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Spanish Peaks, Colorado

Sunday, September 30, 2012

Cheyenne to Casper WY

 It's a mixed bag of sadness and excitement to be leaving the Cheyenne KOA. Sadness, because we enjoyed working here; excitement, because we love getting out on the road heading for a new place! We love the journey between jobs. It's our vacation!

 Our KOA employers, owners Dave and Mary Jo, and Jim, our manager. Rhonda, Jim's wife, is missing because she just had some surgery and was sleeping when we left. We will never forget these wonderful people!

 I know, I know! I shouldn't take pictures while I'm driving! Here we are headed up I-25 towards Casper. It's a short drive, 190 miles. Remember, it's our vacation!




  The Casper KOA is really in the town of Bar Nunn, on the outskirts of Casper. We happened to be here on the last day the park is open for this year. We had a nice, big spot with plenty of room for our rig, truck and car, plus a spot to put up our kitty tent. The cats were happy to get out of the car, and after their snack to be put outside in their tent to enjoy the new smells.

 We tried to visit the National Historic Trails Interpretive Center but found it closed on a Sunday. Since the building is up on a hill we got this pretty view of the city of Casper. It is green and full of trees, in contrast to the prairie around it. The mountains in the distance are the northernmost stretch of the Medicine Bows. The Platte River runs through the town. Casper is noted in Oregon Trail history as the place where the trails split into three, the Oregon Trail, The Mormon Trail and the California Trail. The names of the Trails are self-explanatory. The Oregon Trail ended in Fort Vancouver WA and Oregon City OR; the Mormon Trail ended in Utah, and the California Trail split into several different destinations in California.

 We next tried the Fort Casper Museum and were happy to find that it was open. The Fort is a reconstruction, but that happened in 1936, so the log buildings are looking quite old. The original Fort was built in 1859. The one fact that stands out in my mind is that the Fort was named in honor of Lt. Caspar Collins who was killed in an Indian battle. They wanted to name it Fort Collins, but there was already a Fort named for Caspar's father in Colorado! So they settled for the Lt.'s first name.

 This is a reconstruction of a small section of the toll bridge that crossed the Platte River at Casper. The trading post there served as a stage stop, a Pony Express relay station, and a telegraph office. After the Sand Creek masacre in 1864 the Sioux, Cheyenne, and Arapahoe gathered at this bridge and fought the battle in which Lt. Caspar Collins was killed. The entire Fort was later dismantled and moved to Fort Fetterman near what later became Douglas WY. By the way, I found it interesting that even though Caspar Collin's name is spelled with an 'a' in the second syllable, the town founders changed the spelling to a 'e'.

In 1847 Brigham Young built and operated a ferry across the North Platte River near the site of present-day Fort Caspar Museum. It's difficult to believe that this little raft carried wagon after wagon across the river! However, it couldn't have been too risky. We have found that in all the places we've seen the Platte River it has been very placid, smooth, and not very deep. It's the principle river the Oregon Trail pioneers followed across the prairie. Well, tomorrow will bring us to Hardin MT where we'll once again tour the site of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, where Custer lost his life. I'll be posting about that!




Saturday, September 29, 2012

Good-bye Cheyenne

After a hard day's work getting ready to go, condensing our possessions, securing the rig, putting stuff away, preparing to hook up BigTruk to our 5th wheel, this is what we saw over the campground tonight. It looks like an angel up there holding out his arms to the city and to the KOA!
Our time here has passed quickly. Mostly it was taken up with doctor and hospital visits, since Mr. Keith was diagnosed with multiple myeloma right after we arrived. He's had several rounds of chemo, lots of pills, some infusions, and all around great care from the doctor and the many nurses who have touched his life. We will have a leisurely trip home in our 5th wheel, visiting Casper, Hardin, Bozeman, Missoula, Spokane, and, finally, Wenatchee. After a couple of weeks to visit family and friends we'll go on to our new workamping job at Lost Lake RV Resort near Olympia, and Keith will have his stem cell transplant in Seattle.
We've had a great summer of work and play at the Cheyenne KOA, working with great people and meeting tons of happy campers. 
The highlights of our time here were that we got to see Oregon Trail history at Guernsey and at Fort Laramie, to the north. We enjoyed time in the city of Laramie to the west where we met up with my childhood friend and classmate. We took many drives around the Cheyenne area, and we toured the Capitol and some other historical places in town. And, of course, we sampled several of the local restaurants with co-workers and with friends. It was a wonderful place to spend our summer.
So... Cheyenne, it's been good. You've treated us well and given us delightful memories. We will never forget you and your people.
 May God bless you, Cheyenne!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A Capitol Day!

Something we've been wanting to do since we've been in Cheyenne is to visit the inside of the State Capitol. We had a chance to do that on Monday in between work and Keith's doctor visit. The blue ribbon on the outside of the building is for prostate cancer, I discovered.

This is looking straight up to the gold plated dome. The Wyoming State Capitol was constructed in 1886, in the style of the National Capitol Building in Washington D.C.

The Wyoming State Mammal is the American Bison. This beautiful specimen stands in the lobby. In life, he weighed 3000 pounds and is the third largest bison on record.

The House of Representatives. I love the carpet and wall colors.

When we stepped outside the back entrance to the Capitol we saw the modern government building with this reflection of the stately dome in the windows. 

The well-known symbol of Wyoming, the Cowboy State, is this bucking bronco sculpture, named the "Spirit of Wyoming", proudly displayed on the Capitol grounds. The light wasn't good for this photo, but you can get an idea how it looks.


Still with time to kill, and a bag of old bread in the trunk, we decided to go up to Lion's Park to feed the ducks. This is the park that includes the rodeo grounds where Frontier Days is held each year. We expected to feed the Canada Geese but there weren't any there, only a lone white goose amidst the mallard ducks.

The Botanical Gardens are right next to the little lake, and it is incredibly beautiful there. The first time we visited, in early May, nothing was planted. At this time of year, September, the displays are just a little past their prime, but still lovely.




The bridge passes over a small lagoon filled with pond lilies.

Gorgeous!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Bye-bye!

 One of the most wonderful things about workamping is that we get to meet and work with tremendous people. One of the saddest things about workamping is that we have to invariably say good-bye to them when the season is over. This was one of those sad days. We looked over and saw that John and Sue already had their 5th wheel slides in and were about to hook up the truck, so we high-tailed it over there to say one last good-bye.

 We had the privilege of working with John and Sue at two different KOAs, the Denver East/Strasburg KOA and the Cheyenne KOA. They are headed back to their home state, Florida, for a couple of weeks, and then they'll take up their fall job working for Amazon in Kentucky.
 To John and Sue:

An Old Irish Blessing
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.

Bye-bye! We'll miss you!