Cheers from Cheyenne, the capitol of the least populated state! I’m sipping a gin fizz at yummy Bella Fuoco, cool and refreshing on a particularly hot day of fun.

the Governor’s Mansion

While I was craning my neck to snap this photo, a fellow tourist suggested they install a recliner for such pictures. Wouldn’t that be nice?!

Did you know there are more than twice as many cows than people in Wyoming? Amazing! Even more so when I think about how few cows I actually saw while on the roads of the Cowboy State.

If you’re a person who is strictly anti-cow grazing and eating (I certainly used to wonder), please read this article to the very end. It’s good food for thought, pun intended.

These giant cowboy boots, decorated in all manner of fabulousness, are scattered around downtown Cheyenne. So cool!

If you’re curious about Juniper’s harness looking a bit harsh, it’s actually not. It is a Halti, which, after trying all sorts of harnesses to keep her from pulling (she hurt our arms countless times and made me fall twice, OUCH!), this is absolutely the best solution. It is padded, doesn’t keep her mouth from opening like a muzzle, and she enjoys our walks just as much as when she was pulling like a maniac. Now we do, too!

More coolness is the Cowgirls of the West Museum, dedicated to the extraordinary women who helped build the West, and therefore the World!

While taking the photo of the gorgeous Ford above, a man darted down the street, shouting about Juniper, “Is that an Australian stumpy-tailed dog?” Though we’d never heard that exact moniker, we said yes. Excitedly, he said he had one inside and wondered if they should meet. And here they are! How curious to see them together, their bodies and faces so much alike!

A dandy breakfast at the R & B Breakfast Club! I came for the Elvis memorabilia and was wowed by the great food and truly amazing service.

Don’t you love the wonder of spying something magical, like a giant polyphemus moth, only to have it hop on your chest?

After your heart flutters excitedly, and you set her back on the ground, her gorgeous wings spread wide enough to reveal the full splendor of her gobsmacking beauty. Magic.

Or maybe you take a trip to your past, to the place of your greatest beginning, and all is shiny and new and only slightly recognizable? That was us this past weekend in Fort Collins. Wild and a bit jarring.

We started with cake and pie at Ginger & Baker. A nod to the maniac drummer from Cream? Or perhaps more prosaic. Regardless, our dessert before dinner was a-ok!

Fort Collins is far fancier than it was when we met thirty years ago, with flower-filled alleys, scads of fabulous murals, and a million new places to try.

Two of the old places, the Walrus and the Rio, that were new way back when are still there! Here we are with our friend Linda in 1992. We’d been dating just over a year.

Still handsome!

Early the next morning, a magical walk around Riverbend Ponds, with hawks and egrets and geese and gorgeous Black Crowned Night Herons!

“Just living is not enough,” said the butterfly, “one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.”

Hans Christian Andersen

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It rained and thundered much of the night, and we awoke to the hush of fog. Our drive to the grassland slow and deliberate, scarcely a car length ahead visible to our eyes. But it was warm, and countless unseen larks, scaled quails, and other birds sang in praise of morning. Turtles and frogs hopped along the roadside. Cows!

Then, as if it had been one shared dream, the fog lifted. We watched this hawk (a Swainson’s, I think) and another and another and another set out for breakfast, eyes steady on the plain.

The best surprise of the grasslands was learning about the canyons, places of respite for the weary bodies of my Comanche ancestors and any other body willing to make the journey. Countless more birds, and a billion insects to our party of three, all humming and buzzing, chirping and singing.

Most noticeable was the void of human sounds. We heard not one car, nor plane, nor voice, save our own, for hours, a sensation wholly magical and awe inspiring.

Then, on our roundabout drive home, we stopped at Bent’s Old Fort, a meticulously detailed recreation of the original. How fascinating to gain a clear glimpse of life in this place, some 180 years distant.

A banana cupcake with banana frosting, part of a set made Monday. A very fine end…

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Saturday morning, sipping our coffee, I got an idea. I’d been wanting to visit the Comanche National Grassland for some time, but being in one of the most remote regions of southeastern Colorado, it isn’t exactly on the way anywhere.

So, I began to think aloud with the hubster. Why not just head there, TODAY? Sleep in the car? It might be extra cozy, but the three of us could most certainly fit. Yeah, yeah. But where exactly would we park the car to sleep? We checked the map. What’s nearby? Springfield. Hmmmm. And then Greg is on the phone with the kindly fella at the Crawford Motel. There is a room! Dog friendly. Alright, already. Let’s shower and go, go, go!

It was a glorious drive of long views, windmills and turbines, grain elevators. Clouds. Sunflowers. Every splendor of the beautifully flat half of my native state.

Springfield was quiet, and the park was within eye-shot of the motel, complete with nesting vultures, at least twenty-six tucking in for the night.

Oh, and Watson’s BBQ in Eads, well worth a stop and stretch of the legs!

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