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.
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.