We lazily spent the morning checking out a few shops in Pinedale, then checked out Camp Fremont, which was an early CCC camp nearby. The CCC built roads, campgrounds, a ski area, and quite a few other projects, which are still in use today.
Our next stop of the day was the Wyoming State Penitentiary, in Rawlins. This jail was in use from 1901 to 1981. It was a grand building, especially for the time.
After wrapping up in Rawlins, it was another 90 minutes to Laramie. We wanted to stop by the Wyoming University campus, and maybe get a look at the football stadium. We were in luck! The stadium gates were standing wide open so we did not hesitate to perform a close-up inspection.
After that fun stop, we were on our way to Cheyenne, but first, a visit to the Ames Monument. The Ames Monument was built in 1882 by the Union Pacific Railroad to recognize the achievements of the Ames Brothers in the building of the transcontinental railroad. The railroad spared no expense and got the preeminent architect of the time to design it. It is built near the highest point (8,247 feet) of the entire transcontinental railroad. You do have to drive a few miles on dirt roads off the interstate, but absolutely well worth it.
We did not have hotel reservations for tonight, and decided to grab a place in Cheyenne. Friday night in Cheyenne was evidently the hottest hotel ticket in the area, so we got to overpay for a La Quinta, and were glad to do it.
We explored downtown Cheyenne, and there was a lot of activity including a beer festival. We got dinner at a quirky restaurant recommended by a local. We could have used less quirk and more service, but we survived the meal and made our way to our hotel.
The La Quinta experience also contained a lot of quirkiness. The young man who was our desk clerk stated this room had not been rented in quite a while, and he had to make a call to his manager to ask some questions. It ended up being that he could let us into the rom but the lock had an issue with it, so he could not give us a key. One of us just had to always be in the room once we checked in. But again, we were glad to have a room and thankful we did not have to drive half the night across Nebraska to find a hotel room.
The next morning, we saddled up and began our final push home.
One of our few entertainment stops was in Gothenburg, Nebraska, to visit the Pony Express museum. The Pony Express was a mail service delivering mail using relays of horse and riders. It was only in operation from April 1860 to October 1861, but seems to live on forever. The museum is a replica of one of the Pony Express Stations, which was not historically far from this area. The town had several very knowledgeable and friendly people operating it, explaining the building, and the pony express in general.
The rest of the day was dedicated to driving back to Oklahoma with the hammer down. The only other attraction that got us off the road was a stop in Cawker City, Kansas, for a visit to the World’s Largest Ball of Twine.
We absolutely loved our trip and getting to spend so much time with Mallory in Montana made it all the more special. Can’t wait to go back!