After spending part of the day in Laramie on Wednesday I zipped over to nearby Cheyenne, about 45 miles to the east. I would be spending the night down in Fort Collins, Colorado as a set up for a scenic drive back to Lander the next day on a road just north of there. Fort Collins is about an hour south so I knew I only had until 7pm to see the things I hoped to while in town.
As I drove into town I had to go up and over a bridge which spanned many sets of railroad tracks (way more than there were in Laramie). There was a tower between the two bridges (which took cars in opposite directions) much like an air traffic control tower at an airport, to allow controllers to monitor and supervise traffic on the various sets of tracks. Trains are a big deal in the west and it is not uncommon to see a train which is miles long.
My first stop, ironically, was the train station downtown, as it is where the Visitor Center is located. I had a very pleasant conversation with the young lady who was working there and she was very helpful in approving my “to-do” list and indicating on a map where everything was. There would be more driving and less walking this time.
One of the things I wanted to see were the “boots” scattered around town. Various towns across the United States participated in an art project several years ago and each town had a theme which suited it’s local flavor. Cheyenne had cowboy boots. BIG cowboy boots. There were three lined up right in front of the railroad station:
These babies were over six feet tall and each painted with a unique theme.
This one was behind the station in a restricted area so I could only get a photo through the window:
Here is a photo of the train station/Visitor Center:
Inside, most of the benches where travelers would normally sit had been removed and there was a large “mural” on the floor showing major items of railroad and history milestones in many of the northwestern states:
After organizing my game plan I drove north of town to the Botanical Gardens, which I was told was very nice. It would close at 5pm so I wanted to get it checked off the list first. I drove past the state capitol to get there and I regret not taking the time to go inside. It wasn’t a very big building but state capitols are often very ornate, inside and out, and worth a look.
I arrived at the Gardens and of course there was a boot outside near the entrance, a tribute to a major benefactor and designer of the Children’s garden I would soon tour:
Hard to tell with the up close photo but the back of the boot contained an image of a large bison.
The woman at the welcome desk at the Botanical Gardens was very helpful in prioritizing my list of things to see in the brief time I was there. She suggested I go through the inside, three level atrium and also allow time to walk through the Children’s garden outside.
It was blazing hot in the atrium and I started at the top and quickly worked my way back down to the ground floor, thankful for the “misting stations” which kept the plants watered. I mainly took photos of any plant with color on it but most of the plants were lush green.
These were green but I couldn’t resist getting photos of the “Bunny Ear” cactus:
At closing time I headed over to a city park on the east side of town where a “Big Boy” replica was on display. Not Bob’s Big Boy, which you will see in a future post, but a large steam locomotive engine.
After taking my photos I headed across town to a facility I had passed on my way in to town, the NCAR-Wyoming Supercomputing Center where another “boot” was located:
Unfortunately the boots were scattered all over town and although I had a map with their locations I didn’t have time to track any more down. I hopped on the interstate and headed south to Fort Collins, Colorado where I stayed in an absolutely fantastic modern home with a very nice young couple who were preparing for a weekend birthday party for their young son. The perfect end to another perfect day!