I never really understood why I was supposed to hate my high school rival town of Powell, Wyoming. Both it and Cody are small towns in the middle of essentially nowhere and neither have any particular political beef or actual prejudice against one another. Some of my friends in music were from Powell. I was not expected to hate them, was I?
Fortunately, I still have good relations with those I knew in band throughout the state. For all those years I lived in Cody, I just smiled and supported my hometown whenever our sports team went up against the team from Powell. Broncs vs. Panthers! Who will win? I would actually like to see something like that take place. A battle of claw against hoof — kind of like that one scene in Spirit… But anyway, no ill will of mine to direct towards such a town that was seemingly undeserving of any vice… Of course, until I lived there myself.
In my twentieth year of life, I began attending Northwest Community College in Powell. That first year of college… Was not terrible. My classes were fine — nothing special, really — and staying on campus during the week had its perks. However, as I began noticing what living in such an unassuming town was like, I grew to abhor the place. I still dread any time I have to drive that half-hour highway and look upon an area that has become so ugly to me. So yeah, I would say that I am fairly qualified to write about the reasons that you would not enjoy living in Powell, Wyoming. Of course, the decision is ultimately yours, but after reading this, there is no way you can say that I gave no warning beforehand.
1. Lack of Excitement
I will say in no uncertain terms that Powell, Wyoming is just a straight-up boring place to live. If you live in Powell and you want to do anything remotely fun, you will basically need to leave town and drive at least half an hour to somewhere that has any semblance of an enjoyable activity. Just save time and gas by living somewhere where there are plenty of activities going on.
2. Lack of Restaurant Variety
Powell has a few decent restaurants, I will admit. Although, most restaurants there are mainly major chain fast food joints that serve the town in no way than to provide a quick grab of sub-par nourishment.
3. Everything is Overpriced
One of the reasons I rarely went shopping anywhere in Powell — other than the fact that there were no interesting stores — was that everything was priced unusually high. I usually stuck with the college cafeteria whenever meal times came around, but on those rare occasions when I could not find time to eat on campus or the cafeteria was closed, I had to resort to buying substandard food from a substandard grocery store.
4. College Town
Not much happens in Powell outside of what takes place on the Northwest Community College campus, which is not surprising considering that most people who live in Powell are just… old. I am not saying that the elderly are not fun! There are just certain things that take place only on campus and even then many of those events that I have attended were nothing special. I fail to even remember what some of those activities were.
5. Too Small
As unpopular as the entire state of Wyoming currently prides itself in being, there are certain places within it that could use a touch of growth and less rurality. Powell is one of these places. Surprisingly, it is not even one of the smallest towns in the state. I suppose it only feels as small as it does because there really is so little to admire about it.
6. Nobody to Meet
Now, I am not saying there are only unpleasant people living in Powell. It is also not impossible to meet new people there. Just speaking from personal experience, I felt that from the time I began attending Northwest to the point where I had enough of the overtly mundane, I did not have any close friends in the whole town. Do not misunderstand, because there are nice people there — I just could not be close enough friends with anyone I met. Whether it be from my own introverted nature or the general disinterest of most people around me, I forged no strong bonds between myself and any of the other students.
7. Lack of Scenery
Surrounding Cody, Wyoming is several breathtaking mountain ranges, rushing waters, and sprawling plains. I am very grateful to have grown up in such a strikingly beautiful locale. Powell, on the other hand, exists in a barren desert where not nearly as many mountains line the horizons. The only closest sacred rock in the nearby vicinity is one that you pass by on the highway and have the misfortune of discovering a more unremarkable side to from the position that Powell is cursed to hold.
8. Buildings are Visually Unappealing
If you like chipped paint, cracked windows, and other household deformities, then the real estate of Powell is just what you are looking for! If I am being honest, Powell has some of the ugliest houses I have ever seen. They are not as bad as most slums that I have seen in other countries, but for a town that prides itself on being home to one of the most prominent schools in the northernmost area of Wyoming? Just why? Again, from what I have observed, only older people who do not seem to mind this, live in these buildings and most college students live on campus or out of town. Still, I have never taken any particular joy in driving through a neighborhood so devoid of any life or color.
9. The Grid
The roads of Powell essentially connect in one great connected grid that, while making it easy to find most places, serves as a reminder of how small and overly compact the layout of the city is.
