Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 7

9 Dec

Day 7 Tuesday 

A Slice of Life

Bill Lites

9/15/2020

This morning’s first museum there in Cheyenne was the Cheyenne Depot Museum located in the historic 1887 Union Pacific Railroad Depot.  This museum houses artifacts and memorabilia which interpret the early history of Cheyenne and the surrounding area.  The museum offers annual Steam Train Excursions and Depot Days events and is in partnership with The Old West Museum and Cheyenne Frontier Days.

Just a few blocks north of the Cheyenne Depot and Plaza I visited the Nelson Museum of the West.  This two-story building houses a huge assortment of early American cowboy, Native American and military artifacts and memorabilia from the Old West days.

I wanted to visit the Warren ICBM Museum but it is located on the Warren AFB and is closed to the public due to COVID-19.  So I just headed north US-85 toward my next museum.  About 45 miles up the road I passed thru Chugwater, WY and just had to stop for a photo of their sign.  I wonder who came up with that name?

Now it was another 25 miles north on US-85 to visit the Laramie Peak Museum located in Wheatland, WY.  This small museum is devoted to preserving the early history of Wheatland and the surrounding western prairie area with artifacts from the 1880s to the present.

On my way to Fort Laramie, WY on US-26 I went thru Guernsey, WY and stopped to see the Cliff Register & Oregon Trail Ruts.  As it turns out this State Historic Site is located just south of town and adjacent to a bend in the North Platte River.  The identification marks of many pioneers can be found on the Cliff, near the spot known as the first overnight stop west of Fort Laramie, for Oregon Trail travelers on their way to California.

At the Fort Laramie National Historic Site I learned that the fort was originally founded as a private trading post in 1834 as Fort William.  It was sold (privately) in 1841 and became the Fort John Trading post.  Then in 1849 the U.S. Army purchased it and renamed it Fort Laramie.  During the 1850s and 1860s the fort took on a more military posture, and during the Civil War the fort was used as a POW camp for captured Confederate soldiers.  Once the Transcontinental Railroad linked the country in 1869, the fort’s importance decreased until in 1890, it was decommissioned by the Army and the property was opened up to homesteaders for settlement.

Now I headed north 60 miles, thru one of the most boring stretches of road, as I passed nothing but dry brown grasslands as far as the eye could see for an hour.  I was finally rewarded when I arrived at the Stagecoach Museum located in Lusk, WY.  This museum consists of a host of authentic1800s relics and memorabilia related to the east central Wyoming area.  This includes a variety of wagons, buggies and a Black Hill Stage Line stagecoach used for the old Cheyenne to Deadwood route. There is also the 1886 Iron Clad Store and a 1800s one-room schoolhouse outside. 

Next I headed west 60 miles on US-18 to visit the Douglas Railroad Museum & Visitor Center located in Douglas, WY.  This museum is housed in the historic 1886 FE & MV Railroad Passenger Depot and displays many artifacts related to the history of the railroad in and around the Douglas area from the 1800s.  The museum also has several restored pieces of rolling stock, outside, that includes the 4-8-4 No. 5633 steam engine of the 1940s.

As I was leaving the museum area I spotted a sign for the Pioneer 1886 Cemetery and decided to check it out.  This stop wasn’t on my list but it turned out to be quite interesting, with local gravestones for many of the pioneers who founded this area in the early 1800s.

By now I was ready for something to eat and went looking for just the right restaurant for the occasion.  I found the Plains Trading Post Restaurant where I enjoyed their Spanish Ouelette with mushrooms & black olives (instead of Jalapenos) and fried onion rings. Yummm! 

The motel there in Douglas was a cool and comfortable place where I recorded the day’s activities and laid down for a good night’s rest.

—–To Be Continued—–

Bill is a retired Mechanical engineer living with his wonderful artist/writer wife, DiVoran, of 63 years in Titusville, Florida. He was born and raised in the Southwest, did a tour of duty with the U.S. Navy, attended Northrop University in Southern California and ended up working on America’s Manned Space Program for 35 years. He currently is retired and spends most of his time building and flying R/C model airplanes, traveling, writing blogs about his travels for Word Press and supporting his wife’s hobbies with framing, editing and marketing.  He also volunteers with a local church Car Care Ministry and as a tour guide at the Valiant Air Command Warbird Museum there in Titusville.  Bill has two wonderful children, two outstanding grandchildren, and a loving sister and her husband, all of whom also live in Central Florida, so he and DiVoran are rewarded by having family close to spend lots of quality time with.

One of Bill’s favorite Scriptures is:  John 10:10

3 Responses to “Mount Rushmore Road Trip Part 7”

  1. Onisha Ellis December 14, 2020 at 8:48 pm #

    A full and interesting day followed by a nice dinner.

    Like

  2. divoran09 December 11, 2020 at 4:35 pm #

    Well done!

    Like

  3. ludyja December 9, 2020 at 9:14 am #

    You would be a great traveling companion!! You know just where to go to see these kinds of things. Loving your story!

    Like

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