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how cheyenne, wyoming completely blew me away

It was just another ordinary Saturday in Colorado: I got a late start to my day after sleeping in half the morning, started running some errands around town, and went to get gas. A few weeks before, I’d realized that the Colorado/Wyoming border was only about 1.5 hours from Denver, and that Cheyenne was just a few miles over the state line. For whatever reason, while standing out in the strangely warm March sunlight pumping some gas into my trusty Honda, Wyoming popped back into my head. Was today the day to check a new state off my to-visit list?

It took me seconds to decide that YES, it most definitely was that day. The thought of finally seeing Wyoming — known for being the least populous state in the country and for having a lot of buffaloes… — sent shivers up my spine. How THRILLING! Little did I know, this short trip to the Cowboy State would change my life… possibly forever…

IMG_1655 APRIL FOOLS. Honestly, Cheyenne, Wyoming was the most boring place I’ve ever been. Truthfully — the most boring. It didn’t blow my mind in any way apart from how astonished I was at the fact that I counted exactly 14 people while walking around the city for an entire afternoon.

Fourteen.

Please allow me to list a few adjectives that actually describe the way I felt about the city:

Quiet. Dull. Unremarkable. Bland. Lifeless.

I was less than impressed. To be fair, I wasn’t exactly expecting much for Cheyenne to begin with. I knew it was a small “city” and I knew it didn’t really have much going on… but I wanted to come check it out anyway. And so I did, and it was pretty much exactly what I expected it to be.IMG_1678

If you squint, you can almost see a lonely tumbleweed rolling across the street in the distance.

There were a few things about Cheyenne that I did enjoy:

  • The architecture of the two/three story buildings — it was so “western” and unlike what I’m used to in east coast cities.
  • The Wyoming State Capitol Building was really pretty (and then I noticed it lacked both Wyoming and United States flags… I was so offended).
  • Over-sized cowboy boot statues were painted with different themes from Wyoming’s culture and placed around the city along the sidewalks and in parks. SO FUN. I love that shit.
  • Paramount Cafe was a quirky little coffee shop along the “main drag” that had delish tea & a particularly cute barista behind the counter. (Side note: Paramount Cafe started following me on Instagram after I tagged them in a photo I took that day and they have continued to sporadically like my posts months later…. #CREEPS. STILL LOVE Y’ALL THOUGH.)

IMG_1618

The un-American Wyoming State Capitol Building. Though it lacked an American flag, there was a statue of Esther Hobart Morris, who I there learned was the first female in Justice of the Peace in the United States. There’s a reason Wyoming is officially nicknamed The Equality State! #girlpower

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After a few hours wandering the streets of Cheyenne — I walked up and down almost every street eagerly searching for something interesting (to pretty much no avail) — I decided it was time to head back down south to Denver. Before getting back on the highway, though, I turned onto a long winding road that lead west into the hilly plains and figured I’d take a little drive to see where it went. It took me to Curt Gowdy State Park and allowed me to befriend a few cows. I breathed in some of that fresh western air, spent some time trying to wrap my head around the fact that I was JUST CASUALLY HANGING OUT ALONE IN RURAL WYOMING, contemplated life and some deep philosophical concepts, and then got back on the road. IMG_1707 IMG_1716 IMG_1719 IMG_1722 IMG_1727 IMG_1744 IMG_1750 IMG_1761

What’s your favorite photo from Cheyenne?

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32 Comments

  • Reply Tom Clausen

    I enjoyed your visit to Cheyenne and am always grateful to see places out west… and yes the road photos are always a joy! Thank you, Kristen!

    May 11, 2015 at 4:25 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Glad you enjoyed, I’m grateful to have been able to see Cheyenne & some the surrounding grassy lands… even if they weren’t the most invigorating places I’ve ever been! Love the west!

      May 11, 2015 at 5:05 pm
      • Reply craigtsao

        Was just in Wyoming for the first memorable time in my life last week. However, it was a work trip. Kind of. Cheyenne was where my work trip ended and it was time to take a break! Being that Cheyenne was one of the “cities” of Wyoming, I took to the back country because this is a state meant to keep like the good old wild west. Ended up hanging out in Newcastle for a couple days which is about an hours drive north of C town. Borrowed a friendly person’s mountain bike and took to the Black Hills.
        Beautiful state that Wyoming is.
        The very few people I encountered were all people I managed to chat up and get friendly with. Naturally that led to some moonshine, a lot of beer, Antelope meat, more beer, some kinds of jerky, shooting guns in someone’s “backyard”, and 4 wheeling into some more back country.

