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.