The Two Cheyennes

Posted: September 23, 2013 in Random Thoughts
Tags: , , , , , , , ,
Capitol Ave

Capitol Avenue View from the Railroad Depot

Last week, I spent most of my time working in Cheyenne Wyoming.

I flew into Denver the morning after torrential rains fell on the area.  Denver and some cities north were under flash flood warnings.  I drove on some streets with a little standing water, but made it to the little town of Wheatland, Wyoming for my first job.  It rained the whole way.  The next morning at breakfast, I heard the Big Thompson River had overrun !-25 and the interstate was closed south of Cheyenne.  Good thing I’d made it north of Cheyenne.  The drive to Cheyenne was uneventful, though it rained the whole time.  Just to let you know, I spent five days in Cheyenne, and it rained until the fifth day, when the sun finally came out.  While I was there, the flooding in Colorado had closed three highways leading back to Denver and flash flood warnings eventually were declared for areas around Cheyenne.

The reason I called this blog entry The Two Cheyennes is because of the differences in character between the southwestern (including downtown) and the northeastern sides.  Southwest Cheyenne was the historical part, with old houses, old motels and hotels and local restaurants giving the area character.  Northeast Cheyenne was like anywhere else in the country — big box stores and chain restaurants.  When I wanted a place to stay or eat, I kept to the southwest side.  When I needed to stock up on pop (Walmart) or mail a package (Office Depot), I went to the northeast side.

I had some free time on Sunday, so I did some sightseeing, ending up at Capitol Avenue, having the city’s historic railroad depot on one end and the state capitol on the other.  While I was downtown, I came across the Capitol Grille, in the Plains Hotel, which was a block away from the train depot.  The Capitol Grille served the best food I’d eaten while in Cheyenne (and I’d had some good food).  I walked into the hotel lobby and talked with the desk clerk.  I learned a little about the history of the hotel and more importantly, the room rates were about $40 cheaper than at the Holiday Inn Express where I’d been staying.  Well, when my work in Cheyenne was extended another day, I decided to spend the night at the Plains Hotel and had dinner again at the Capitol Grille.  After dinner, I stepped outside for a short walk, which ended up across the street at an old movie palace.  I decided to see The Lone Ranger and find out if it really was as bad as the critics said.  I thought the movie was better than they let on….  So, next time I find myself in Cheyenne, I know where I’ll be staying at and eating, right from the start.

The last day of my trip, I drove east into Nebraska, then south into northwest Kansas.  By then, there were flood warnings for cities along the South Platte River in Nebraska.  The river flows through Denver and northwest to Nebraska, catching all the water dumped on Colorado that week.  When I crossed the river, Highway Patrol and bridge engineers were inspecting the bridge, making sure it was still safe.  The river was flowing just a couple of feet below the pavement.  I’m glad I got across, because it afforded me the way to get back to Denver.  After finishing work in Kansas, I was able to drive back to Denver without crossing high water or using damaged roads.  I got lucky.

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