We're traveling through a part of Wyoming that brings to mind those descriptions of the wide open spaces, every one from those accounts of settlers in their covered wagons all the way up to Uncle Frank's family excursion to the west coast after having saved up his vacation time at the factory. It really is true, it is Big Sky country. As we're heading down the highway, I can look out both sides of the bus and see nothing but grassy flatland stretching for miles to the horizons, to me, truly an awe inspiring sight. This coming from a native New Englander where most places you could barely see into the neighbor's yard. Where I live on Cape Cod, years ago, you used to be able to stand in our "Widow's Walk" ( yes, we have one of those ) and look out on Buzzards Bay, but over the years the trees have obscured the view. But the view out here is something totally alien to me.
I used to think it would be great to live out here in the west, get a nice little ranch in the middle of nowhere, enjoy the piece and quiet, lots of elbow room ( there's an understatement ), far removed from the overbuilt, overcrowded, noisy east coast. The idea of a western utopia, I must admit, appealed to me for a long time. But after seeing just a small sample of what it must be like to live out here, I have to say...it scares the crap out of me! I mean, what do these people do out here? And the winters? I thought New England was bad, but try being in a place where not only does the wind never stop but a lot of the time it gets much worse, like snowdrifts burying your cattle! And is it really necessary to have country music playing in every establishment you walk into, give me six months of that and as Lindsay says " I'll effing shoot myself!" No, there's a reason my English ancestors got to the Berkshires in western Massachusetts, looked up, looked at each other and said, "Eff it! We're stayin' here! No, let all those other crazy b******s fight the wind, sun, dust, heat and native peoples only to end up as dinner to one or two members of the Donner party, no thanks."
This week is proving to be a test of will and stamina. These last few crazy bus rides are only made worse by the fact that the carrot of them ending is now dangling agonizingly in full view. Still, I enjoy the scenery, I do, but getting on the bus at 4am tomorrow? Really? Just four more days of bus rides, just four more days and then we can sit and relax for 10 days, that's the mantra now.
Nice to see some of the places lately though, we've kind of been skirting around this part of the country since the get go and now we have a whirlwind one week view of it. Santa Fe NM is a pleasant enough place, it really has that whole Southwest thing down with the adobe motiff and the Spanish Mission flavor. Just don't get caught jaywalking in town because it's a $1000.00 fine, which is what I found out just as we were about to leave town. The cop just gave me a warning, which was nice. I guess the reasoning behind it is so many pedestrians were getting clocked out there they had to do something.
On our way up to Wyoming we stop in Colorado Springs and went through the "Garden of the Gods", some truly impressive rock formations, they happened when the old sandstone riverbeds were thrown up sideways when the rockies were formed. Check out the pictures.
We had a stopover in Cheyenne WY and stayed at the historic Great Plains hotel, a bit of a unique experience after spending so many nights in fairly new hotels. Some things haven't been updated probably as much as they should have though, the elevator is no bigger than a broom closet, so it's a choice of what goes first, you or your luggage. Beautiful town though with some interesting historic buildings.
Next stop was Gillette WY. I had it in mind that we'd be at some teeney community center with barely enough room to swing a cat. But to my surprise Gillette has a very impressive Multi-Event ( as they call it ) center, complete with a theater most major cities would envy. And the treatment there was top notch. A dressing room with flowers, bottled water, comfy chair and...a dish full of butterscotch candies. Gillette, you know how to do it right.
Well that's all for now, I'll be back with the last few stops before casino-land.
Be back soon