom in costs of living.
According to 24/7 Wall Steet, Wyoming is seen as the best run state in the country.
What? No WAY!
Way, I’m afraid.
According to The Tax Foundation (whatever the hell that is) Wyoming is seen as having the best Business friendly Tax climate in the country.
What? No WAY!
Way, I’m afraid.
Here is something else that I took off of a pro-Wyoming website – take it with a grain of salt:
The state is located in the heart of the Rocky Mountain Region, border by Utah, Nebraska, Idaho, Montana, South Dakota and Colorado. Wyoming has 98 incorporated cities and towns and 19 first-class cities. With an estimated 576,412 residents in 2012 and 97,818 square miles, Wyoming means less traffic, less stress and less congestion for residents and companies.
Don’t you believe a word of it.
Here in Cheyenne we have electricity and most homes enjoy running water with modern plumbing too.
We also possess every single major business chain in the country, go ahead, name one, and I’ll make sure to tell you we have it.
We have a police force, and I was shocked to find out we also have these guys whose job it is to put out out of control fires every now and then.
Cheyenne has a great newspaper, The Wyoming Tribune-Eagle.
Not only do I subscribe to that paper, but I also subscribe to the largest newspaper in the state, The Casper Star-Tribune.
How bout that?
I was kind of hesitant to take the Wyoming plunge before I found out that DirecTV did have satellites in space that were able to beam their signal to this place…on most days, that is.
These are my people.
This is where I come from.
I love that song.
Being here in Wyoming means living with friendly people in an environment conducive to a high quality of life.
To top it off, the state possesses outstanding recreational and cultural activities ranging from theatre (theatre? IN WYOMING???) to fishing, to hunting, to snowstorms, to…being the state that hosts The DINO COSTA Show!
Imagine WYOMING’S good fortune.
The same year The Dino Costa Show moves its way to Wyoming — the state also produces it’s first ever batch of whiskey!
I hate it here.
You’d hate it too.
When I lived in Colorado for almost 10 years previously I told myself that one day I would settle here.
Now I cannot believe what I was thinking.
Stay away if you know what’s good for you.
I’m only six months in to this thing and I have no idea how I’ll be able to make it another six months.
I hate Wyoming.
No…I mean I REALLY do!