I’ve been singing the old Willie Nelson song, “On the Road Again.” As happy as we were to be with our grandchildren and their parents, we are about as happy to be on another journey. This one will be a month in duration, with our last destination to be Duluth, Minnesota before turning back in a southwestern direction. I’m going to try (the operative word here being “try”) to post our travels a little more timely. Of course, I’m also at the mercy of the foibles of the internet wherever we go.
For being a capitol city, Cheyenne’s population is only roughly around 63,000 souls. It has the feel of a small town, and getting around was relaxed and easy. Either that, or we have been in Denver too long. It was great to not fight the traffic everywhere.
I took this picture from the rail depot in Cheyenne at high noon on a Friday, looking down to the Capitol building. In the picture it looks closer than what it is; the distance is about a half mile.
There was a time long ago when I thought it would be fun to visit all of the capitols in the US. I’ve since lost that ambition, but I have been inside many. As capitol buildings go, Cheyenne’s architecture wasn’t overly ornate and there wasn’t a large amount of art pieces. Wyoming has the lowest population of any state in the Union, so I suppose that follows. Their legislature only meets 40 days in one year, and 20 in the next.
A docent who was eager to talk to us was proud of a renovation that was done not too long ago. It was the first one since the building was completed back in 1888. They don’t rush into things in Wyoming. There were 4 niches built into the walls for a statues, and these were finally added in 2019. Together, the 4 statues are “The Four Sisters” and they are Truth, Justice, Courage, Hope. Courage is pictured below. I guess it does take a lot of courage to hold a snake.
When we first crossed over into Wyoming, we stopped off at the Welcome Center off I-25. It was probably the nicest Welcome Center I’ve ever seen, with a beautiful building that reached up and over the prairie, and a museum. This mastodon skeleton greeted us as we entered.
Wyoming has a lot of prehistoric fossils, and there are dig sites all over the state. After we were finished with the capitol building, we ambled over to the Wyoming State Museum. The first part of the museum was an exhibition on the excavations of the fossils. Since I had taken a picture of the mastodon bones earlier, I had to take another one in this museum. This one was a Camptosaurus, which lived 150 million years ago. It was 23 feet long and was a plant-eater.
Another exhibit that caught my eye was native embroidery and beading. I like to do embroidery work, so I could appreciate all the detail on this Lakota vest.
Painted boots are quite the thing in Cheyenne, and we saw many of them around town.
The train depot had a museum that was interesting, but the thing that got my attention was a huge model train set on the second floor, one man’s 35-year labor of love. He constructed all the buildings and hand-painted the backdrops. This picture just shows one small part of it. The train was running through the whole thing.
We walked quite a bit through F.E. Warren Air Force Base, which feels more like a living museum than a base. Officers still live in the historic original red brick houses, and any new construction has to also be done in red brick, in the same architectural style. There was a cemetery on base, which was a little unusual, but many graves went back to the air base’s early days. In 1867 the base was constructed as Fort Russell, an Army outpost on the Great Plains. There were a lot of pronghorn antelope lounging about, mostly on the green grass of the officer quarters. I guess that is a lot more cushy than the brown tall grass of the prairie!
Next time – moving on up to Guernsey