After leaving Mount Rushmore and the drive along the Iron Mountain Road, our next stop could have been Georgetown Colorado, but it would have been another two and a half hours, and a very late arrival. We decided instead to layover at Cheyenne, Wyoming. Coincidently, we noted on signage around the city that Cheyenne is celebrating their 150th anniversary. The city today is a major hub at the intersection of Interstate 25 and Interstate 80, as well as the home of two railroads. Looking for something to do, we asked at the hotel front desk what might be going on in town on a Saturday night. The desk clerk told us to cross the big bridge and check out the old Depot Plaza. On Friday nights, they have a concert called “Fridays on the Plaza.”
“But…”, I protested. “It’s Saturday night.”
Not to fear, there’s usually something going on there on Saturdays as well, we learned. He was correct, of course. The historic Cheyenne Depot is a restored historical site and houses a craft brewery/restaurant and a museum. We got to the Depot Plaza to find the museum closed for the evening, but we found a live band playing, and a small gathering of people, some sitting outside at the local craft brewery at the depot, and many others simply enjoying the music sitting in chairs they brought or were available on the plaza. While we were there, we learned that there are walking tours of all the historic buildings in the downtown area. Though several maps describe the tours, we arrived too late at the depot to get our own map at the visitor center. Not to be outdone, we hung out for a while, had a brew, listened to some music and then walked around town anyway.
Fargo has sculpted bison around the city and Cheyenne has eight-foot tall cowboy boots. There are 19 of these sculptures around the city and you can grab a map from the depot information center (when they are open), and go find them all. Or, you can visit their website and download a map from the Internet here. You can even dial a phone number and key in a number located near the boot to hear a message from the sculptor about that artist’s take on their boot design.
In the restored depot, a brewing company has an interesting way to market their craft brews. I’m sure there are similar brew delivery systems, but this is the first time we encountered the process. At the counter, you leave your credit card info in exchange for a plastic card. Then you walk over to the row of 20 or more taps on the wall. Place your plastic card in the holder above one of the taps and draw your glass of chosen brew. The number of ounces in the draw are recorded on your card. You can taste an ounce or so, and then fill if you’d like, or pick another brew.
You can sit in the depot bar area, out front where you can hear the concert, or you can sit outside in back and watch the trains passing through. Always a sucker for watching trains, I suggested to Lynn that we choose the latter. Apparently, there is a lot of freight activity in Cheyenne on Saturday night. After we finished our glass of brew, we brought our card to the cashier and she ran it through their system, charged my credit card for the appropriate amount of beer and we were on our way.
Leaving the depot area, we started our walking tour, headed down the street that would take us to their gold-colored domed capitol building. We would learn that the State Capitol is under extensive infrastructure renovation. The multi-year project is well underway, but the views of the building were mostly blocked by construction materials and panels. About all we could see were the dome and a small section of the building front. Though we didn’t have a descriptive map of the buildings we passed on our walking tour, the gallery of images below features several interesting buildings we passed on our journey. In most browsers, you can click on an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.