Wyoming state of mind

Why Wyoming? Because it was there.

We spent the first night of our vacation in Cheyenne, the capital of Wyoming, and also visited Laramie, home of the University of Wyoming, before returning to Denver for the rest of our holiday. And we had a couple of people who have visited Wyoming wondering why we did it. The part of Wyoming you want to see is the northwestern part of the state, in Yellowstone National Park, we were told.

But we didn’t have enough time to take any long side trips and the main attraction was to add another name to the list of states we’ve visited. (Our plan was to add two, as the Nebraska state line was easily accessible from I-80 in southeastern Wyoming, but it didn’t work out. There wouldn’t have been much there, but we could have at least said we had been there.)

We didn’t know a great deal about Wyoming, except that it’s the home state of Dick Cheney, former Vice President and current Obama Basher No. 1. (Feel free to make your favorite joke about shooting someone in the face. We did.)

Anyway, we thoroughly enjoyed this part of our trip. I’ve always thought that beauty manifests itself in a lot of different ways and we found the flat, wide open spaces of this part of the state to be quite appealing. Jayne took this picture on the way to Cheyenne and, not to brag, but it reminds me of the Western landscapes of Ansel Adams.

Our long-time association with newspapers also means that we share a mutual fascination with capital cities, where the news really begins in any given state. So we enjoyed our overnight in Cheyenne. Its “Old West” vibe reminded us of a town from our past, a charming little place called Navasota, Texas, near College Station. Jayne worked for the Examiner, the weekly newspaper there, while I was a graduate student at Texas A&M.

Here’s a picture of part of the downtown area.

We found a really fun restaurant called Sanford’s Pub and Grub, for dinner. (I had a hamburger with cream cheese on it — interesting.) The next morning we left for Laramie.

Our visit got off to an inauspicious start as our rental car was rear-ended in downtown Laramie by a gigantic truck (also a rental) driven by a nice young man from Calgary, Alberta, who had just graduated from the University of Wyoming the previous weekend. He was very apologetic and the car ended up being driveable, but we couldn’t close the trunk.

Jayne was amused by the fact that the police officer who handled our fender-bender was named J. Senior, according to his name tag. She was tempted to ask him if J. stood for Junior. LOL.

A final twist to this tale was that the reason we were at this intersection was to go to a restaurant that had been recommended to us by a friend who had eaten there a few years ago. When we finally arrived at that address, we found that the restaurant was out of business.

We found another good place for lunch, which had been recommended to us by the police officer, and then headed for the university campus. We made the obligatory stop at the campus bookstore, located in this building called the Wyoming Union. Built in 1939 largely by student labor — now there’s an idea, college administrators — the building featured a Western-style architecture different from anything we’ve seen back home.

The university is the alma mater of Dick Cheney. (Again, insert your favorite joke about shooting someone in the face here.) And there’s also a “degrees of separation” sports connection with this school for me. Larry Shyatt, who was basketball coach at Clemson for five years and now is an assistant at the University of Florida, was the head coach of the Cowboys during the 1997-98 season.

(By the way, the women’s athletic teams here are called the Cowgirls, a nice touch as far as I’m concerned.)

From Laramie, it was back down I-25 to Denver. Again, some good photo opportunities. I took this one of one of the few “trees” we saw on the return trip.

And that’s all for now.

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About theoldperfessor

I'm a college professor, teaching journalism and public relations classes at a small private university, and a freelance writer.
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