It’s less than an hour’s drive east on the I-80 to reach Cheyenne from Laramie. But after climbing steeply out of Laramie to the Lincoln Monument (at 8,640 feet the highest point on this interstate), it’s well worth taking the quiet, parallel Highway 210 (Happy Jack Road). It traverses high rangeland dotted with fantastic red Sherman granite boulders, an area known as Vedauwoo (vi-de-vu) and frequented by climbers. Just beyond are a couple of high-plains lakes in Curt Gowdy State Park, named after the famous sportscaster.
Cheyenne is by far the biggest city in Wyoming (the Air Force base helps), it’s the state capital and it boasts a major rodeo during its Frontier Days. So, to the victor goes the spoils, at least architecturally speaking. The wide downtown streets are nicer, the historic buildings better maintained and the surrounding residential streets more prosperous than, say, nearby Laramie. It’s worth getting a brochure at the downtown visitor centre and tracking down some or all of the 19 eight-foot-high cowboy boots, creatively painted by local artists and scattered around town. The city’s culinary choices may not be quite as inspired, but there are a few places definitely worth seeking out.