What goes down in Ghost Towns... Cisco, Utah and the road to Born Free Show 2018
We like adventure. We’d even venture to claim that we love adventure. So when we found out there was a “rentable” ghost town on a split route on our way to Mazatlan, MX... we channeled our inner Xzibit and decided to have ourselves a little adventure with our adventure.
It was 587 miles from our home in Sheridan, Wyoming to the desolate remains of Cisco, Utah, a ghost town just a short ways off of I-70. We learned that a brave soul had purchased the town’s remains and had revamped the post office building and a shack built by John and Sid Pace in the early 1900’s. We read a few reviews and after reading one marked “terrible” that claimed “no one was out there” and “everything was graffiti’d and falling apart”... we knew we’d found the right spot. We booked it and booked it out of town (hit the road.)
Now 587 miles through Wyoming and Colorado in March, on motorcycles isn’t for the faint of heart (did we mention we love adventures?) but we charged through the 40° temps, cold rain and unforgiving winds of the mountain region to eventually reach the famed graffiti’d ruins we read about on the internet machine.
It was everything we’d dreamed of. Train tracks to our right, the remains of the famed gas station in Thelma & Louise and the same one Johnny Cash mentioned in his song “Cisco Clifton’s Fillin’ Station” to our left. (Check out the song lyrics below) we kept going and missed the turn in only to find a couple of rad abandoned vehicles and the building made famous by the 1971 action road movie Vanishing Point.” How dope is this place?!
“Cisco Clifton’s Fillin’ Station” - Johnny Cash
“Cisco Clifton had a fillin' station
About a mile and a half from town
Most cars passed unless they were out of gas
So Cisco was always around
Regular gas was all that it sold
Except tobacco matches and oil
Other than that he fixed lots of flats
Keepin' Cisco rough hands soiled
He'd wipe the gas and check the air
In a hundred times a day
He patiently gave directions
On how to get to the state highway
Usually he'd give 'em water
Or a tyre or two some air
And once a big black Cadillac
Spent seven dollars there
He'd give anybody anything they'd ask
And lend anything he had
His tools are tyres bumper jacks or wire
To the good ones or the bad
In wintertime there was a depot stove
And a table for a checker game
And every mornin' at sunup
The same checker players came
So Cisco Clifton's fillin' station
Was always in the red
Personal loans were personally gone
But never a word was said
One mornin' at eight, them checker players
Heard a big bulldozer roar like a freight
And Cisco said I hope my kids stay fed
When they build that Interstate
He'd managed to pay for property
Where his little fillin' station sat
And friends still came for checker game
So Cisco settled for that
He wouldn't say so but Cisco knew
That the Interstate was too much to fight
But to keep his will and to pay his bills
He did odd jobs at night
He still opened up at sunrise
And the checker game went on
The cars flew past on highest gas
And the neighbors had sold out and gone
If a car ever did go by he was lost
And if they stopped they were treated the same
So at Cisco Clifton's fillin' station
There's a howdy and a checker game”
We found our way in and were welcomed promptly upon arrival. No surprise, hard for a grip of motorcycles to sneak up on a town with no traffic, no thoroughfare and population: one. We soon knew everyone in town. Short black hair, cut off tee shirt, tan skin, white cat eye sunglasses and a Smith & Wesson .45 caliber pistol on her hip, the lovely proprietor is Cisco, UT, Eileen Muza welcomed us to our new town and home for the next 24 hours. Despite the description, Eileen is a beautiful woman and a more than welcoming host. Play games and you run the risk of meeting her side-arm, but this Ghost Town was so friendly we thought perhaps they should rename it Casper.
We pulled in to the common grounds where our “shack” was located and unloaded the bikes. It wasn’t much, but it was everything. Fire pit for warmth and ambiance, stumps and logs for seating, a beautiful wooden walking path to the first literally outdoor outhouse we’ve ever out/housed in all set on dirt that makes you feel like it’s still an early 1900’s settlement. We put our belongings inside the Pace Brother shack with a fitting “City Center Motor Hotel” sign right by the door and took a seat outside.
The sun began to set, the aesthetic appeal of Cisco’s revamped shacks and deteriorating buildings was only increasing, and our experience of the run down ghost town was just beginning. It was time for some fun.
If you’ve never done it, a moto-trip with friends and strangers to questionable places, let us be the first to suggest it. In fact; we insist. There’s a bit of magic that happens when you combine good friends, like-minds, motorcycles, campfires and an open schedule to do as you please. It’s far too seldom experienced.
What happened for the remainder of the night and the following day we simply can’t do justice to with words. What we can say is that the fire was still burning at 6AM when the sun greeted us good morning. We can tell you that we did NOT leave the dirt where it sat when we arrived. We can tell you that we gained a friend and we fell in love; not with the town itself, but the saccharine experience it provided. Cisco offered a feeling, a vibe, a palpable difference from an ordinary road stop. The history it sat upon, the new love breathed into an abandoned town, the memories made and the “not just yet” moments we had as we set out on the rest of our journey. We dug Cisco, and we can’t explain exactly why with a keyboard of recollected thoughts and shots from a camera.
(Above photo provided by Airbnb listing.)
Luckily, and with great excitement we get to announce that we don’t have to explain here. We’re going back. More friends, more fun, more marshmallows. Email us at Hello@GoFastDontDie.com for the details if you’re interested in joining. Another day, another adventure, another sweet set of moments lived because of our love for motorcycles, the places they take us and the people they bring us to. Thank you Cisco, see you soon.
Where the heck is Cisco, Utah? We gave it a google for ya. ------>
What bike is that in the bottom two photos?!