        Had a blast in Wyoming and will be going again work or not!

        May 23, 2015 at 6:17 pm
        • Reply Kristen

          Sounds like fun! I’ll be back in Wyoming next week — driving through on the way to South Dakota/Mt Rushmore/all that Black Hills goodness. Thanks for sharing your experience!

          May 23, 2015 at 6:42 pm
  • Reply Margie

    You’re such an explorer! Can’t believe you just decided on a whim to visit Wyoming! But thanks for posting the pics. Now I have seen a little bit of this state! And hey Cheyenne, put some flags up!

    May 11, 2015 at 10:27 pm
  • Reply Donna Weathers

    LOL, sometimes you have to go to a place to know you don’t need to go to that place. That’s the adventurous spirit. You never know what you’ll find! Love the blog layout!

    May 11, 2015 at 11:58 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      You can’t love everywhere! 🙂 Thanks !

      May 12, 2015 at 12:10 am
  • Reply Fred

    Hi Kristen. Thank you for liking my post, “Snow in the park.” I took the photos this past weekend in a park where I live, Cheyenne, Wyoming. I visited your blog after you liked my post as I enjoy discovering interesting bloggers, and I admire your travel aspirations. I’ve seen the world too and always like exploring new places. I came across your well-crafted post about Cheyenne and I’m sorry the city and southeast corner of Wyoming bored you (your title’s appropriate because the wind blows most days here, but I know you had a different thought in mind with the title). I won’t try to change your opinion but as one who enjoys living here and working in the Capitol complex (but who was born in and spent many years in Colorado), I’d offer a few thoughts.

    The downtown area is mostly empty on weekends but summers include lively activities in the downtown Depot Plaza (farmers market, art/music/brewers festivals, etc.) and the city is packed during Frontier Days with multiple parades, concerts, etc. (last part of July). Cheyenne has art events throughout the year (visual arts, a symphony, and more) and the 2007 “national library of the year.” As for the Capitol and state office building behind it, they’ll be undergoing a multi-year renovation beginning this summer to preserve the historic nature of the building and to modernize work spaces. I don’t know why the flags weren’t flying the day you visited but I see them flying every work day on the north and south side of the Capitol as I walk into my state office building (American, Wyoming, and POW/MIA flags). The Governor’s office follows appropriate protocol for flags and sends notices when flying at half staff to honor national, state or local citizens as appropriate. As a former Marine Corps officer having served in patriotic cities, I think Cheyenne is one of the most patriotic I’ve seen with active duty and retired air force/guard personnel serving and living here.

    Thanks for visiting our city. I won’t argue that it’s not boring and it certainly isn’t for everyone but it does have a lot to offer its residents (although my wife and I also escape to Fort Collins and Denver when we need a little more excitement). Take care, and if you visit again, maybe a trip during Frontier Days would provide a bit more excitement. Good luck with your blog and happy travels. ~Fred

    May 12, 2015 at 1:17 am
    • Reply Kristen

      Hi Fred! Thanks for your comments, and I hope you know I was being mostly facetious in this post 🙂 Every place has good parts and bad parts and I’d love to make the trip for Frontier Days and for some summer fun! Thanks for your input I really appreciate it!!!

      May 12, 2015 at 11:15 am
      • Reply Fred

        Hi Kristen. Thanks for the reply! Yes, I appreciated your facetiousness and really enjoyed your writing style and beautiful photographs. Just hoped to encourage you to visit when there’s actually something going on here (because, truthfully, much of the year is uneventful). Best regards, and happy blogging!

        May 12, 2015 at 7:45 pm
  • Reply WanderlustWad

    LOL, I was thinking, what was possibly amazing there? Only to find out it was nothing lol. I love the pics btw

    May 12, 2015 at 9:09 am
  • Reply Hannah Myer

    APRIL. FOOLS. Love it. I suppose every state has its own weird, random places. We both know PA does lol. Apparently Jackson Hole, Wyoming is pretty amazing. Nate has family there, so ya know, tryna visit someday.

