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“Freedom Has A Birthday”

July 13, 2013

Wyoming – Thursday, July 4

Since we ended up in Cheyenne last night, that’s where we started our walking for the day. Cheyenne is the capital of Wyoming, and we walked 2 1/2 miles all around the Capitol area admiring the buildings and statues – the Capitol Complex is a little ways away from the downtown area, so we also walked through some neighborhoods. Then Tula waited in the car while I walked another mile and a half downtown. There’s definitely a western feel to the town – big brick hotels and buildings that were built in the 1880s and 1890s, and shops advertising western wear and cowboy boots and all. There’s over-sized cowboy boot sculptures throughout town that are elaborately painted. And it sounded like some sort of religious event was going on in front of the train station.

Once I had finished those 4 miles, I headed for Laramie. On the way there, I went through the Medicine Bow National Forest, which was full of bizarre rock formations. Little rocks were oddly balanced on big ones, and the edges were all rounded, and almost soft-looking, and it was different than anything I’d seen. Anyway, I had talked to the visitor’s bureaus for Cheyenne, Laramie and Cody to see which city might have the most interesting 4th of July events. They all were going to be setting off fireworks in the evening, but only Laramie had an event during the day, which was an outdoor festival in their park called Freedom Has a Birthday. (Cheyenne’s big summer event is Frontier Days, so that’s why their 4th of July was a little quiet.) It was a beautiful summer day and the park was full of people out enjoying different music groups in the band shell (I think all towns should have big parks and band shells!), kids’ games and activities, all kinds of food vendors and informational booths. Everything was decorated patriotically, and there were free ice cream cones and free sno-cones (I saw the ice cream before I saw the sno-cones, and Tula enjoyed part of my cone.) Different groups were selling food as fundraisers, and other booths were more just informational. I decided that with such an array of donation possibilities that I would do 2 today, but I had to walk around for a while to see everything, and think about where I wanted the donations to go. Because it’s a patriotic day to celebrate freedom, I decided the first donation would go to the American Legion. Their booth had a bunch of flags by it, and everyone was wearing red, white and blue clothes, and I went over to talk to them about a possible donation. They said they were collecting contributions for Operation Comfort Warriors, which is a program to help supply recreational goods for wounded or ill warriors. So that was a fun donation to start my Wyoming week with.

And then, while looking around at all the food options (and finding it hard to resist barbeque choices!) I saw a fundraising sign for LLVVFD – Little Laramie Valley Volunteer Fire Department. And they had just cut all their prices in half since the afternoon was beginning to wind down. So I went to get a plate of ribs and talked to the lady serving the food. She said an extra donation would be amazing – as a volunteer unit in a rural setting, they need all the support they can get. In fact, a call had just come in about a structural fire, and they were waiting to find out if they were going to get called out on that one. And I had just been thinking last week that I wanted to make a donation to a fire department. So that was my next choice for the day. They were happy for the donation, and she gave me so much BBQ that even I couldn’t eat it all! Several of them offered to give bones to Tula, but she would just crunch them up so I had to say no, but she was finding enough little tidbits under their table anyway.

I also got some fresh kettle corn for a post-fireworks snack later – the guys making the kettle corn were literally selling it as fast as they could make it – it was a popular booth. So it was a fun afternoon. I had made a reservation at a motel just outside of town, since I didn’t really want to be camping on the 4th, so I checked in and took a short break, then Tula and I headed into the actual town of Laramie to do another 3 miles of walking. Laramie is home to the University of Wyoming, so we walked around town and the UW campus and in a couple neighborhoods, and finished the walking for the day. I headed back to the motel for a little more computer work, and then when it was getting dark, I headed back into town to find a spot to watch the fireworks, which were supposed to start around 10. I saw some people in a parking lot with lawn chairs out, and wasn’t overly crowded, so that’s where I stopped. It ended up being a great place – not overly crowded, and easy to get back out onto the streets after the show. It was a good fireworks display – about 20-25 minutes, and very colorful and noisy. Tula just stayed in the van with the windows up since it was cool enough, and she typically isn’t bothered by noisy things anyway. So it was a really nice 4th of July! Happy Birthday, America!

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One Comment
  1. Leif Nygaard permalink

    So enjoy reading your updates! It’s fun to travel with you virtually and “see” so many parts of the country!!

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