After Colorado, my next scheduled stop was Rocky Mountain National Park and Denver. But there was a problem. Actually – a few problems. I was pretty tired and increasingly leery of city driving at this point. The mountain driving in Colorado was a lot steeper than I anticipated. And finally, there had been record-breaking amounts of rain that washed out roads. Most of the route to Rocky Mountain National Park was unavailable.
I stopped, high up in the mountains, to determine my plans. It really felt like I was on top of the world. But I had to make a decision, and what I ultimately decided was to continue through Colorado and back to Wyoming, to see a family friend. I slept in a Wal-Mart parking lot in the Rockies – I think it was ‘Eagle, Colorado’. And then the next day I continued on. Passing around the corner near Denver, I considered stopping in Fort Collins, but decided to press on, before stopping in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
I was there to see a family friend (hi Nancy!) – and also because I was curious about the area. After all, Cheyenne is still in the sphere of Denver’s influence, swatch of suburbia that extends through Boulder, Longmont, Fort Collins, and which ends in Cheyenne.
Denver’s a strange place – it’s considered a mountain city, but in fact it’s located at the very end of the great plains: to the east it looks like Kansas, and to the west, it’s tall mountains. It makes for some striking views.
I also liked Cheyenne. It’s a small city, about 60,000 people. But the parks are beautiful, there’s a local airport and college, and it seemed like a nice place to live. It helped that I got a tour of the town.
The next day, Nancy and I went to a nearby recreation area – Vedauwoo. It’s a big pile of boulders, off-road trails, and campgrounds. It’s also just in the middle of nowhere – flat plains as far as the eye can see. It was getting cold now, in mid-September (Wyoming has extensive and brutal winters). But still, we saw a lot of climbers, and apparently it’s well known for the bouldering opportunities.
After seeing Cheyenne, it was time for me to head East: a few days of sustained driving through the states of Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri and Arkansas.