A Hit and a MissOn the Road Again, Day 9: Cheyenne, WY to Pueblo, CO
Since we arrived early enough to make our pilgrimage to the Wyoming State Capitol yesterday afternoon, we had only to search for a few letterboxes before leaving Cheyenne this morning. Results of our search were mixed, with some boxes exactly where they were said to be and others clearly missing, a pattern which would repeat itself later in the day.
|In Lions Park, the 1242 letterbox was exactly where promised.|
|Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center (photo from www.sampson-construction.com)|
|Reception desk (photo from www.sampson-construction.com)|
A letterbox is on site, as well as walking trails, a wildflower green roof on the building, and wetlands formed from reclaimed runoff water from I-25. So much to like here. Though we were very impressed with a New Mexico rest area we visited last year, this one has no peers. It's a destination itself. Well done, Wyoming!
Continuing down the interstate through Denver, we were just making tracks to get back toward central Colorado. With an offer of a free salad, P.F. Chang's lured us in for lunch, and their Colorado Springs location was conveniently located along our path. When we left there, we drove west 35 miles on US-24, past Pikes Peak, to the Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument. Sure, it took us 70 miles out of our way (round trip), but who could resist this appealing description on the NPS web site for this fascinating preserve?
|Misleading advertisement at its best|
|Fossils poorly exhibited in visitor center|
|Redwood stump in its cozy home. How did it survive its first 34,000,000 years without shelter?|
- Even though there are only a few fossils on exhibit there, more than 40,000 have been sent elsewhere to museums and the like. (So why did we drive all the way here?)
- This NPS unit has a separate administration building where eight full-time employees labor at...uh, who could guess?
- Behind the administration building, eight U.S. government vehicles were all lined up. Really? Every employee has his or her own government vehicle at this expendable park? But wait, there was another USG vehicle parked in the main lot also. Maybe that's the spare in case someone wants to drive something different for their date this weekend.
As you might have guessed, we felt like we had just been lured into an episode of Stump the Chumps. Our tax dollars at waste here, in our opinion. Yes, they had a few hiking trails through a grassy meadow, but so did all the local parks in the numerous towns we drove through to get there. Now, our question is, how do you get rid of one of these money pits once it's been wedged into the federal budget?
Thankful that our senior pass prevented us from actually paying an entrance fee, we left this odd property, driving south to Pueblo, where we're spending tonight before turning back west tomorrow. Great Sand Dunes National Park is on our agenda. Will it be another Colorado boondoggle? Stand by...
More Photos from Today
|One of the creative exhibits at the Southeast Wyoming Welcome Center|
|The stump and the chump, who asks, "Is that really all there is?"|
|Plenty of government cars, thanks to us taxpayers|