Missile Drive

19 July 2008

OK hands up. This isn't a robbery, I want to know how many people reading this have ever been to Wyoming and who fell in love with it? Because I did.

It was never supposed to happen this way. Wyoming was only planned to be the state that the Interstate 25 passed through, taking us from Colorado to our next set piece destination at Custer National Park in South Dakota. But as we crossed the border from Colorado and watched the more densely populated areas dissolve away, we knew that the America that we had come to experience was right here in Wyoming.

As we had left Fort Collins early, we had more time and flexibility to stray a little from the Interstate. On a whim we turned east for thirty miles aiming for Fort Laramie, enchanted by its name but not really knowing what to expect when we got there.

Fort Laramie turned out to be one of the highlights of the trip so far. It has a well maintained, partially restored fort dating back to the Indian Wars. We walked around its buildings, some ruins, some beautifully maintained historic, wooden houses (one of which is the oldest building in the state of Wyoming), then took in a fascinating hours talk on nineteenth century American artillery. The whole experience was subtly crafted and not at all theme park, a real credit to National Parks. Our thirsts quenched by sarsaparilla, we headed back towards the interstate and Douglas.

I’ve been joking with everybody that we are going to move to Douglas one day, but it turned out not to be as enchanting as my imagination had lead me to believe. A pleasant place to be no doubt, helped by the River Platte that runs through it and a liquor store that seemed to stock every brand of whisky ever made. We rounded off the day with a visit to Ayres Natural Bridge, a 150 foot high natural, sand stone arch with a bubbly river running under it.

So far Wyoming has been a wonder and I’m sure that we all wish that we had planned to spend more time here. But for now, two of the very best days of the trip is all we have.

By Andy Clarke

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