Range Roaming – Wyoming 2013 – Day 91

Of meth labs and politicians: Cheyenne to Cheyenne

Sunday July 14, 2013

Morning brings grey skies and cool temperatures to Cheyenne. My CSU friend heads home but we’re planning to meet up again in Laramie if all goes well. He offers me a lift if I need to go anywhere, but I decline.

A bit later I head out to see the town and stock up on groceries. If there is a nice part of Cheyenne, I never find it. The downtown has had a facelift, and there are some restaurants and nice sculptures, particularly as you near the state capitol building. But this decent downtown core is surrounded by scummy areas.

I notice a huge poster on the side of one of the old Hwy 30 motels that is a public health ad for meth. It has a big helpline number at the bottom. One of the ‘newer’ 1970s motels, which used to be THE place to stay in the 70s and 80s, is missing its front building and lounge, and is so run-down it makes me feel sad for what has passed. Apparently, the owner hired someone to torch the place a few years ago for insurance money. It has only recently reopened. It looks pretty scary. It is sad to see those old motels with their artistic neon signs in such disrepair.

To the south of downtown I ride on an incredibly busy road through more scummy areas to get to a supermarket. I am really quite nervous about leaving my bike locked up out here. I shop for three days of food in the greatest hurry you’ve ever seen.

On the way back toward downtown, it starts to mist. I lose all interest in trying to find the ‘good’ part of Cheyenne or something cultural. I just want to go back to the hotel and forget about Cheyenne. This town only has 53,000 people (largest city in WY, Casper is a close second at 49,000) but it feels like a big city with big city problems.

Downtown Wyoming has had a facelift in places and seems to have some restaurants and shops. This western store next to the train depot is sort of iconic. Too bad the downtown core is surrounded by really scummy areas. I was uncomfortable with the way several guys looked at me as I rode by the old motels on Hwy 30, and I was scared leaving my bike locked outside the supermarket here. Don’t know that I’d ever go back to this town.
For just a moment, the age and architecture of the buildings, as well as the train depot and street orientation give me a flashback to being on Flinders St in Melbourne near the train station. I realise I’ve been away for about 4 months and that it will be nice to get ‘home’ to Oz when the six month trip is finished.


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