So it turns out that the last time I headed up to Wyoming, I totally missed just about everything there is to do in Wyoming, for which my mother chastised me upon my return. Today I rectified this grievous error by returning to Wyoming to do a proper job of visiting it.
Good thing I left, too, since the power went out in my end of town just before I left, so there wasn't anything to do at home anyway :PYep, some nut decided the right thing to do was trike a 50cc motorscooter. Welcome to Colorado!
My first stop was the Wyoming State Museum, in Cheyenne. Dedicated to state history, it's marked as one of the don't-miss stops on any trip to Wyoming, and it sure didn't disappoint!
In the lobby the museum had an art exhibit they were holding as part of a fundraiser. Normally I don't like art exhibits, but they actually had some nice pieces there!I call this one, "Full Meta Quiltery" Nice use of shading The handle of this shovel is actually covered in tiny beads. Impressive craftsmanship! I guess he was immortalized just after Jaws took a bite out of him? Fires four shots at once. Nifty! A "pocket rifle". Who thought this was a good idea? There was a silly children's contest to find a particular object in the museum. I found it! In the state that epitomized much of the Wild West, this is exactly what you'd expect to see. Here you go, as much history of the outhouse as you ever wanted!
The museum was pretty interesting! Lots of neat exhibits to see.
With my tour of the museum completed, I moved on to my next stop: Big Boy #4004
Big Boy #4004 is one of the few survivors from the series of the largest locomotives ever built. The pictures don't really do it justice - it's absolutely massive, in all senses.That's $4 million today. Interesting to see the imprecision from 1940s hand construction in contrast to today's ultra-precise robot-powerd construction quality Also, there was this statue. Somebody has a low view of how easy it is to train dogs :) The train was beside a park, which was rather scenic So this is what most of Cheyenne looks like. Wyoming has so little population (59,466 people) that even the state capitol has that "small, quaint town" feel.
OK, done with Cheyenne! Onward to Laramie. I took Happy Jack Road between the two towns, as it's very scenic, and lets me stop at a nice state park along the way.I love the wide open spaces here sooo much... I saw plenty of windmills on my trip, and each time, I thought they added to the scenery. They're beautiful additions to the landscape. Not me! Probably?
Welcome to Curt Gowdy State Park!
Objective: Climb those rocks!These are all quite large boulders, most easily as large as me
It took plenty of effort and time, but I did eventually climb my way to the top. Huzzah! It was a ton of fun, and the reward was as absolutely breathtaking outlook.
Also, new lesson learned: from now on, keep my hiking boots in the truck so I don't have to do this in loafers.
I was just about the highest thing for many, many miles in any directionYep, I climbed just a little ways up from that road.
Sitting atop the hill was absolutely serene, beautiful, and breathtaking. I was so happy simply taking it in.The park had a little amphitheater area that looked like it had been burned out somehow. Not sure why, but despite the fire, it still looked quite stable.
Whew! So that was an awful lot of fun!
Moving on, I next went to Happy Jack Hill, a place I used to sled as a little boy. No idea if I came to the right one of their several hills, but good enough :POh, lucky me! :D Happy Jack is home to several indigenous forms of rock, and I suspect this is one of them.
I left Happy Jack and came across this giant sculpture at a rest area. Interesting... I think?
Onward, to the historic Wyoming Territorial Prison, in Laramie. This is where all the bad guys in Wyoming were brought during the Wild West period, including famous robber Butch Cassidy, of salad dressing bottle fame.
There was a classic car show going on out front, which was neat to see.Here we are, inside the prison courtyard\
Interestingly, the prison went through a period where it was used as a warehouse and processing area for a meat packing company. Consequently, everything you see inside is actually reconstruction, built by either reacquiring or replicating period pieces.We sure have come a long ways from 19th-century prison dental work! This is where the guards watched over the prisoners. Paranoid much? Aren't you glad you don't need to keep a box of coal in your kitchen? Prisoners were typically put to work making brooms to sell to the general public. This is where they did it. The prison area's walls, as seen from the outside.\ In celebration of an annual summer festival, several faux storefronts were open with crafts and games. Here, people (usually children, but you know me...) were invited to practice shooting cups with rubber band rifles. I didn't do too terribly :)
During my whole tour of the prison, I had my girlfriend Lacey up on a vidchat on my tablet, so she could take the tour with me. I love modern technology.
OK, that's all there was for the prison! The last stop in my jam-packed day is Vedauwoo (VEE-da-voo) recreation area. It features... another rock formation to climb! I wouldn't have worked quite so hard climbing the one at Curt Gowdy State Park if I'd remembered I had to climb another today. How tiring!
Vedauwoo appears substantially more popular than Curt Gowdy; there's a very packed camping area, and lots of families willing about. I realize I didn't see all of Curt Gowdy, but what I did see included almost nobody else, save folks preparing for the wedding that ostensibly wasn't mine.It's neat to see large pieces of quartz naturally growing out here Another unusual type of rock. Pretty with all the lichen on it.
I eventually reached (almost) the top (the last part was too tricky and risky for me and my loafers), and was rewarded with another gorgeous Wyoming landscape.
And with that it's time to head home. A good day!Yep, 20 years later, that cutout of a buffalo I passed so often as a child is still standing on that hill. Crummy windshield, beautiful sunset.