Daily Wisdom

July 03, 2009

Wyoming Roundup - Part 2

The saga continues. Remember, you can click all pictures to enlarge...

There are some pleasant parks around Cheyenne, including those where the steam locomotives were on display. We spent some time sitting and reading in the Botanical Gardens at Lion's Park. The weather was simply delightful: low 70s with a light breeze blowing. The only problem is that I was reading Glenn Beck's new book "Common Sense", and naturally I began to get irritated about the direction in which our country is headed. I had to put the book down so I could enjoy my day...

Botanical Gardens - Cheyenne, Wyoming

Lion's Park lake walk - Cheyenne, Wyoming

On Monday, June 29th, we left Cheyenne for Laramie, Wyoming. We decided not to jump right onto I-80, but to take the "scenic route". I'm glad we did, because it was well worth it. We got onto Wyoming Highway 210 near the F.E. Warren Air Force Base and travelled west. We ran into some construction, but were in no hurry.

We also passed a huge wind farm which is still under construction. According to a 2008 article in the Wyoming Tribune Eagle, the original installation included 14 turbines that would provide 100 million kilowatt-hours per year, or enough for 8,500 homes per year. But we must have seen nearly 50 or 60 wind turbines installed and operational. And there seemed to be nearly as many in the early stages of erection. The following photo came from an NPR article and the picture's caption speaks of a windfarm "west of Cheyenne". This may be the one we passed, but we never saw any storm clouds...

Wind Farm west of Cheyenne, Wyoming

But the real scenic views emerged when we entered the foothills of the Laramie Mountains. Unusual outcroppings of rock started appearing out of the prairie grasslands, like the one in the following picture near the office of Curt Gowdy State Park. There are two beautiful blue reservoirs in the park, one of which could be seen from the road. I should have gone back to take a picture, but we decided to press on.

Outcropping near Curt Gowdy State Park, Wyoming

A little further on and we came to Medicine Bow National Forest. The panoramas were terrific...

Medicine Bow National Forest, Wyoming

Finally Highway 210 merges with I-80, and it does so at the point where I-80 is at its highest elevation above sea level. I-80 at this point is actually a part of the old Lincoln Highway, and there is a monument to Lincoln located there...

Lincoln Monument - Wyoming

Lincoln Monument closeup - Wyoming

View from Lincoln Monument - Wyoming

The approach into Laramie was spectacular. Laramie sits in a wide flat valley between the Snowy Mountains to the west and the Laramie Mountains to the east. Picture yourself driving down the mountain with Laramie in the foreground, snow-capped mountains in the background, and the lush greenery of the valley surrounding Laramie as far the eye can see. Wyoming really is "big sky country". Unfortunately I couldn't stop to take a picture because the interstate was busy and the shoulders were pretty narrow.

In Laramie, we visited the Wyoming Territorial Prison, a historic site which has been renovated to appear as it did in 1872. Butch Cassidy was one of the prison's more famous inmates...

Wyoming Territorial Prison - Laramie, Wyoming

Prisoner Transport - Laramie, Wyoming

Photo of Butch Cassidy - Laramie, Wyoming

Butch Cassidy (seated right) & Sundance Kid (seated left)

As we drove around Laramie, we found a newer neighborhood up on a hilltop with a nice view...

Hilltop view - Laramie, Wyoming

We had lunch in the historic district at a place called the Altitude Chophouse and Brewery. I tried the "7200 Foot Stout", an extra dark, rich and creamy brew with notes of coffee and chocolate. It was a bit too sweet to have another, so I finished with an American Wheat beer which, in the tradition of the German Hefeweizen, was unfiltered. Mrs Hawkeye went for the Summer Ale, with a rich amber color and something of a fruity note.

After scouting out Laramie, we decided to scratch it from our list of potential retirement locations. It didn't seem to have as much to offer as Cheyenne. The buildings in the historic district were rather plain without much character. Although there were some nice areas with tree-lined streets and well-kept yards, the houses seemed remarkably tiny to us. There were larger homes in one of the newer outlying hilltop developments, but it seemed a bit odd and out of place. As you can imagine, we were left a bit disappointed.

On Tuesday, June 30th, we decided not to head directly back to Denver as originally planned. Instead, we took a detour to the city of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park. To get there, we took the 25 mile winding road through the Big Thompson Canyon. I didn't stop for a picture, so I got the following photo off the internet. But pictures just can't do justice to this canyon. It is very narrow and the walls are nearly vertical on each side for what seems like hundreds of feet.

Big Thompson Canyon - Colorado

In Estes Park, we visited the Stanley Hotel where they filmed "The Shining" with Jack Nicholson. My daughter was there last year and got a complete tour of the place. They say it really is haunted...

The Stanley Hotel - Estes Park, Colorado

View from The Stanley - Estes Park, Colorado

Of course, Rocky Mountain National Park has some spectacular scenery. I stitched together two pics to make up the panoramic scene. I think it's worth enlarging. Too bad I had to spoil the view by getting into the last picture...

Rocky Mountain National Park - Colorado

Stitched Panorama - Rocky Mt. National Park

We flew home from Denver the next day.


At 7/04/2009 11:16 AM , Blogger Beerme said...

Wow! Great pics and you seem to have had a wonderful time. Let's see, beer, trains, travel, architecture, photos and prisons...it almost seems as if this vacation had something for every Scrappler!

Does Wyoming tax other state's retirement income? That would be one of my considerations...

At 7/04/2009 12:13 PM , Blogger Ms RightWing's Ink said...

Thanks for the wonderful nostalgic trip back west. You sure filled your days with wonder and excitement.

I have traveled that same area numerous times but never had a chance to see everything you did. I agree, Laramie is nice, but I couldn't live there. Cheyenne is much nicer.

Oft' times we would just pick up the map and see a highway in Wyoming and head out, not knowing what or who we would see. Gosh, I just loved those days.

Thanks for the wonderful photos.

At 7/04/2009 1:33 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Of course you knew I was thinking about you every time I sampled a new beer. I tried to document the beer's characteristics as best I could, but I'm sure you could have written paragraphs compared to my sentence or two.

But I didn't even think about the prison connection until you mentioned it. Too funny!

(:D) Best regards...

P.S.-- Wyoming has no income tax whatsoever. They have state and local sales taxes combined at 6% -- which is still lower than NJ's 7%. And the property taxes are lower than NJ too. Of course that's not saying much since NJ has the highest property taxes in the nation! (:X)

At 7/04/2009 1:37 PM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Ms RW,
Glad to oblige. This vacation was much needed and appreciated. Except for Mrs Hawkeye's "white-knuckle" experiences in the Rockies, it was very relaxing. She hates winding roads and cliffs in combo.

(:D) Best regards...

P.S.-- Hope all is well. God Bless you dear lady.

At 7/07/2009 3:50 AM , Blogger camojack said...

Late to the party...but I was away myself.

At 7/07/2009 7:44 AM , Blogger Hawkeye® said...

Hope you had a good time... I did.

(:D) Best regards...

At 7/08/2009 3:28 AM , Blogger camojack said...

I had a veritable blast, thanks.


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