Why Wyoming?

Wyoming is one of the nicest states we have visited this summer. Why you say? It has lovely rolling hills, and with the heavy rains this spring the landscape is still green, not having faded to the usual dull gold of this dry region. While we were there the weather was mostly sunny and mild. And of course, Yellowstone National Park is in Wyoming, but more on that later.

Beautiful hills of Wyoming.

There is a feeling of prosperity in this state, so it did not surprise us to learn that the energy industry is thriving here. Wyoming has the largest coal deposits in the USA, and oil rigs and giant windmills dot the landscape here and there.

Open pit coal mining operation seen from Hwy. 16. Look how rich the deposit of black coal is! They just have to shovel it out of the ground.

We left Devils Tower in the northeast corner of the state and travelled west through Gillette, where we stopped for groceries at Albertsons and were really impressed. Lots of fresh meats and produce, although a bit pricey. I selected two fresh wild halibut filets for our supper and didn’t notice until we left the store that they cost a whopping $26. Oh well…

The Indian Campground in Buffalo was our home for the next two nights and it is a wonderful shady place with huge cottonwood trees and large pull through sites. The campground store had an excellent selection of native southwestern jewellery that I managed to resist. After a walk towards downtown we grilled the fish on the BBQ and finally opened the bottle of champagne that had been in our fridge since we left home. The bubbly was to celebrate our first big voyage in our new Earthbound trailer. Brownies and ice cream finished off the delicious meal that we ate on the picnic table at our site.

That evening we walked around the campground and struck up a conversation with a couple who were camping in a motor coach and towing a Jeep with a kayak strapped to the roof. Turns out they are full time RVers on their way from Florida to Alaska this summer. We always enjoy meeting full-timers as they are well travelled, have interesting stories to tell and are full of helpful tips on RVing. Little did we suspect this couple would become good friends with us later on…

The next day we walked all the way downtown to visit the Sports Lure, which takes up 3 or 4 old storefronts in the historic section. Apparently fly fishing, hunting, kayaking and hiking are popular here in the mountains and this store had all the equipment you could ask for. I finally found hiking pants to fit me (the kind where the legs zip off to make the pants into shorts).

There was a fast creek running through the old downtown and on the bridge we saw a water level marker. It measured each foot up to 8 and instead of the 9 foot mark (which would have been over street level) it said “RUN!”. The water was only at the 2 foot mark but we saw sandbags on the sidewalks in front of some stores near the bridge so apparently there was a flood watch of some kind.

We discovered a hiking trail that ran from downtown Buffalo along the river to near our campground. You can see the water is moving fast. No chance of us kayaking here I can assure you!

That evening we drove north a half hour to Sheridan for their monthly street festival. There was the usual array of sidewalk sale merchandise, booths from various businesses and charities, and two live music stages. One had a folk singer and the other had a country/rock band, both of which were quite good. We bought ‘chicken fried steak’ sandwiches from an outdoor food vendor and they were delicious. They are very close to schnitzel in our terminology. As we left the festival to drive back to Buffalo, it started to rain. Nice planning, JFR Tours!

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