Cruising north on I-25 from Fort Collins is where we first started to see them…..signs warning about traffic for the upcoming solar eclipse. Most of the state of Wyoming was going to be in the 100% coverage range for the eclipse. We had not even crossed the Wyoming state line yet and the Colorado DOT was warning of impeding traffic doom on eclipse day. Nonetheless we pressed on. We crossed the Wyoming state line happy to be in a state that really did feel like the west. Everything it seemed had a picture of a cowboy on it, even the state license plates. In a flash it seemed (Cheyenne is only about an hour drive from Fort Collins) we were passing the city on our way to our campground for the next few days on the outskirts of town. We had a long day already coming from Estes Park, touring Fort Collins and now in Cheyenne so we relaxed the rest of the night, cooking an early dinner and making smores over our camp grill.
The next day we woke up ready to go explore the town. As the campground was pretty empty we went to the camp office and had them fill Bubbles with propane as she was almost empty. We were also able to ask the owner about Cheyenne and what there was to see. He turned out to be a recent transplant to Cheyenne but did suggest checking out the main square as well as the free trolley ride around the city. We thanked him and we were off.
The first stop in a capitol city that we try to do is to check out and take a tour of their capital building. We checked a map of the city and parked near the capital building but also close enough to the rest of downtown so that we wouldn’t have to move the van. When we got out of the car and looked across the street to our surprise we were on Carey Avenue! Many people that Julie & I know had found their names on street signs closer to home but we had never found either a Carey or Roland Ave. Here it was though on one of the main streets in Cheyenne. We finally found a city that embraced the Carey name! After we got over our excitement of finding Carey Avenue it was time to get to the capital building. Our excitement from being on Carey Ave was short lived however as when we got to the Wyoming Capital building we found out that it was closed until next year for repairs. A sign did point us to the nearby Wyoming State Museum, which did have a display on the building and said it was free. So off we went to the State Museum. The museum actually turned out to be pretty good. Half of the museum was dedicated to the natural side of Wyoming, its parks and wildlife and the other half to the people in Wyoming, the native people as well as the early pioneering settlers to the people of today. It was very well done and we would go back next time we were in Cheyenne.
From the museum we walked back to Bubbles and had lunch before venturing back out. We found our afternoon iced coffee before venturing into a used book store and walked out with the 1st 4 seasons of 30 Rock (usually our internet isn’t great on the road so when we cant watch Netflix our dvd player is the next best thing). While paying the owner asked us if we could take a survey on why we were in Cheyenne. The city was trying to figure out how many people came to town or to Wyoming in general for the solar eclipse as just about the entire state was going to be in the 100% coverage range. Almost every store that we went into was selling some sort of eclipse merchandise, from shirts & hats to towels and solar glasses to watch the actual eclipse. Everyone was trying to cash in on Mother Nature coming right through their front door. We did finish the survey letting the owner know it was just a coincidence that we were there at that exact time (if it wasn’t for the Sturgis Bike Rally we would have been there sooner).
From the bookstore we wandered to Cheyenne’s main square. In many cities around the country a few years ago it was a fad to have artists paint statues of a certain animal (in the case of Rochester it was horses), then place them around the city as public art. In Cheyenne they did cowboy boots which some still stand in the main square. They were pretty neat and we took pictures with a few of them. These will be in the photo gallery ☺. Next to the main square stands Cheyenne’s old rail station. Today it is used for events and there is a brewery in there as well called Accomplice Brewery. Artists were just setting up for a show as we arrived so we went and checked out the brewery first. The brewery itself was pretty neat. Instead of having a bar the patrons just serve themselves. Here’s how it worked. When we walked in we received a bar credit card of sorts. Beer taps were along a wall with a price per ounce listed next to them. If you wanted to try one of the beers you held the card up to a card reader next to the beer tap that you wanted to try. Once the card was read you pulled the tap then stopped at an ounce or a full glass. We thought this was great because you could try every single one of their beers without getting a flight. We tried most of the beers before selecting the one that we liked the most and went out back. The back patio backed up to a working Union Pacific train yard so for about half an hour or so we watched as trains came and went. It was really a neat place.
From the train station/brewery we walked the streets a bit more exploring shops and picking out a few things for the van. We called it quits around 5pm and headed back to the campground.
Next up….We go back to South Dakota for 5 days in the Black Hills!