17 May, 2012

Wyoming to South Dakota: Day 2

This road trip is full of surprises. And Wyoming was a big one. A really beautiful state. Also no one lives here. Well not no one but the place is the size of the United Kingdom with the population of Glasgow. So not exactly bustling. I'm not going to say I'd like to live there because I suspect that if you don't like horses  or church and you do like California (see previous post on Wyoming men and the Golden State) then you may not entirely fit in. But passing through it was wonderful.

We got up early, bought really good home-made muffins for breakfast from a local garage and started driving up up up the Big Horns - a mountain range which is a spur off the main Rocky Mountains.

Another statistic for you. The whole of Wyoming sits at over 3100 ft/945 m above sea level - which is just a bit below the height of Snowdon and above Pen Y Fan for any Welsh amongst you.

So we were starting from quite a high point and just going up.

Eventually it opened out, and we drove along a plateau before we were confronted with the mountains dropping away and the plains stretching out in front of us.

And down we went. We had brunch at a cafe in Sheridan before heading east on 90 again. The mountains were in our rear view mirror and to be honest I was sad. Sad to be leaving what was probably the most spectacular landscape of our road trip and sad to feel that there was this epic barrier between us and our friends and former home of San Francisco. And I didn't feel any closer to Wales.

The landscape wasn't dull though. Green rolling hills, horses, antelopes, small farms in the distance surrounded by trees. We passed a strip mine dramatically black against the pale grasses and saw a lot of very long trains heading to Gillette.

We turned off 90 to head towards Newcastle (named after the city upon the Tyne but not looking remotely like it), first passing through Upton "the best town on earth". Apparently they've called it that for a long time and it relates to their spirit rather than the town. As we didn't actually see any people when we drove through, I can't attest to their spirit. I can say that any visitor's first reaction must be "Really?". 

After a scenic drive through pine woodland, we arrived at Custer. Yes, the town is named for another "hero" though I've always thought him a vain fool who got his comeuppance. It is touristy in a slightly down at heel and charming way with several old for the area buildings of terracotta brick including the building we are in which was constructed in 1893. There's a lovely Italianate former courthouse now museum and a strongly built bank soon to be coffee shop proudly serving Starbucks (don't groan my San Franciscan friends, that is a huge step up). There's also a Flintstones campsite and theme park nearby. I am not sure why. 

No comments: