"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Monday, April 29, 2019

Waiting Out a Snow Storm and Visiting a Prison - Rawlins & Cheyenne, WY

Rawlins, Wyoming
Western Hills Campground

Geez, Ol' Man Winter has been playing tricks on us since we left Arizona!  We were going to head to Laramie on a 4 hour drive, but once again another storm is coming and calling for heavy snow and winds along I80.  With some rerouting, we made the 2 hour drive to Rawlins and chose a private park with hookups.  With our Good Sam discount we got full hookups for $25.  Well, the water was off so it was really just electric.  Very nice to have electric when it's supposed to be hovering just above zero with the windchill.
 It was already starting to flurry when we got there.
 Just a gravel lot style park, but ok for the two nights we'd be here.
 We had plenty of groceries, water in the fresh tank and 50 amp electric baby.  It's all good.
Oh and Hoss was happy too having the engine block heater plugged in.  Not that we were going anywhere the next day, but diesel engines don't like to be cold either.
I know this says Laramie, but we're not far and it's the same weather all around here.

 All settled in and it continues to snow.  We're cozy though.
 And we wake up in the morning to a couple inches.

It snows off and on the next day too.  We waited until after lunch to leave for Laramie so the roads had plenty of time to dry.  Good thing we waited to go to Laramie as they closed I80 just after we arrived here in Rawlins.  High winds over 60 mph and blowing snow. 
 As we leave it starts to snow lightly at the pass.  We drive by a turned over 18-wheeler.
 What's that ahead?  Some blue skies!
Once in Laramie we stopped at the Wyoming Territorial Prison.  We've been to a few of these in other states and they are always interesting.  There was one in Rawlins but the snow kept us from visiting that one.

Steve LOVES Western shows and we watch a lot of Laramie.  A funny side note, not one episode was filmed here! The dark haired guy (Jess) has come here for a festival though. Women have traveled from around the world to see him.

The beautiful stone building was built as a Federal Prison (1872-1890). Later it became Wyoming’s State Penitentiary (1890-1903). During the 30 years it was in operation, 1,063 convicts were housed here.  The Auburn Prison System was adopted to manage the prison population. Under this system convicts were sentenced to hard labor, required to be silent at all times, wear black and white striped uniforms, and their identities removed by replacing their names with numbers.

They did an amazing job cleaning up and restoring the prison and grounds after it was abandoned for years.
 There are two wings, each with three levels of cells in the middle. Two prisoners to a cell.
 Tiny cells. There is a guard lookout in each corner.

My favorite part was the Broom Building.  They had the prisoners make brooms. 

It looked so warm and inviting.  I liked the smell of wood and hay.  I'm sure it was very hot in here though back then and not a fun experience.  Better than chopping rocks all day though.



 There were also some very talented furniture makers.

See his initials in the center?

 The detail is so amazing and intricate.  

 Hmm, maybe a Hurley coat in my future? (just kidding!)

The barn with some antique farming equipment and buggies. Careful the icicles don't get you! 

St. Mary's of the Plains church

 My favorite was the tile floor in the back room that at first looked like a rug.  
There were some outbuildings moved to the area that were spread around town.  Here are some old cattle ranch brands.

 Interesting advertising.
 And then there's this guy.
There is an entire display just for Butch Cassidy and his gang. Steve just loves this stuff.  We've been to many sites where outlaws lived, robbed and are buried over the years. One of the best displays of Butch Cassidy we've seen.
 Like Butch, we loved the town of Lander.

Butch was born in Beaver, UT.  We just drove passed his old home while we were camping with Lee & Trace and Greg and Corey.

 I like the timeline maps they had up.  It showed all the bank and train robberies.

Nobody really knows when or how Butch Cassidy died or where he was buried.
"It's possible that the bodies of the iconic desperados remain buried elsewhere in the San Vicente cemetery or even outside of its walls. Without any conclusive proof of the whereabouts of the bodies of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, however, their ultimate fate remains a mystery."
--according to the web.
We enjoyed our short time in Laramie.  While at the Prison, the nice ex-police officer let us drive into the back and fill our fresh water.  They do have a dump station there that we used but the water was still off due to freezing conditions.