Wyoming 2016:
Day 7 - Cheyenne, WY


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Wyoming 2016: [Day 1 - Moline, IL] [Day 2 - Mitchell, SD] [Day 3 - Keystone, SD] [Day 4 - Gillette, WY] [Day 5 - Casper, WY] [Day 6 - Laramie, WY] [Day 7 - Cheyenne, WY] [Day 8 - Lincoln, NE] [Day 9 - Pella, IA]

Thursday, November 24, 2016: It had snowed the night before and snow was still moving toward Cheyenne, so we took the opportunity to relax a bit.
We had breakfast at the hotel, opting for the waffle-batter-of-the-day, pumpkin spice, in honor of it being Thanksgiving.
We watched part of the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade and laughed when one of the balloons turned out to be the Sinclair dinosaur. We didn't get the camera out in time so all we got for proof were these dinosaur balloon wranglers.
We did get a shot of the Mount Rushmore float, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the National Park System. Yeah, we were totally there four days ago.
Mileage: 1961; departure time: 10:25 AM.
Laramie is infamous for a 1998 murder. We didn't drive to the site, but that land in the background is the area where it occurred.
We encountered a snowplow on our way but the roads were already in excellent shape after the snow.
We stopped at a rest area to get a better look at this huge Abraham Lincoln statue.
Abe's got some pretty scenery to contemplate.
Next, we stopped at Vedauwoo, an area of rocky outcroppings just perfect for climbing.
It was cold, but we got out at several spots to take pictures and admire the rocks.
The sky was really clearing up by this time.
We got a couple more scenic shots ...
... before continuing to Cheyenne.
We stopped at Tree Rock. This tree has been growing out of a crevice in this rock since before the Union Pacific Railroad built its original main line fifty feet south of this rock in 1868.
Read all about it.
We started seeing billboards for Little America Hotel, which was where we would be eating Thanksgiving dinner.
We passed this Sinclair right next to ...
... the Little America Hotel.
The restaurant was busy but we were seated immediately at a table for two along the wall.
We had numerous dining options, but the Thanksgiving buffet was clearly the best option for us.
Here's Debbie's first plate. Note the gorgeous rainbow Jello. The prime rib slice was so large that there wasn't room for turkey too, so she had to share some of Tom's when he went back for round two.
Here's Tom's first plate. There are so many foods here that Debbie would never cook for Tom, including beans, stuffing, and whatever that bean concoction is up top.
Dinner was delicious, but oh, the desserts! The bread pudding was exquisite, but so were the caramel cake, citrus cake, pecan pie, strawberry shortcake, etc.
By 1:00, we were back on the road to visit Cheyenne. It has a throw-back feel, with lots of vintage signs and businesses.
In the heart of downtown, we headed to the ...
... Wyoming Depot Plaza.
It's across the street from the Wrangler, famous for ranchwear since 1943. Unfortunately, the store was closed for Thanksgiving so we weren't able to stock up on ranchwear.
But that didn't mean that we couldn't admire ranchwear. Cheyenne has numerous cowboy boot statues around town, and we were out to photograph them.
This one is called "Don't Feed the Animals." These boots are eight feet tall and even with an outstretched arm, we couldn't reach the top of them.
Here is "Downtown Cheyenne."
Here is the Wyoming Transportation Museum, also referred to as the Cheyenne Depot Museum.
Look at the larger version of this sculpture, "Iron Horse," to really appreciate how cool it is. It was sculpted completely out of metal objects.
This boot is titled, "Governors of Wyoming," and features signatures and dates of every Wyoming governor.
Here is "Milestones: Chamber 100th Anniversary."
This sculpture is titled, "A New Beginning." It was gifted to the citizens of Cheyenne in recognition of the role of women in settling the West, and of Wyoming being the first state to grant women the right to vote. Go Wyoming!
We drove a bit to find more boots, but we didn't track down all of them. Here is "8 Second Steps to the Big Time."
The state capitol is under renovation, but its shiny dome is still visible above the construction.
This boot, located in front of the Wyoming State Museum, is appropriately named, "Licensed to Boot."
"Outlaws of Wyoming" is located in Holliday Park.
Next, we visited Wyoming's box car from the Merci Train. This is one of 49 box cars given by French citizens to each state in the US as thanks for assistance rebuilding their country after World War II. Read all about it. It appeared to be undergoing a fresh painting, since none of the traditional markings were on the outside of the box car.
Ahhh, there they are. We found two neatly stacked piles of wooden pieces that ordinarily adorn the sides of the car.
Here are the wooden sashes as well.
Our original plans called for staying in Cheyenne overnight, but since it was such a beautiful day, we decided to drive to Ogallala, Nebraska, and visit Chimney Rock along the way, so we bid farewell to Cheyenne. Note that unusual white "K" Line containers on the train in this photo.
We passed this unusual teepee-shaped home along the way in Pine Bluffs.
As we approached the Nebraska border, ...
... we made one last stop at a Wyoming rest area. We found that this one was identical to the one at Independence Rock a few days earlier, right down to the passive solar rest area features of a ceiling that opens and thick walls with exposed aggregate. Very cool.
Did you know that Nebraska was the home of Arbor Day? We didn't. Now you know too.
Our route to Chimney Rock was about an hour out of our way, but it took us through lovely scenery in the hills, ...
... and on the plains.
Finally, Chimney Rock was visible in the distance.
We got closer.
Roadside markers told the story of the importance of Chimney Rock to the Oregon Trail. For the emigrants, this marked the end of plains travel and the beginning of the mountain portion of their journey.
Almost there.
And here we are.
We arrive around 3:45 PM. Since it was Thanksgiving, the visitor center was closed, so we just looked at it.
The formation rises approximately 300 feet above its surroundings, depending on which source you believe. It's really quite impressive.
We continued to head west. We approached these train tracks just as the rear engines were passing, so we weren't slowed down at all.
Dinosaur!
The sun was close to setting at 4:15 PM.
Score! Not only is Denny's a restaurant that is open on Thanksgiving, it was attached to the Quality Inn where we were staying!
This was the only place we stayed on the trip with outside-facing doors, but it was surprisingly nice for being a motel.
We headed next door to Denny's and of course we ordered their Thanksgiving dinner. We were too busy eating it to remember to take a photo, so please enjoy this stock photo we found online. Our dinner looked just like this except that it also came with toasted dinner rolls and the turkey breast was cut in smaller pieces. It was really quite delicious. Well done, Denny's.
Back in the room, Tom finally got to watch the copy of "Spectre" that we had brought along. We also treated ourselves to the bottle of Pete's Pumpkin Patch Soda that we had brought along for this very occasion.

Day 8 >


Wyoming 2016: [Day 1 - Moline, IL] [Day 2 - Mitchell, SD] [Day 3 - Keystone, SD] [Day 4 - Gillette, WY] [Day 5 - Casper, WY] [Day 6 - Laramie, WY] [Day 7 - Cheyenne, WY] [Day 8 - Lincoln, NE] [Day 9 - Pella, IA]

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