Thursday, September 3, 2009

Day 91 Medicine Bow National Forest Vedauwoo Campground, Wyoming

Captain’s Blog


September 1, 2009


We left the rest area this morning around 9:00 am. We can certainly make a day of a rest stop. We arrived in Laramie, Wyoming around noon and stopped at the local Wal Mart for groceries. We weren’t sure if we would spend the night at the Wal Mart or try to find a CG. They were none listed for the Laramie area so we thought Wally World would have to do.

We unhitched the Jeep and as we were preparing to leave for some sightseeing another couple in the MH next to us stopped to talk. As it turned out the man had been a North Dighton resident for most of his life. He moved to North Carolina and now he and his wife were in Wyoming trying to escape civilization. They came to the right place!!!!

They told us about a CG near the Vedauwoo’s but thought our MH was too big to get into the CG.

We left and headed to the Wyoming Territorial Prison State HistoricIMG_4380 Site IMG_4385 (WTP) a prison that has undergone a tremendous restoration process. We did a self –guided tour through the prison and were duly impressed with the work that had been done.

Built in 1872, expanded in 1889, closed in 1903, the Wyoming Territorial Prison held numerous outlaws, male and female, old and young. We walked through the processing room where background info on each inmate was gathered with a photographic record taken.

The warden’s office was furnished with the aid of an 1897 inventory of the property and the wallpaper is an exact replica of the original. IMG_4396

We toured the cells in the north wing and rooms of the guards who lived at the prison. Caged overlooks adjacent to the guards’ rooms gave a full view of the forty-two cells.

IMG_4400 IMG_4401 IMG_4412

There IMG_4388was a hospital infirmary and a special women’s area IMG_4392that contained two cells set up IMG_4389as living quarters and a third fitted as a bathroom.


The WTP is the only remaining building of its type and now stands as a monument to the history of the American West and yes Butch Cassidy was slept there.


Within the confines of the prison was a broom factory. Restoration of the broom factory was completed in May 2009. The broom factory was cool and Ron even convinced me I could ride a broom. No luck though, I couldn’t get it off the ground.IMG_4418 IMG_4423

Outside the walls of the restored prison is a Frontier Town:IMG_4434 Mercantile and Saloon. The town was recreated and is a composite of what an early town in Wyoming may have looked. The town was closed but we were able to look in the windows.

A horse barn on the property was constructed in 1910 for use of the University of Wyoming Stock Farm, later, an experimental station.

The Box Car House IMG_4382 was constructed from a leaky Union Pacific boxcar. Initially the boxcar sat inside the prison stockade and was used as a workroom. When the stock farm took over in 1903, they moved the boxcar to its present location and converted it to a home for the head sheepherder.

We then visited the warden’s homeIMG_4442 that has been completely redone. It was a very nice home by anyone’s standard and very roomy as well.

All of the buildings are in some form of renovation. It is amazing how much money is being used to restore the buildings to an almost new condition.


After completing the tour we headed to the Weedauwoo Campground to see if our MH would fit. Ron doesn’t usually like to backtrack but he likes to get caught t in small spaces even less. As it turned out the CG was in a beautiful spot among the Weedauwoo rocks and the sites were more then big enough for our rig. So we headed back to Wal Mart to collect the MH and spend the night in a great CG. It was a National Forest so once again our senior discount applied. Yeah!!!!

Weedauwoo (pronounced Vee-da-voo) is an Arapaho word meaning “earth born.” Ancient Indians believed that the magnificent rock formations in the Pole Mountains area of the Medicine Bow National Forest were created by playful spirits.IMG_4453

The area was considered a sacred place where young Indian men went on vision quests. The oddly shaped rocks form all sorts of shapes, mushrooms, balancing rocks, rounded knolls, lizards, faces, turtles – anything you might dream up. We saw Winston Churchill and Jimmy Durante as well as Snoopy and a giant shark.

The area is also teaming with rock climbers. IMG_4450 I’m not sure how they can climb those sheer walls but they do. It was amazing to sit outside our MH and be among the beautiful backdrop for the Weedauwoo.


After dinner we headed to the Ames Monument an unusual 60 foot pyramid shaped limestone behemoth. The monument stands alone on the prairie and watches over the lonely remains of the one –time rail town of Sherman. The monument was built in 1881 to honor the Ames bothers, Oliver and Oaks, who were influential leaders in the construction of the transcontinental railroad. The Union Pacific built the monument despite a scandal about the brothers and mismanagement of railroad money.IMG_4468 IMG_4464 IMG_4467

Interestingly the Ames brothers were from Easton, MA. Oaks Ames former home sits on Borderland Sate Park in Easton. (See Link)

Back at the MH we marveled again at the beautiful rock formations and also at the fact that the CG was nearly empty.



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