Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Lyman to Rawlins, Wyoming

We camped at the Lyman KOA on September 26, after another 300 mile day of travel. As we approached the small town we saw these windmills on the horizon. There are hundreds of them on the high plains of southern Wyoming. They always look so friendly to me, a strange reaction, I'm sure!

Rawlins, where we stayed at another KOA the night of the 27th, is a quaint, old town. This bed and breakfast was the most striking building besides the prison

The Old Wyoming State Penitentiary is the landmark of the town. The "Old Pen", as they call it, was constructed in 1901 and served till 1981, and sent a message that Wyoming would no longer be a haven for the lawless. The last known train robber was imprisoned here, as well as many other notorious western outlaws. A new penitentiary has been built outside of town.

We took the hour-long tour. I must say it was fascinating and at the same time very gruesome and depressing to see how the prisoners were housed. These cells are dark and tiny.

You wouldn't catch me in there, but Keith wanted to sit in the gas chamber, always the actor! 14 prisoners were executed at the "Old Pen" in its 80 year history,  several by a tortuous and sometimes ineffective hanging system, and later by lethal gas. Keith was reprieved by the governor in the nick of time! So...on to happier times and the next leg of our journey.

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