Wyoming

All posts tagged Wyoming

I’m surviving (?) Dronepocalyse 2020.

Published January 11, 2020 by ia84

If you don’t live smack dab in the middle of the United States, you may or may not be aware of our current mystery drone situation. It started shortly before Christmas in Colorado, and has progressively worked it’s way into Nebraska, Kansas, and Wyoming (they’re probably in other states too, but these are the three I currently know of). Every night people are reporting seeing very large drones, usually in groups (the drones, not the people), zipping through the skies, hovering over towns and farms. Honestly, the whole thing sounds like the paranoid ravings of someone who is on a really bad drug trip.

Up until this week, I’d shrugged off the reports, because as previously stated, it sounds crazy. At the beginning of the week, a friend of mine, who lives in the middle of the state, posted video to Facebook of a drone over her home. And since I know she’s not high, I realized there might be some credibility to the massive pile of drone sighting reports. Tuesday, another friend added me to a group on Facebook dedicated to sharing eyewitness accounts, theories, and humor. I would say 92% of the group is made up of genuinely curious, amused people. The remaining 8% are seriously paranoid and get mad when jokes are made because the situation is clearly not being approached with enough seriousness. By this point, I’m in two of these drone groups, and both have turned into a serious dumpster fire of insanity. I’m only staying because I’m equal parts amused and terrified by people’s response to the mystery.

The drones made it to Omaha on Wednesday. I got home from work, right at 2200 (10 pm) and as I was getting out of my car, I noticed lights in the sky rapidly headed my direction. I ran to the backyard to get a better view. Soon enough, something flying too low to be a plane and too quiet to be a helicopter passed by, almost immediately followed by another.

I couldn’t make out anything more than the lights on the bottom. Was way too dark to make out the size, but based on placement of lights, was definitely larger than a drone you’d buy off the shelf.

There was something a bit eerie about the whole thing. I’m used to planes flying overhead, and at least once a year Able-1 (the police helicopter) buzzes over my neighborhood. Those are explained things. I see and/or hear them, and I know what they are. Unlike those things, the drones genuinely are a mystery.

Why do they only fly at night? Why hasn’t anyone come forward and explained their presence? Why so many?

I’ve read a ton of theories at this point that range from plausible to completely ridiculous. Here are a few:

-They’re documenting wildlife migration patterns. I don’t really buy this because I’ve not seen a good explanation for why they’d only be out at night.

-They’re coming to take away all the guns. I don’t even understand how this would work. Maybe they’re scanning for guns? Another one that I’ve not seen a viable explanation for.

-They’re mapping the Ogallala Aquifer. I’m a bit intrigued by this. The drones have been spotted flying grid patterns and they’ve been flying over the aquifer, so I guess that’s possible. (For those who don’t know, the Ogallala Aquifer is a giant body of water under several states here in the middle of the country. Google it, it’s pretty interesting.)

-Tracking the weather patterns. Unless they’re getting sucked up in a tornado, I’m not sure what they’d be tracking that satellite and radar can’t. I’m not completely discounting this one, but I do feel it needs a better explanation.

-It’s the government/military. This, friends, is the most likely.

Personally, I think it’s the military doing training, learning to fly drones at night. So far, it’s the only theory I’ve heard that has a valid reason for them only being out at night.

Whatever the truth, I’ll be surprised if we ever get an actual answer to this mystery. I anticipate that soon the drones will disappear, and it will become a story that turns into an urban legend. It’ll get exaggerated, and in fifty years kids will be telling stories about the alien drone invasion that their grandparents fought off single handed with a fire truck full of Head and Shoulders. No matter what, it’s made for an interesting start to the year.

(And kudos to everyone who gets the Head and Shoulders reference.)

We Went On An Adventure: Part 2~License Plate Butts and Chlorinated Food

Published October 15, 2014 by ia84

I’m relatively certain that no one has ever looked at me and thought, “Man, that is one spontaneous girl.”  There is good reason for this.  I’m really not spontaneous.  I’m kind of an obsessive planner.  I want to know what I’m doing, where I’m doing it, when I’m doing it, and why I’m doing it.  Re-reading that last sentence, it occurs to me that most people probably look at me and think, “Control freak!”  I’d love to deny it, but it’s not on my schedule for today.

Anyway…the point is, the trip the boy and I took over Labor Day weekend, was a true exercise in spontaneity.  A good thing for the both of us.  The decision to be spontaneous is what led to us going to Cheyenne on the way to Denver, instead of just driving straight from Nebraska to Denver.

Leaving Nebraska, Entering Wyoming

When we reached the eastern outskirts of Cheyenne, we decided to see what there was to do in Cheyenne.  Our options were a bit slim, but we were determined.  This is what led us to try to find the Cheyenne Transportation Museum.  We ended up at the Cheyenne Depot Museum (which a Google search I did just now, showed me that they are actually the same museum), and it was pretty interesting.

013

The museum is housed in the old Cheyenne Union Pacific depot (much like the Durham Western Museum here in Omaha is in the old Union Pacific Depot).  It is definitely a work in progress.  Most of it is completed, but there were still some empty cases with signs asking for donations.

