top of page

Are we there yet?

We love discovering off-the-beaten-path places across the country. While our journeys are labors of love, there's no question we get weary of the road from time to time. Rorie's well known for her tee shirts and the one she's wearing today tells that story well.

We left early, real early, to make tracks for Cheyenne, Wyoming. We needed to fuel up (petrol for the car and caffeine for us) and found the perfect small town to fill our tanks: Lovelock, NV (population 1,8554). Lovelock's motto is "Lock Your Love in Lovelock". Could the motto possibly be because the town is named after the nearby men's prison? Asking for a friend!

The Lovelock's Central Pacific Railroad Depot was built in1880. It was a regular stop for transcontinental train traffic and provided service up until 1997.

As Willie Nelson said, we were "on the road again". One of the really iconic images we saw driving through the state were these fences. At first we thought they must be to contain livestock, but quickly realized the fences were open (aren't we sharp). It turns out these are "snow fences" designed to limit drifting snow on the highways. Wyoming has over 400 miles of snow fences. Moving on down the road, we hit another mileage milestone...

With so many open road miles behind us, and more ahead, we always keep our eyes on the gas tank. Even driving a hybrid vehicle, we know we don't want to go too far without stopping for a fill-up.

We got petrol at the last "outpost" going east, before arriving in Cheyenne: Winnemucca (population 8,060).

It seemed a little weird to us that there was so much focus on gambling out here, especially when it felt like we were in the middle of nowhere. And for such a small town, 7 casinos seemed like a lot. There was more to Winnemucca than met the eye at first.

Bart wished we had more time to "investigate" the town, which has a "rich" (and sometimes scandalous) history. Basque immigrants worked as sheep-herders here starting in the 1800s, and Winnemucca holds an annual Basque Festival in their honor. Our buddy Butch Cassidy and his gang (remember him from that federal penitentiary we visited before?) got away with a big haul in 1900, when they robbed the First National Bank of Winnemucca of more than $30,000. Winnemucca still has a brothel we were told..., and is home to the Buckaroo Hall of Fame and Heritage Museum. What's a Buckeroo you might ask? It refers to a cowboy and/or working ranchman and inductees into this hall of fame are known for their skills related to the Buckaroo lifestyle.

Onward and Cheyenne. Sportscaster Curt Gowdy and gunfighter/lawman Will Bill Hickok were from here. Unbeknownst to us (no shaming please), Cheyenne is the state's largest city (approximately 60,000 population) and is Wyoming's capital. Cheyenne is the perfect example of "build it and they will come". The town sprang up because the Union Pacific Railroad decided to expand to the area in 1867 as a major depot for the cattle industry. By 1885 Cheyenne was considered to be the "richest city in the world per capita" and the new cattle barons ruled the roost.

To see the real, old time Cheyenne, we headed to the 7 block historic district of town. How cool.

The Lincoln theater was "born" in 1928 and was built to showcase live acting. Now a venue for music acts, the theater has hosted more than two million people, including Ronald Reagan and many of Hollywood's biggest stars.

Bart has been on the hunt for a buffalo burger and finally found it in a cool little eatery called Two Doors Down. It's two doors down from the other restaurant they own, hence the name.

No, the buffalo burger didn't taste like chicken, but it did have a striking resemblance to regular old hamburger. And, the fries were bottomless and amazing (unfortunately).

After filling our bellies, Bart wanted to check out Wyoming's capital building.

NOTE: Bart spent years in Washington, DC advocating for smaller localities - 12,000 of them - as the CEO of the National Association of Towns and Townships. Much of his time was spent on Capitol Hill.

Later he was appointed Executive Director of the Council of Small Towns in Connecticut. No offense to folks in Wyoming, but the Nation's Capital and the Connecticut State Capital buildings are way more impressive in his opinion. Just sayin...(beauty is on the eye of the beholder).

Well, enough for bragging rights. Time to head back to our evening hacienda for a good night's sleep before we head out to Papillion, Nebraska for more small town discoveries...

bottom of page