My friend Anne asked me if I wanted to go hiking in Colorado on Saturday, and I asked her if she wanted to go to Wyoming. I figured a day trip to Cheyenne would be a nice change of perspective for two jersey girls, being that WY is the second least densely populated of the 50 states and NJ is the most densely populated state. I certainly got what I was looking for.
We left Denver about 12:30 PM and headed north on I-25, with no address typed into any GPS. I had done a quick Google search before we embarked and wrote down a few points of interest, and I suggested we head to the 8 ft cowboy boots in historic downtown Cheyenne, the capitol city. I had an address for the boots, but as we neared the city exit off the interstate, it became apparent we still did not need to use a GPS. We simply exited the highway and headed east toward the dome of the capitol building, which at 146 ft was the most prominent structure of the Cheyenne skyline.
We passed through a quaint, quiet neighborhood which felt more like a small town than a city, and then had no trouble finding parking in front of the capitol building. It’s a very lovely building, built in 1887, complete with a dome and statues of important figures in Wyoming history.
There was one of those “You Are Here” maps near the capitol building and it turned out we were only a few blocks from the 8 ft cowboy boots, so we moved the car down the road and prepared for our big day out on the town.
Downtown Cheyenne was not too happening. There were a few blocks to walk around and we checked out some of the stores. Most of the stores had a run-down, poorly-funded vibe to them, and the people working in each shop were very unique.
We popped in a Halloween store and were greeted by a man in his sixties who was wearing some sort of wizard costume and eye liner. As we walked out of the store empty handed he said, “Thank you for coming in,” and it was one of the most sincere comments I have ever heard anyone make. I truly believed he was thrilled to see the likes of us, unlike the shop owner of the fossil, gem and jewelry store we went in.
When we walked in that store, a man in cowboy boots, wrangler jeans and turquoise jewelry came out from the back room and was clearly annoyed to have guests. We poked around for a couple minutes, but all he said was that he was “fixin’ to have lunch in the back.” I tried to ask him if he made the jewelry in the store and he replied with a curt, “Yea.” I asked if he goes to the Denver Gem and Mineral Show and received another one-word affirmation. At that I bid him a good day and we carried on.
We went in a flea market store and each picked out a small trinket as a souvenir. This store had a ton of wolf and native American decor. The employee in that store was more friendly, and there were actually a few other people inside browsing at the same time.
The record store was the most happening; there was music playing, there was a board of upcoming releases, there were two sales in a row (a mom bought her high school daughter a record and Anne bought the new Primus CD), and the employee was pricing items still to hit the shelves.
We made one last stop in a store called The Wrangler, which sold really cute Western wear and had a huge variety of cowboy and cowgirl boots in stock. There was a nice gal of about 23-years-old who was eight months pregnant working, and she said the store is very well known. They receive shipments of boots in Monday-Friday and sell them to locals, residents of neighboring towns and tourists seven days/week. I couldn’t even believe the amount of boots they had in stock. Never in all my life had I seen such an inventory. I asked the girl how many boots they sell a day, but she didn’t know. I tried a few pairs on for the heck of it; after all, “When in Cheyenne…”
After all that shopping we arrived at the 8 ft cowboy boots, which I think you can say was in the town center.
We were hungry, and from that exact spot I was under the impression we could see all of our restaurant options by turning around 360 degrees. There was Shadow’s Pub and Grill, Los Abuelos Mexican food, an unattractive bar called The Albany that advertised food, drink and discount liquor, or the place we had parked across the street from, The Drunken Skunk, which I’m not even sure had food.
We opted for Shadows Pub and Grill and found their bar to have a decent Sunday football crowd; probably the most exciting thing going on in the city. One of the bartenders was wearing a Wyoming Cowboys jersey and I got to thinking that I don’t know anyone who is a fan of that team. Anne and I both ordered chicken sandwiches with sweet potato fries, and agreed that they were some of the worst sweet potato fries we’d ever had.
By the time we got done eating we had to move the car out of two-hour parking, and we decided we’d seen all there was to see in Cheyenne, Wyoming. We hopped back on the highway and headed south toward Denver, with a pit stop in Fort Collins, CO (which has got to be bigger than Cheyenne) for ice cream at Ben and Jerry’s.
And so, that was that, if anyone ever asks, I can officially say I have spent some time in Cheyenne, Wyoming. Just two jersey girls who had lunch in the Equality State.
Did you know that in 1869 Wyoming was the first government in the world to grant equal rights to women?