June 27 we left Moab and the 105 degree heat for Laramie Wyoming to see Alison and Bob. We booked it through Colorado in one day – not necessarily recommended – thinking we’d see more of it on the way back through on our way to Texas and Rebecca’s mum.
Although they had yet to even spend one night there, Alison and Bob graciously invited us to “break in” their brand new house for them.
Laramie area is beautiful we took several great hikes…
… and did some Letterboxing.
If you’ve done Letterboxing before you’ll know it’s a fun (and cheap) thing to do with the kids and it often gets you a little off the beaten path. If you don’t know what it is then I can’t tell you about it because, akin to the movie Fight Club, the first rule of Letterboxing is you don’t talk about Letterboxing and if you do talk about it, it can only be to your imaginary Brad Pitt self. Geocaching is a completely different thing and Letterboxers and Geocachers tend to eye each other with suspicion in the quest to be the coolest activity involving finding shit hidden in tupperware.
Vedauwoo is a recreation area just east of Laramie, popular with climbers. The granite outcroppings have been weathered smooth over time creating huge lumps and folds, and leaving unbelievably massive boulders impossibly balanced or held in check by other impossibly balanced, unbelievably massive boulders. It’s difficult to get the scale of it from photos but it’s a pretty awesome sight, surrounded by very pleasant greenery and nice trails. So while you meander along thinking thoughts you can glance wistfully skyward at the guy 200 ft up dangling around on a piece of nylon and be content that this duality of existence is mirrored in the landscape around you: a place for everything and everything in it’s place.
Arghhh hail! We’d just got back from grocery shopping and were stuffing things into the RV’s fridge when we heard a strange roaring sound, followed a minute later by ice cubes of death. We’d been having pretty cool storms almost every day in the afternoons but this one had a little extra kick to it. All the plastic stuff on the RV roof was destroyed within seconds and we spent the next few minutes trying to get bowls underneath the now rather airy skylights. Unfortunately, Alison had lent us her car to get around in during our stay, which I swear to god we diligently parked in the garage as soon as we got home every time we used it, apart from this fateful 5 minutes when transferring groceries from it to the RV. So the car took a hit and now has a pleasing hammered appearance rather like those copper kitchen sinks that homeowners insist on installing in their kitchens in a misguided attempt at “Tuscan”. Well now Alison has a Tuscan looking Subaru Forester. Sorry Alison.
The Wyoming Territorial Prison State Historic Site is well worth a visit. The prison itself has undergone an excellent historic restoration with the added bonus that the interior prison space has all the design elements we happen to love: high white plaster walls, tall grey-framed divided light widows, large black and white photos of the faces of prisoners staring out at you from 130 years ago. It has a monastic feel plus a little “Dwell”ish urban chic. I’m sure the prisoners were thrilled to be so ahead of the zeitgeist. Actually, although the written rules governing the behavior of prisoners and the liberties, or lack thereof accorded them, were very punitive, there seems to have been a strong emphasis on rehabilitation, somewhat contrary to our view (or at least my view) of prisons back then. Most prisoners (more than half of those who’s case studies were on display) ended up being pardoned or forgiven the remainder of their sentence, often for surprisingly compassionate reasons such as the illness of a relative or good behavior. Often it seems they were pardoned even if they had made an attempted escape at some time. Butch Cassidy himself was released early after 18 months of his 2 year sentence in the hopes that his model behavior while inside the joint would continue after his release. Unfortunately, things really started cooking for Butch after Wyoming prison.
Well in the end we had to leave Laramie and Bob’s marvelous cooking and Alison’s unstinting generosity. Thanks guys, it was great, especially after our exhilarating but somewhat-lacking-in-bathing-opportunities two weeks in the desert. We would have loved to have seen more of Wyoming, particularly of course Yellowstone but we needed to head for Texas in the absurdly misguided hope of getting there before it got really hot. We left, inexplicably on July 3rd, not sure why we couldn’t stay for the 4th, apparently we had ants in our pants; unpatriotic ones.
As it happens we had an unexpectedly great 4th in Colorado but more on that next time…..