We awoke day five of our road trip in Sidney, Nebraska, close to the Wyoming border. The weather was cold and clear and we were looking forward to a warm shower to help get us moving. Unfortunately, the shower was quite anemic in its spray and was not much help in this regard. After wondering if this was an indication of the poor water pressure of the area or Nebraskans hearty temperaments, the shower curtain offered a clue . . . it was probably an eco-friendly, water-saving measure.
The other item of note from this hotel was its valentine. The night before as we were getting ready for bed, I noticed some Hershey’s kisses wrappers on the floor. “Where did these come from?” I asked my husband. Since we had not purchased any Hershey’s kisses lately it was a total mystery. A quick check of the kids revealed, however, that wherever these had come from, my son had eaten them! A little more tidying later and the answer became apparent. They were a gift from the hotel my son had discovered.
When we pulled into our hotel the night before, my husband noted that the address was on “Cabela’s Drive.” Little did we know that a Cabela’s store was just one block away, nor did we realize that we were in the “world headquarters” location.
Naturally, we had to go shopping!
Cabela’s, of course, caters to hunters and fishermen. We expected a lot from the “world headquarters” store but sadly, it was pretty tiny. I’m not sure they even had one of their famous fish tanks. It had all the basics, though. It also seemed to have more large farming equipment, like tractors, than I recall seeing at other Cabela’s stores.
As we perused the store, it was funny to note the gendered differences in our shopping. My husband, for example, was interested to see they had a Leatherman tool designed specifically for firearms cleaning and maintenance.
The children and I had more interest in their unique Christmas decorations.
And, of course, no visit to Cabela’s is complete without a stop at the fudge counter. They have the most creative flavors of fudge, including red velvet, snickers and chocolate orange. We bought a sampler box.
Off we drove into the wilds of Wyoming.
Wyoming had been one of the concern points of our journey during the planning phases. We had been warned that winter driving in Wyoming can be especially treacherous because of Wyoming’s high winds. Combine high wind with even a little snow and you create slippery driving conditions that can overturn tractor trailers. Fortunately, we had great luck and today was sunny and clear and some of the best weather on our journey so far.
As we drove, I noted how masculine everything about the landscape in this part of the country seemed to be — cattle farming, train machinery, oil drilling. It made me wonder what women in this part of the country do.
After a while, we entered Cheyenne, Wyoming, the state capital.
We headed to our first stop, a museum exhibit on Christmas decorations and fashions through the past century. It sounded wonderful!
However, in the first scheduling mishap of our journey, it was also . . . closed!
We were at a bit of a loss since there aren’t a lot of activities to choose from in Cheyenne. We drove past the state capitol decked in a large wreath.
We passed a sign about the state museum. We looked it up on our phones and found it was open and had free admission! So, we stopped by for a visit.
The museum gave an overview of several aspects of Wyoming life, including its geology and dinosaur treasures, its Native American roots, and a history of its hunting, trapping and railroad origins. Most notably, however, the curator of this museum has a keen interest in preserving the objects of everyday life throughout time. If you like retro, vintage and antique, this is the museum for you! They had vintage typewriters, hair styling machines and vacuum cleaners among many other objects. It was an interesting point of view that the story of our lives is often told best by the objects we use on a daily basis.
There was a fascinating exhibit on saddles. It turns out that there are two general types of saddles: California-style and Plains-style. Plains-style saddles are generally more heavy duty. They have longer-square skirts to them and are strapped to the horse in two places rather than one. Plains saddles were developed for cowboys roping large cattle. The California saddles were designed for roping smaller animals and have rounded skirts to them.
I was also curious to see the exhibits about early Native American life that shed some light on how they managed their day-to-day activities. There was even some organizational history here. What did people do with all their stuff before there was a Container Store?
While I explored the exhibits, my husband watched the children children who were fascinated by a Montessori-style play area in one corner of the museum. There was a replica of a trading post, a covered wagon and even a wooden horse to ride. There were blocks to play with, costumes to dress up in and books to read.
We left the museum and made our way out of town. On the way, there were two items of note:
We spent the rest of the day driving through Wyoming’s landscape, which is an interesting blend of plains and mountains.
The western states have so much land mass they take a long time to cross. We witnessed another amazing Western sunset.
We drove on into the night toward Salt Lake.