Friday, June 12, 2015

Chapter 9 - Ogallala to Cheyenne, Wyoming

Thursday, June 11th:
We could not help ourselves.  We were up at 5 AM after a great sleeping night.  It rained hard last night and while the sound of the rain on our aluminum roof woke us up initially, its hypnotic affects quickly put us back into a deep sleep.  Anyway, it was light out by 5 AM so it seemed natural to get up and have breakfast. The rain was over and the sun looked like it might even peek out from behind the clouds.  We left the RV park by 7:30 AM, on the road once more this time headed to Cheyenne, Wyoming only 170 miles to the west.

You may be getting tired of my reporting on the changing scenery but once again one of the most wonderful things about driving across our country are these dramatic changes in the scenery. We have left behind the green fields of corn and the land now is mostly covered with just prairie grass interrupted occasionally by a farmhouse with its barns and silos, and here and there, by small herds of cattle. It seemed to us that every cow must require at least 100 acres of grass or more since there is so much empty land and so few cows. As we continued west the grass appears dried out despite the fact that rain has been abundant and well above average for this time of year. We realized as we arrived in Cheyenne and have had a chance to slow down that the leaves on the trees are just starting to come out. It is still early spring here in Southeastern Wyoming. The higher altitude and the cooler weather has much delayed the growth of the grass and the leaves on the few trees in this area. We also realized that many of the fields have been tilled but nothing yet has been planted.  As I write this blog it is 4 o'clock in the afternoon and the temperature outside is only 56 degrees.  It is expected to go down into the low 50s tonight.  No wonder the trees and plants are so far behind what we are used to in the east and at the lower altitudes.  The photo above shows our car and trailer parked at a rest area about 100 miles east of Cheyenne.  Interstate 80 was mostly straight as an arrow and not at all crowded. The 18-wheelers outnumbered the cars by two to one.

Our RV park was not initially our first choice but as it turned it was probably a better place to stay than the more well know KOA that we had originally chosen in Cheyenne. Our campground was not only closer to the city, but many of the sites enjoyed shade from trees. Plus as we later learned, they had within the A.B. Camping RV Park, a small BBQ restaurant that served an excellent pulled pork meal that I thoroughly enjoyed for dinner. The beef and the pork was actually cooked in a big outdoor wood burning stove located only a few steps from our travel trailer site. Unfortunately, the cool weather and the off and on again rain that continued through most of the afternoon dampened our enthusiasm to be tourists, although we did eventually take a drive into the city.  Our drive however, proved to be invaluable for it convinced us that Cheyenne was by far the most interesting city that we had so far visited to date. We returned to our campground excited that tomorrow with its projected better weather, would be a fun and educational experience exploring the City of Cheyenne.

Friday, June 12th:
Like the smaller City of Ogallala, Cheyenne's owes its beginnings to only one thing, the Union Pacific Railway.  Unlike Ogallala however, Cheyenne has gone a long way to preserve its heritage though its numerous museums, art galleries, theaters, and parks. In 1867, a tent city was established on the site of the present day city, that housed the workers on the construction of the first transcontinental railway. The railroad and the cattle drives that subsequently followed created a city that today is the State Capital of Wyoming and has a population of 46,000 people.  The photograph above hangs in the Cheyenne Depot Museum and it was taken around 100 years ago. The area today looks pretty much the same as it did in this photograph. Most of the many railroad tracks are still in place and trains still pass through the city during much of the day and night.

The building in the photo which was at the time the train depot is now a museum that displays the history of the railroad as it pertains to Cheyenne. We spent over an hour in the museum (and the gift shop) and it was worth the visit.  Fortunately Cabo was allowed into the building at no extra charge although as you can see in the photograph he showed very little interest in the history of the railroads.      


Another interesting museum that we visited was located in a large city park just north of the downtown area that they called Frontier Park.  The museum was named Cheyenne Frontier Days Old West Museum and it focused more on the earlier settlers and the cowboys than on the railroad. The photograph of Kathy and Cabo under the cowboy riding a bucking bronco was taken just outside the museum.  Behind the statue to the right in the photograph sits the stadium that holds annually according to Cheyenne, the World's Largest Outdoor Rodeo. The rodeo begins on July 17th this year and Kathy and I joked that had we arrived in Cheyenne on this date, it is doubtful we would have found an RV park that had any available spaces.

Cheyenne is filled with many other attractive and historic buildings including Wyoming's State Capital Building that is shown in the photo to the left. The photo also shows Kathy on the lower right stealing pine cones from one of Wyoming's evergreen trees. Just kidding, but the tree was covered with cones. After around four hours of touring this very interesting city, we returned to our campsite so that could get a few things done like planning our trip tomorrow, writing our blog, cleaning some of the bugs off our trailer and car (a never ending task), and in Kathy's case, doing our laundry.

After completely our visit to Cheyenne and its many tourist attractions and then doing the laundry, Kathy and Cabo decided to take a short rest on our bed. They are surrounded by pillows and pillow cases that Kathy has been collecting as we travel across our country. Tomorrow we are changing course and we are heading north up Interstate 25 for Casper, Wyoming where we will be spending only one night before heading out to DuBois, Wyoming on the way to the Grand Tetons in northwestern Wyoming.  The City of Casper, Wyoming's second largest city, is on the North Platte River so once again we will be briefly following the Oregon Trail.



No comments:

Post a Comment