Sunday, June 21, 2009

Wyoming State Capitol and the Ames Monument

We stopped at Cheyenne, WY and really enjoyed looking around. This town was established during the construction of the Transcontinental railroad (the Union Pacific side) and was a real boom town in the the 1870s and beyond. There is still a large Union Pacific operation here and one of the focal points of the town is the magnificent, restored depot right downtown.

In the waiting room is a wonderful floor tile representation of the original railroad route showing many of the main towns that were established. Orinda is standing on Cheyenne and looking west!

Our next stop, just up the street, was the beautiful Wyoming State Capital. Similar to the SD capital, this building portrays the enthusiastic outlook of the early west and is a beautiful creation.

Orinda stands next to the gorgeous wood staircase leading to the upper floor. I would love to know how much this building would cost today (it was built for $225,000 in 1889).

We left Cheyenne and headed west on I-80, following the original route of the railroad. As we crossed Sherman Pass (about 8,000')m we came across the "Tree in the rock" which we also saw in a picture in the Cheyenne depot museum. Wait a minute -- could this be the same tree??? The answer is YES! This is the same tree travelers passed in 1869 as they traveled on the Union Pacific Railroad. Legend has it that the train crews slowed down and tossed a bucket of water on it as they went by.

After looking at the Tree growing in the rock, we mount up and follow the UP roadbed west.

Rick saw a sign for the Ames Monument -- Oliver and Oakes Ames were heavily involved in the financing of the Union Pacific, so he had to take a look. Unfortunately, the road quickly turned to dirt, and a narrow dirt road at that! BUMMER! Here, Rick gets to unhook the HHR so he can very carefully back the coach into a dirt driveway and turn around. Took a while, but he was successful!

As we drove back by the Ames Monument, Rick stopped the coach and took a picture of the monument that caused all the problems! All in all, it was well worth it!

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