10. The Weather
When it comes to the state as a whole, Wyoming is entirely its own beast when it comes to the weather. There have been years when it snowed and even hailed on the last day of school! The winter and spring seasons are usually dry along with fall and summer. Altogether, for the most part, Powell, just like the rest of the state, is either dry and hot or dry and chilly. Neither is a very desirable combination, in my opinion.
11. The Desert
Most of Wyoming is a big, sprawling desert. Owing to the factor discussed in the previous reason not to move to Powell, the desert biome that Wyoming is known for is most apparent in the specific town of Powell because of just how dry the area is. The area does not receive nearly the amount of natural moisture it needs to keep its vegetation alive and thriving. This results in ugly, dried-up grass no matter how often a sprinkler is there in an attempt to turn a dehydrated patch of yellow and brown into a soft, lush green. This happens in many places throughout Wyoming, and it is one of my least favorite things about the place. I hate the look and feel of dry grass. If you share the same hate, steer clear of the dry city of Powell.
12. Too Quiet
If you are searching for an unnerving amount of silence, then Powell is the place for you. I, myself, also enjoy the peace that minimal background noise can help provide, given that the surrounding volume is reduced to a low hum. In Powell, though, there is this almost unnatural quality present in the silence. It is either too quiet to be comforting or just enough to remind you how alone you are. The wind blowing through the leafless trees or even the scrape of your shoes on concrete can serve as an eerie reminder of your unwarranted solitude. Even if you are not a fan of the hustle and bustle of the big city variety, I guarantee that even the quietest and most resilient seekers of silence will feel the creepiness of the quiet nature of Powell.
13. The Wind
Wyoming is infamous for its hostile winds. You might think “Oh, a little blow of air can’t bother me that much.” Think again. Imagine trying to walk sideways on a conveyer belt. Heck, imagine trying to stand up straight while being pushed by some invisible force. Well, okay, that basically describes the whole essence of wind. Freaky, isn’t it?
Take what you understand about wind and the experiences you have had with it and prepare for them to be whisked away by that very natural element. Wyoming winds are monstrous. This is the kind of wind that kills trees and snaps the string of your kid’s favorite kite. I can’t even drive straight at times because it is so strong! If you want to move to Powell, be sure to pack a pair of heavy metal boots from the Zelda games to keep you securely attached to the earth.
14. Highway Cuts Through
The main road of Powell, Wyoming is a highway that goes straight through the middle of the town. While that must be nice for anyone just passing through looking to arrive where they want without any interference from a town so depraved of redeeming qualities, it becomes a great hassle for the people who live there because they may have to wait several minutes just to get themselves on the road to arrive at a location, not even a mile from where they started. It would almost seem that those who founded the town thought “Oh, we can just put the town right here directly on this highway so those passing by can behold its mundane glory!”
I am not impressed. I am only delayed from making my auto appointment because of how long I had to wait to get onto the actual highway. If you find the slightest bit of charm in that, then good for you. Just keep me away from that wretched association between that town and that road.
15. All the Main Stores are on the Highway
That is right! I am not finished talking about the horrendous effects that the highway has on this already horrendous town! If you need to get anywhere important in this town, you need to use the highway! Why is this? It is because most of the town’s businesses are located along the highway. I get it. They want to set up shop at the most lucrative locations. From a business standpoint, that is wise because of how many eyes pass by. However, any potential customer will have to put up with constantly changing lanes and slow drivers to even begin finding a parking space near one of the establishments. If you need to arrive anywhere, just walk. It might be a considerable distance, but hey, the town seems to be proud of how compact it is.
16. Little Parking
Man, I am just on a roll with these! Aside from actual parking lots near the college or in front of the local grocery store, there is very little parking space throughout the town. If you already decided to live here despite all of my rants, you can look forward to spending an extra ten minutes just finding a spot that is three blocks away from your intended destination!
17. Lack of Identity
Powell is a college town. That is it. That is the only thing one can say about this place. It has a community college. Of course, that is not something that you can say about just any town, but when that is the only way to describe it, what does it become without the schools? Unless you are a student at Northwest or someone unable to find a job anywhere else, you really have little to no reason to live in Powell, Wyoming.
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