The drive from Carhenge (Alliance, Nebraska) to Cheyenne, Wyoming is just under three hours on back roads. But we’d been unable to find a hotel room, since we were arriving during the height of the Cheyenne Frontier Days festival.
On our drive west, we’d also made stops at Chimney Rock and Scott’s Bluff National Monuments, to see two impressive natural landmarks used for centuries by Native Americans and western pioneers. Each was worth the stop, with excellent guides and explanatory films.
Chimney Rock is mentioned in over 300 pioneer journals from the early 1800s, by travelers on the Oregon Trail and other routes west.
By the time we arrived at our bed and breakfast in Laramie (another hour away), Mr. H. in particular, was exhausted.
We turned in at a large stone slab carved with the words “Vista de la Luna” and drove a pitch black gravel road for what seemed miles. Finally we arrived and were shown into the Indian Paintbrush room, where Mr. H. collapsed.
The room and bathroom were huge and comfortable. The property sits on 72 pristine acres of Wyoming flatland. The owners, Lynn and Paul Montoya, were excellent hosts who’d thought through every detail of our stay, even including a pair of binoculars in our room.
The next morning, after a shower and a tasty breakfast, we were able to watch a herd of pronghorn on the plains just outside our door.
Then it was off to explore Cheyenne Frontier Days, dubbed the “daddy of them all”.
Happening again this week (July 23 through August 1, 2021), this ten-day celebration of Western culture is a festival unlike any other.
A parade of marching bands and horse-drawn vehicles takes place on several mornings. The USAF Thunderbirds blaze across the blue Wyoming sky. There’s a cowboy church and a chuckwagon cookoff.
We visited during a light rain which meant muddy riding events and muddy riders. The riders are legendary and attract adoring fans after each event.
Onsite, there is an Indian village, a Fiesta village and an Old Frontier Town, as well as multiple saloons, a garden and a western art museum.
As the sun began to sink over Cheyenne, it was off to the midway, for carnival rides, cotton candy and games of chance. As a kid I’d loved the shooting games and the funnel cakes, so of course I had to indulge. Mr. H. won a giant Pink Panther which we handed off to a surprised family with kids after a few minutes.
After a full day and night, we headed back to Vista de la Luna. I filled the giant soaking tub and lit the candles hanging on the plaster wall. At home, a bath and a scented candle are my favorite ways to unwind. I particularly love our SmithHönig Dhanya candle, with its notes of cedar, cilantro and citrus.
Join us next Thursday as we continue our 19,000 mile road trip, headed toward Colorado.