    May 12, 2015 at 9:42 am
    • Reply Kristen

      LOL. Yessss I’ve heard western Wyoming is where it’s at. Planning on getting out there this September 😉

      May 12, 2015 at 11:11 am
  • Reply interstalking

    I love Wyoming! I actually have more of an appreciation for Laramie. There is a great old steakhouse there and on the way you pass the church that was in the Guns n Roses “November Rain” video. If you ever take a trip North, Thermopolis is cool, then you can go to Yellowstone and take the Beartooth pass across to Montana and check out Red Lodge. Beartooth Pass was the most amazing drive I’ve ever done.

    May 12, 2015 at 10:53 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      Hi ! Thanks for sharing all of this with me — I’ve heard great things about & am planning a trip for western Wyoming later this year. Cheyenne just didn’t do it for me 😉

      May 13, 2015 at 11:26 am
      • Reply interstalking

        Yeah, it’s boring. 🙂 No disagreement there… Wyoming is more about the open space for me.

        May 13, 2015 at 12:30 pm
  • Reply Kara Freedman

    Well, in spite of your not loving Cheyenne, it sounds like it was a worthwhile afternoon – if only because it resulted in this blog post! I wonder if there’s a certain time of day or season that Cheyenne would be more lively? Or maybe the attractions are outside of the city rather than the city itself?

    May 14, 2015 at 10:39 pm
  • Reply Shari Allyson Shepard

    Hi Kristen! I found your blog after looking through MatadorU forums and I really love it. So I have nominated your blog for the Liebster Award. Check out my post here for details on what you need to do (if you accept it) -http://whereshehaunts.com/2015/05/18/liebster-award-nomination/

    happy blogging!
    Shari

    May 18, 2015 at 9:28 pm
  • Reply Vonnie

    Haha, the coffee sign! I love mountains. Thanks for stopping by

    May 20, 2015 at 5:23 pm
  • Reply Gypsy Bev

    Liked the cowboy boots along the street. My time in Wyoming was spent in the area of the Tetons and Yellowstone, both beautiful if you enjoy nature at its finest. Keep up your spirit of adventure.

    June 1, 2015 at 4:14 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      I have a feeling western Wyoming will be a little more magical when I finally get there! 🙂

      June 1, 2015 at 4:20 pm
  • Reply Point of Interest

    We live just 45 min from Cheyenne, and we like the old architecture too. Don’t count all of Wyoming out, though. There are a lot of great parks/forests to visit! Unfortunately, the distance between noteworthy places is usually pretty far. Thanks for following us by the way!

    June 11, 2015 at 5:37 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      I visited Devil’s Tower last weekend and loved driving through Wyoming’s Black Hills! I’d love to visit Yellowstone and the western side of the state someday, too. Cheyenne just didn’t do it for me!

      June 11, 2015 at 6:39 pm
      • Reply Point of Interest

        I’m glad you saw some prettier parts of Wyoming. I just wrote a post on a few of our favorite places in WY. Check it out.

        June 11, 2015 at 9:39 pm
  • Reply Chris Kaan

    Hi there..first, thank you for following my blog..welcome!!! I am a Wyoming native and just wanted to say that living in Wyoming is a unique choice of lifestyle and state of mind. . The folks work hard..thus only seeing a few walking around Cheyenne during the day. That is pretty much true all over the state. My love for Wyo really is simply the landscape. Open sky
    and spaces..open range..and really no people. I am planning a photo expedition..really just a few days of traveling across the plains with my camera..If you explore my blog you will find many many images of wyoming..and of those..they are taken within a 50 mile radius of Cheyenne. Funny..none are of downtown Cheyenne..cause its boring just like you said…

    June 18, 2015 at 6:59 pm
    • Reply Kristen

      I have been to Devil’s Tower & the black hills in that area are beautiful! Cheyenne just didn’t do it for me 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

      June 19, 2015 at 12:14 pm
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  • Reply Luke Ache

    Cheyenne is very bland indeed. I am here in Laramie and I found it to be a lot neater than I expected.I think Wyoming is an interesting place, very unique but if you are used to bigger cities, you will not find much excitement here. I think the nature here is gorgeous but so is in Colorado.

    March 12, 2016 at 10:00 pm
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