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  • J.F. Rowan

"Curt, are you seeing this?"

Well, I think we've had enough of that experience with Colorado, right?

On to Wyoming.

I saw on the Wyoming map there was a Wyoming state park named after one of my favorite people, Curt Gowdy. "So, let's go there!" A long drive perhaps, but it is easy to eat-up the miles when there's no traffic, and the roads are in good condition. Well, some of the roads anyway.

Entering Curt Gowdy State Park.

Curt Gowdy State Park

Okay, another set of bullet statements to sum this part up:

-We checked in at the visitors center and were told half the sites were on their reservation system, and those sites were all full.

-The other half of the sites (about 60) were first come first serve (also known as "walk up" sites), and they, the folks running the otherwise informative visitors center, said they had NO CLUE as to how many sites of those were still available. Like a dog not quite understanding whats being asked of him, I tilted my head slightly, "Wait, what? You don't know what sites are filled?" The lady behind the desk looked up at me, "Nope."

A bit hard to explain, but I was getting the sense we were still in Colorado.

"But you're welcome to drive through the park and see what's available." she said.

-As it turns out, after driving around the park for just over an hour, no sites were available. None. Zip. Zilch. Nada.

-I exited the park through the rear entrance and informed the gatekeeper there, that in fact the park was indeed full. "NOW, you know." I said, “You might want to let everyone else that should know as well, so that others don't have to waste their time looking like we did.” She smiled and waved as we left.

-Yes, it could be said that after driving an hour on a wash-board park road I was slightly cranky. But if I wasn’t, the road outside the park certainly made sure of it. Who knew the back exit would be 8 miles of more wash board.

So, we try and take in the beauty that’s around us as we cool down, all the while heading west. I turn to my wife,

"How much Tequila is left?" She smiled.

We make a quick stop at a rest area and I meet a pretty cool character from Canada that’s in the states for a car show. He owned a version of a car that I had when I was a kid. A 68’ Beaumont (mine was a 69 Chevelle).

Pretty car and a great restoration though not entirely original.

We moved further on down the road to a town called Chugwater (WY). We stopped off at a neat little place called the Stampede Saloon & Eatery.

The man who owned this fine establishment, walked around and talked to just about everyone. When he stopped off at our table and he heard I was a military aviation fan of WW I and WW II, boy did he let loose on me. He brought over a mitt full of old magazines and newspapers for me to read. Then when he found out I liked Big Band music, he practically jumped for joy. Turns out he collected over 3000 songs from the 30's and 40's and made up his own CD collection that he sold at the restaurant. And, he brought the collection over to our table for me to look through.

If I could have gotten by our "budget" person, I would have sprung the $100 for the collection, but at the mention of it, I got a good dose of hairy eyeball, so the subject was quickly dropped.

Stopped off at this fine establishment for some old home-style cooking, in buffet form.

Not many restaurants have their own vintage local newspapers and magazine collection to peruse. I could have sat there for over an hour. We were supposed to look at our map and do some planning. Not much map work got done.

Collection of almost 3000 songs collected over the years from the 30's and 40's. I read almost every title. Lots of great singers and bands! $100, and it's yours!

Some of the best moments we experience are rarely planned. They just happen.

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