Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cheyenne, Wyoming

September 13, 2012:

On September 11th we moved to the WYO Campground 15 miles outside of Cheyenne, Wyoming.  It is on the service road next to interstate 80 with the tractor trailers whizzing past, somewhat different from our last remote campground.  

Cheyenne is the Wyoming state capital and has an interesting small downtown, lots of western museums and a beautifully restored Santa Fee railroad train depot / museum and Cheyenne frontier days in July is the largest rodeo event in the country.  Cheyenne has painted cowboy boots in various locations around town, they were painted and auctioned off to help fund the railroad depot restoration.  I have a weakness for the western look, always have and late in the day, I went into a store, saw these boots, put them on and bought them, shocking Twinkles a bit.  I wore them the next day and now I know why cowboys have a special kind of walk, it's the boots.  All I need now is the hat and I have the whole outfit, I'll fit right in, just don't ask me to ride ! 

Cheyenne in it's heyday (the steam train era) was a huge railroad complex with the largest main shop on the Santa Fee railroad system.  The shop sort of died along with the steam locomotives and most of the shop it seems was torn down.  It still is a huge vibrant rail yard however with huge freight trains constantly moving through.  They have a really well done railroad museum in the Depot and upstairs a very amazing and accurate model railroad layout of the Union Central and Northern Railroad.  This layout was done by a (fanatic), Harry S. Brunk, who constructed it in a period of 30 years in a his trailer that he towed around.  That's a serious RV'er !  The detail and artistry was amazing, another motivating story !  

We also did something we normally don't do, we took the guided trolley tour of the city.  As a result, we learned some things that we wouldn't have learned on our own, so it was very good, but it was a little too much "God bless Wyoming, home of the free and the brave" for my liking.  After the tour , we did our own walking tour of the downtown and visited the impressive State Capital building.  

I think it's funny when people in the west, talk about the old pioneer days, because nothing is really old, it all started in the mid 1800's, only a few generations ago.  What is truly amazing is how much of the landscape has been altered in such a short period of time. Only 200 years ago this was pristine wilderness, now it is hard to find a place untouched and in many cases mutilated by man.  I don't mean to pick on the west, as the east, north and south is just as bad, if not worse.  I need to watch the Ken Burns film again; The National Parks, America's Best Idea,  so true! 

Next stop is Colorado Springs, Colorado where we plan to stay for a week. 

Cowboy boot in front of Train Depot

Union Pacific rail map inlaid into Train Depot floor

Lariat Motel sign

Cowboy boot in front of Train Depot

Wrangler western wears store front

Cheyenne Train Depot

Model train layout in Depot museum

Lincoln Theater in Cheyenne

Cheyenne building front detail

Stained glass skylight in State Capital

Wyoming State Capital

View looking down stairways in State Capital

View of the State Capital rotunda

Statue of Cheyenne Chief Washakif at Capital

Statue of Rodeo bull rider at Cheyenne Frontier days museum

Old steam train photos in museum

1 comment:

  1. Mark and I were in Loveland, CO for a nephew's wedding in 2004 (pre-Finn) and a group of us went up to Cheyenne as a day-trip. We also toured the capital building and have similar pictures of the magnificant architectural aspects inside. As we were leaving, the governor came out to meet us and we had a nice chat! He said he tries to do that when he sees visitors in the building. Then of course, we had to go see the "Big Boy Steam Engine" that was nearby. It is supposed to be the largest steam engine in the world. Sure makes you feel inconsequential standing next to it - well, thinner at least!