MISSION: To visit every state and territory in the U.S. For my mission a visit is greater than a stop over; I wish to explore the natural and cultural environments of these areas. Each of these locations has a story to tell, and I want to find it.

As of February 2018 I have visited all 50 states (and Puerto Rico and 2 island in the US Virgin Islands) at least once.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Home on the Range

What can you really say about a quick trip to Southern Wyoming?  Yes, there is pretty country - a very picturesque valley around the Medicine Bow.  But when you are there for work and travel between   Cheyenne and Rawlins, your pickings are limited:

  • By far the best thing on that drive was the cool granite formations of Vedauwoo - located off I-80.  These rocks are some of the oldest in Wyoming and look oddly like rock piles.  The Vedauwoo brings me back to my favorite word from my most recent vacation - hoodoo.  These formations were formed by uplift of the Laramie Mountains, and get their shape from the hard granite with crystals of quartz, so they really grab your attention as your drive by.  Unlike the hoodoo's of Bryce and Ceder Breaks, these formations are more rounded and and reminded me of a puzzle.  We never stopped and when I had a spare moment, it was cold and rainy... so maybe on a return trip to the Denver area I can revisit these formations.
  • The largest feature on the drive was Elk Mountain - I was told that it creates its own weather. It is the peak in the northern Medicine Bow Mountains and it looks like a giant slope
  • The town of 1 - that is right, ONE.  Buford!  There, you can go to the gas station (or the store next to it).
  • A Random Statue of Lincoln - nothing like the one in DC - this is really just a tall column with a giant head.  You can see him looking south, keeping watch. Find him on I-80, near Laramie.
  • Once you make it to Rawlins you can entertain yourself by heading to the jail or the local county museum:
    • The Clark County museum is home to the shoes made of human skin (not kidding)!  A local doctor  had the shoes made from Big Nose George, a local nuisance (thief and train robber).  Story goes that the museum also has the skull that was used as an ashtray.  At lunch in Rawlins, I met the museum director who let me know that there is an effort to bury the skull (and hopefully the shoes).  She is currently trying to determine where the rest of the body is buried... I say - GOOD LUCK.  And YUCK!
    • The local Gas Station - you can't make this up!
    • You can visit the old state prison!

If this sounds just too exciting for you - don't worry, I did not have time to actually do anything at these sites.  I saw them... passed them... and kept going.  I was on a schedule for work.  No time to play.  But don't worry, colleagues made sure that I took in some wacky goodness.  Just to give me a bit of local flavor, they took me to the local gas station (see picture); I was not expecting that, at all!  And while on the drive back, the rain over Elk Mountain treated us to a fabulous rainbow that was so defined I wanted to stop to find the gold.  Instead, they showed me elk ramps along the ranch fence lines - everyone can't leap like a leprechaun.  Too bad we didn't find a lamp and a genie, because I would have wished for warmer, drier weather - it was cold!  I am not ready for snow and they got a bit when I was there.  It was almost 20 degrees warmer in Denver when I drove back to the airport.  Whew!

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