Wyoming

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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.

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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.

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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:

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

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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.

 

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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.