Wednesday, May 22, 2013

All Billings to Cheyenne

We woke up at 05:45 this a.m. and got ready to leave Billings. We had one last stop to make. I needed to buy a fridge magnet that said Montana, since we were heading for Wyoming and we only have about 7,490 magnets on our fridge so far, arranged in geographic order of course.

The road was open ahead of us, and the sun was starting to come up. The interplay of sun, cloud and shadow was worth a couple of pictures. This is looking South.

This is looking towards the East. The landscape is folded and buckled. Scooterchick says "it looks like someone forgot to make their bed." I found that an apt description.

This is slightly south of East. The rumpling continues unabated.

Soon enough we reached the state line. We stopped for a picture of the welcome to Wyoming, the Cowboy State sign. Saddle up sez I.

We stopped in the town of Ranchester to get some fuel. The sign in the foreground, the Tongue Valley Association in the background. But wait...there's more to Ranchester than meets the eye.

This is the Main Street of Ranchester. That's right it's a regular hive of activity. I can imagine folk sitting on the porch waving at passing traffic. Because. hey it's an occasion!

There is a large carved wooden eagle on the front lawn of a local business. It's about life size, compared to the ones we see in Squamish when they come to feed on Salmon.

There is a former gas station for sale by owner. I wonder if the 38 Ford is included in the price?

We continued moving South and took this picture of the broad prairie. The Bighorn Mountains are visible snowcapped in the far background.

The landscape folding continues. One can look across the veldt and count multiple lumps, bumps and swales. It looks as though the landscape was created to confuse anyone traversing it on horseback or on foot.

There was evidence of forest fire in the recent past. In numerous locations we saw blackened trunks, with the branches still intact. I suppose this would indicate a fast moving fire.

In this photo more of the trees have fallen due to the burn. Slower and hotter than the previous picture.

We rode on South and saw the turnoff for Custer's last stand. Didn't work out so well for George eh?

There was a park on the other side of the freeway with Tepee Sculptures, an Indian Warrior and numerous flags and sculpted animals. We did not stop.

This park had something to do with the Warrior Trail. This is a nationally designated stretch of Hwy 212 that starts in Minnesota and ends at Yellowstone National Park. Charles Kuralt called it the loveliest highway in America.

We felt the first pangs of hunger and stopped at PoBoys Steakhouse in Casper for lunch. The main dining room was closed until dinner, but they had service in the Pump Room.

This room serves as a lounge during dinner hours and restaurant at lunch. It had big comfy barrel chairs and a reasonable lunch menu. We pondered our choices.

At the entrance to the room was a stained glass panel showing the motif. The walls were covered with pictures and memorabilia from the early days of the oil boom.

I decided to go with the Cali Melt. It contained a Grilled Chicken Breast with a zesty sauce, Sliced Onion, Tomato and Guacamole served on Grilled Sourdough Bread with Crispy Yam Fries.

Scooterchick opted for a Bison Burger. It was massive and came with a Happy Face bowl of Cottage Cheese. She was unable to finish it all. 

Heading south from Casper we only had about two and a half hours to go. The landscape continues to amaze. Rolling hills to the left.

These gradually gave way to flat topped buttes. The change was interesting but there was more interesting territory to come.

We passed through an area of hoodoos. These are outcroppings of stone weathered by centuries of wind. Every time we got out of the car the wind was blowing stiffly. We could feel it buffet the car when we came through cutbanks in the highway.

We enjoyed looking at these anomalies, and saying "this one looks like this, or that one looks like this."
You have to decide for yourself what they resemble.

They come in all sorts of fantastical shapes.

We stopped at a rest area and found we were only a short distance from an area of the Oregon Trail, where passing wagons left ruts going up a draw. The ruts remain today. There is a sandstone cliff where passing travelers inscribed their names and the dates of their passage. Those names and dates remain today over 160 years later due to the dry climate. We did not investigate further as we need to leave something to see on our next trip.

About half an hour later we rolled into Cheyenne, and started to look for a hotel. I don't know what it is about Cheyenne but the hotels here are pricy. Rooms we could rent for $60 or so elsewhere go for over $100 here. Oh well, we need somewhere to stay, so we found a place.

We decided on Little America. This is a company we have referred to in a previous post, where they combine all functionality for the casual, business or professional traveler. Whether you are ridong a bike, or driving a big rig, they can accommodate all your requirements.

 The had pansies at the portico.

The entryway was grand, but it only gave a hint of what awaited in the lobby. They also have an executive 9 hole golf course with lakes interspersed throughout the greens.

When you enter the lobby there is the statue of an Indian Brave, replete with ceremonial regalia to greet  the weary traveler.

Immediately opposite, there is a stuffed Emperor penguin. Why?......I don't know.

The walk to the registration desk takes one past a very well stocked gift shop. It contains all the necessitos for the greenhorn to "cowboy up".

After passing the gift shop, we enter the lobby proper. Using the people standing at the registration desk, you get an appreciation of the scale of it.

There is a Remington sculpture on a table.

Additional bronzes grace a table at one side, where a decanter with Lime and Strawberry Ice Water reposes with glasses and napkins in case you want to slake the thirst that comes from galloping over the plain. There's also an ornate mirror in case you need to check your "look".

At the other side of the lobby is a large oil painting with a couple of chairs to rest and knock the dust off your boots.

There is also a chess board with a couple comfy wing chairs to ponder your next move.

We drove to Lodge Four, and found our room. There are a couple chairs to rest in the cool of the evening. We sat for a couple of minutes in the ever present Wyoming breeze.

The room itself was generously proportioned. It had a King Bed, a 37" flat screen TV, Fridge, Microwave and Wifi. What more could two tired travelers need?

This is the view towards the door. There is also a Queen Anne-like desk. hey, we have stuff we can pile on that. We proceeded to bring in our overnight stuff from the car.

The bathroom was also generously proportioned. When I think of the bathrooms we had in European hotels, where showering, handwashing or toilet usage required contortions to fit oneself to the miniscule facilities, I prefer the American version.....spacious.

We settled down to coffee, blogging, a snack and sleep. We have been burning the candle at both ends, and throwing cups of gasoline at the guttering flames. An early night is indicated to recharge the batteries. Seriously when one starts feeling nauseous and shaky from lack of sleep, better listen. I did manage to snooze for an hour or so in the car while Scooterchick took the wheel.

I bid you good evening!

1 comment:

Patricia Carpenter said...

I am glad we chose to stay here. With the exception of that weird thing that happened with the shower curtain, I would definately recommend this place. Very nice indeed. Glad we are here together, baby....:-).