Saturday, May 11 (Happy Birthday Emma Scanlan & Ted Henning)
We covered about 260 miles yesterday, almost all of it South from Rapid City, SD to our overnight in Sidney, NE. This morning, after another leisurely start, we headed West on Rte 30 to Cheyenne, WY. This rural route parallels I-80 and runs right between the interstate and the Union Pacific Railroad. Cheyenne is home to a very large Union Pacific sorting yard and we passed a few enormous freight trains coming and going on our way. We crossed the Wyoming border at Pine Bluffs and completed the rest of the 100 mile leg to Cheyenne on I-80.
We had lunch in downtown Cheyenne, then Bill dropped me off at the Dirty Duds laundromat about two miles outside of town and took off to explore on his own for awhile. I love laundromats and this one was awesome. It had comfortable seats, free WiFi, cable television, a full time attendant, change machines that worked, it was clean and attracted just the right mix of crazy people to keep things interesting. Maybe as close to the platonic ideal of coin operated laundry as I’ve experienced. Bravo, Dirty Duds.
After Bill picked me up, we drove around Cheyenne for a bit, past the Capitol (very small) and around the Frontier Days grounds which includes a 19,000 seat stadium, ground zero for the annual July event that fills Cheyenne to the brim with visitors. The city is quite pretty with lots of neat little bungalows with tidy yards on quiet streets. Very liveable. At length, we headed out of town on the back roads to Ft. Collins where we are spending the night. After we checked in to our hotel we drove downtown, parked and wandered around for an hour or so. Ft. Collins is home to Colorado State University, so it has the whole college vibe going on. It’s kind of a cross between Brunswick, ME, Burlington, VT and Collinsville, CT – only bigger. Lots of little bars, restaurants, galleries, micro-breweries, street performers and…hipsters.
Bill has cautioned me to use the “h” word carefully because people interpret it differently. Here’s what hipster means to me (male version). Twenty something guy, porkpie hat, smoking a bad cigarillo, calf-length shorts, flip flops, T or Hawaiian shirt, laughing too loud. Add slutty girlfriend to taste. Whatever they were? Lots of those.
So even though we were in three states today, we only covered about 150 miles. It was a good “down” day. But things look to be heating up starting tomorrow. Pretty soon after we got into Colorado, we could start to see the shadow of the rockies off to our right. And as soon as that happened, Bill changed our itinerary. On the spot. We had originally planned to head South through Colorado and cut West through Northern New Mexico and Arizona. But as soon as the rockies were in view, Bill wanted to drive straight through them. And right away. As Admiral Nelson used to say, always go right at ’em. So, change of plan. In the morning we’re heading for Rocky Mountain National Park. Recalculating.
Random stuff from today: Started seeing Oil Wells on farm land in South Dakota. We listened to a whole radio show out of Colorado today devoted to…Beer. Really. Colorado is pronounced kahlahrahdah by natives, best I can figure. Everybody in Ft. Collins is in good or better shape. Our clothes are clean. Our car is not.