The question for the day is “Why is it that the person with the loudest engine in the park has to start it up and run it at a fast idle at 6:00 AM for an hour?” In other words we were up fairly early this morning. Looking out the window we thought that we were transported back home. It was cloudy and the temperature was around 46 degrees. After a month and a half of 80 and 90 degree weather all we can say is Burrrrr. Once we thawed out we loaded up the truck and skedaddled down the road to Laramie. Why Laramie? Why not? On the way there we picked up a couple of geocaches and came to a little town called Buford. This town is so small it boasts of a population of 1. A population of 1 is stretching it a bit. Everything in the little town was closed and boarded up. There went the neighborhood.
A little further down the road we came to a rest area that advertised a point of interest – a tree. I guess a tree is interesting when there aren’t any other trees for miles around. In the tree’s defense it was growing out of the middle of a rock. It was such a novelty, a nearby sign said, that the builders of the railroad diverted the tracks to bypass the tree. It also said that the trains stopped here while the locomotive firemen “gave the tree a drink” from their water buckets.
Not too far from the highway we spotted an odd shaped mound in the middle of the prairie. It turned out to be a 60 foot tall pyramid shaped limestone monument that watches over the lonely remains of the one-time rail town of Sherman. The monument was built in 1881 to honor the Ames brothers, Oliver and Oaks, who were influential leaders in the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific Railroad built the monument at a cost of $65,000 despite a scandal about the brothers and mismanagement of railroad money. Hmmm??
At another rest area on Interstate 80, dubbed the Lincoln Highway, is a 13 ½ foot tall 4,500 pound bronze bust of Abe Lincoln sitting on a 35 foot tall stone base. The bust was cast in 30 pieces and bolted together much like the Statue of Liberty. This is the only monument to Abe Lincoln along the Lincoln Highway and is the largest bronze head in the US.
Once we got to Laramie we took a self guided tour of the old Wyoming Territorial Prison. The prison was built in 1872 and for 30 years it held violent and desperate outlaws (including the notorious “Butch Cassidy”) during the dramatic time of Wyoming’s territorial days. Butch Cassidy’s first arrest came at the age of 17. At 22 he robbed a bank to the tune of $10,500 in Telluride, Colorado – a town we visited several weeks ago. He was in this prison for stealing horses and a story says he was pardoned by the governor after promising never to rob banks or steal horses in Wyoming again. Unfortunately there were still stagecoaches, trains and banks all over the west to rob. Wayne found it interesting to visit here as a visitor instead of as a resident this time. They even let him out without a letter from the Governor. Brooms are still being made there today to be sold at the gift shop.
Between Cheyenne and Laramie is the Medicine Bow National Forest. Seeing this make you wonder what the definition of a “Forest” is. If you did not know better and used Medicine Bow as a model, a “Forest” is a place that has roughly 45 trees between 6 and 7 feet tall with trunks roughly 6 inches in diameter. We decided there must have been a budget cut when they made the signs for the forest and they had to leave out a word to cut costs. The real name should have been “Medicine Bow National Scrub Forest”.
Just after we finished dinner we heard raindrops on the motorhome roof – a torrential downpour of about 20 drops. Those fighting the fires and whose homes are threatened around here could certainly use a real torrential downpour for about 5 or 6 hours.
We have one more day in Cheyenne and plan to do some more exploring around the area. Hopefully none of the noisy engine rigs near us will decide to leave early tomorrow.