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Cheyenne, Wyoming…

Posted by on September 28, 2014

SEPTEMBER 28, 2014.


Cheyenne is the state capital of Wyoming. The Capitol in the background and the Train Depot in the foreground. (Yep, I spelled ’em both correctly.)

CHEYENNE, WYOMING is the cow capital of Wyoming. It all began when the Union Pacific Railroad selected it as a company townsite in 1867.  Settlers rushed in even before the railroad began to sell building plots. Within a matter of months, the population was 4,000, and thousands of tents, shacks, dugouts, and covered wagon boxes lined the streets. It was a rough and tumble group of folks and transients who lived and worked there.

By 1869 Longhorns were arriving in the vicinity from Texas, and the next year the first Wyoming cattle were loaded at Cheyenne for the European market. By the mid-1870’s the Cheyenne Plains had been stocked, the Wyoming Stock Growers Association founded and Cheyenne was the capital of a vast cattle-ranching region. English cattlemen settled there and formed the Cheyenne Club, which made policies affecting the cattle industry throughout the West. The town outfitted prospectors going to the Black Hills and provided them with stage transportation. People continued to arrive and today, Cheyenne is the capital of the State.


The Union Pacific Railroad put Cheyenne on the map in 1867.

RAILROAD LORE. Have you seen the TV series called “Hell on Wheels?” If you like action shows and learning about history of the American West, you’ll love it. It’s an historically based story about the construction of the First Transcontinental Railroad across the United States. It follows the Union Pacific Railroad and its surveyors, laborers, prostitutes, mercenaries and others who lived, worked and died in the mobile encampment called “Hell on Wheels” which followed the railhead west across the Great Plains. The town of Cheyenne is prominently featured. Some of the must-see railroad exhibits here are the Big Boy Steam Engine, Engine 1242 and the Cheyenne Depot…designated as a National Historic Landmark.


This guy was only a about a hundred yards from our campsite.

TERRY BISON RANCH RV PARK will be our home in Cheyenne for the next few days. The Ranch consists of nearly 30,000 acres of rolling hills, lush grasslands and more than 2,300 grazing bison. A bison tour via train will take us right to the middle of the herd. Other features and activities at the ranch include an-old time photo studio, fishing at a private lake stocked with rainbow trout and a Trading Post. The ranch is also home to The Senator’s Restaurant and Brass Buffalo Saloon, a full-service old-West restaurant and saloon. While we’re here, it’ll be kind of like staying in an RV Park and “an attraction” at the same time. Matter of fact, that’s exactly what it is. Should be fun!

LIGHTNING AND THUNDER GREETED US when we arrived this afternoon, along with heavy rain and a stiff wind. We were tired from the long drive today, so we went to bed early. Hopefully the rain will have stopped by morning, so we can get outside and do some exploring. There is a lot to see here. It’s hard for me to believe that we’re in Cheyenne, Wyoming. I still have to pinch myself every so often to remind me that this is our Great American Adventure…it really is!

UPDATE. SEPTEMBER 29, 2014: This morning dawned with bright sunlight breaking through clouds and some beautiful blue sky in the background. We had lunch at a good Chinese restaurant and then visited the Train Depot and Railroad Museum downtown. Both were fascinating, especially with our developing interest in history of the American West, the construction of the first Transcontinental Railroad and events here of that era. Afterwards, we drove across town to a local community park where Big Boy Steam Engine 4004, now retired, is on display. It is a huge, tall, black, imposing piece of machinery which was still in service as recently as 1949. Very impressive…probably twice the size of today’s diesel locomotives. As the afternoon began to fade, we noticed that the sky began to appear threatening, so we headed back to our campsite at Terry Bison Ranch.

tornadoTORNADO WATCH. When we arrived back at our motorhome, we learned that Cheyenne and the surrounding southeast part of the state is under a “Tornado Watch.” What? Tornado Watch…what in the world is that? All I know is that it doesn’t sound good, does it? What is a tornado, anyway? Is it the same as a hurricane? (This question is like a few others I’ve always had: Crocodile vs. Alligator. Mule vs. Donkey…You get the idea.) I researched all this on line very fast (except the mule and donkey part) and learned that the weather advisory called a “Tornado Watch” means that the conditions are present and conducive for a tornado. It doesn’t mean that there is actually one heading your direction…yet! However, I also learned that when the Tornado Warning actually is given there is very little time to act…sometimes just a matter of minutes. The last little morsel of information I read was that if you find yourself in an RV when the warning comes…you are to immediately get out, no matter what, and find shelter on the ground floor of a secure building.

I’LL SLEEP WITH ONE EYE OPEN...All of this information, when coupled with the darkness, driving rain and increasingly high winds, makes me more than a tad nervous. I’m just going to keep checking on the web tonight for weather updates, and hope for the best. I’m also going to begin studying a bit about weather extremes and events around the country. Traveling as we are, I think it’s time for this city boy to become a little more aware about the weather and learn what to do in a weather emergency. As my Mom would have said, “Greg, there’s no time like the present.” OK Mom, you’re right.


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