Yes, of all the things I could take pictures of, I had to take a picture of the bathroom.

Yes, of all the things I could take pictures of, I had to take a picture of the bathroom.

They’ve done a lovely job, though on the museum, and it was definitely worth a visit.

I personally enjoyed this sign:

It’s kind of hard to read, but it states that you can travel “Through to San Francisco In less than Four Days, avoiding the Dangers of the Sea!”  I’m not sure how they were getting to San Francisco from Omaha before trains, but apparently it was a super weird way that involved ridiculously large bodies of water.

After we left the museum we wandered around the town square, for awhile.  Apparently there had been a beer garden earlier in the day (they were tearing it down when we were there), and there were plenty of barriers up with these signs:

 

Cuz, y’know, the one thing drunk people are really good at doing is reading and obeying signs…

One really cool thing in the square was this sculpture of a horse made up of tools and other metal things.  I especially loved the license plate placement.

017 014

Eventually, a storm rolled in, and we decided to head to Denver.

That’s the sign announcing we were about to enter Colorado.  I wasn’t exactly having a successful photography moment.

Here was our first view of the mountains off in the distance:

019

We had a really beautiful drive as we headed south through northern Colorado, headed for Denver…

020

 

021

022

 

 

023

Once we got to Denver, we met up with my former roommate from my music ed. days (she was kind enough to host us that night).  I hadn’t seen her in about 8 years, and it was really good to get to see her again, and meet her son.

My boy agreed to go to visit the sight of one of my favorite childhood memories that night.  If you’re familiar with Denver, you’ve likely heard of Casa Bonita.  It’s this weird little place in the middle of a strip mall.  It’s been there forever.  I have really fond memories of the place, but the visit reinforced something I’ve been learning.  Some things from childhood are better left as a memory, with the rose-colored glasses of childhood to tint the memory.  To be honest, the place looked tired.  As in, needs fresh paint tired.  The “food”  tasted just as un-food-like and as chlorinated as always.

At least the sopaipillas were still delicious.

Coming Soon-ish: I tried to fall off a mountain, and other great moments in spontaneity.

We Went On An Adventure: Part 1~We Did Actually Leave Nebraska, I Promise

Published September 12, 2014 by ia84

I realized the other day that we’ve been home from our trip for almost two solid weeks, and I’ve yet to write about it.  Because it would be a ridiculously long blog entry to write about the entire weekend, I’ve decided to split it into many small entries.  Also, some of the pictures I’m including are ones I took with my phone, hence the really super-duper poor quality.  The ones I took with my actual camera are just a regular level of bad.

Back at the beginning of August, the boy mentioned to me that since we both had Labor Day weekend off, he thought we should go somewhere.  I was in agreement, because I greatly enjoy getting to travel.  Turned out, the biggest challenge was deciding which direction to head, but finally we agreed on Colorado.

So, when I got off of work on Friday (8/29), we headed west from Omaha.  Around midnight-1 a.m.-ish we rolled into Hastings and once we got to my grandma’s, we crashed for the night.

Saturday, we got up and continued our journey.  Our first stop was in North Platte, at a little tourist trap right off the interstate.

See, I’m not kidding!

If you’ve ever driven down I-80, or are from the North Platte area, the Trading Post is a familiar sight.

When I was growing up, every summer we’d come home to Nebraska for a visit, and getting to visit the fort was one of the highlights of the yearly trip.  Since I am big into nostalgia, and am also determined that the boy is going to be exposed to all the weird, wonderful things I know of, visiting the trading post was a no-brainer.

It’s a bit hard to describe this place to someone who’s never been there.  Basically, it’s a mini-museum with a giant gift shop.  There’s a big miniature display of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show.

It’s a bit hard to tell (thanks to my “wonderful” camera on my phone), but behind that glass are thousands of carved wooden figures that are all depicting the Wild West show.  Plus, it’s all on a motorized system, so every half hour you actually get to see everything move and there’s a bit of narration to explain what you’re seeing.  It’s pretty interesting.

Cowboy hats with attached tiaras are just a sampling of the awesomeness available in the store.

Once we had our fill of the Trading Post, we continued our journey west.  As we were leaving North Platte, the question arose of which direction we should head to get to Denver.  Now, for those who don’t know, there are three main ways to get to Colorado from Nebraska.  There’s dropping south into Kansas and heading west.  However, that’s a pretty boring drive.  The same can be said for option number two.  If you go west on I-80 through Nebraska, and go on I-76 into Colorado, about the only scenery you’ll see is construction.  Not terribly exciting.  We opted for option number 3.  Going west to Cheyenne and dropping south from there.

This really is a beautiful drive.

 

001
002

003

 

These pictures are what happens when I’m not driving, and my camera has battery life.  For those who think that Nebraska is only flat and boring, these pictures serve to prove that thought process wrong.  I took these in the panhandle, as we were nearing the Nebraska/Wyoming border.  (The traffic cones and windshield bug splat prove we really were on a road trip!)

And now, I come to then end of part 1.  Up next…Cheyenne and really craptacular “Mexican” food.