In October 2007, I found myself in Fort Collins, CO visiting a friend from college. Said friend didn’t take work off, so here I was flying solo trying to absorb everything the West had to offer. I had three days to explore, but having been so new to the area (and actually thinking of moving out there) I had no idea where to begin, so I surrendered to going wherever the roads took me. Wyoming. There it was directly north of me. The least populated state in the US seemed like my kinda place. So I hopped on I-25 to head north to Cheyenne. Little did I know that I would find myself in a state that I couldn’t wait to get back to.
The drive up was great. Hitting the highway with these gigantic Rocky Mountains to my west and nothing but prairie to my right. Driving along in my crappy Hyundai rent-a-car, driving with one hand, video taping with the other. Not exactly the ideal thing to be doing when you are driving but as always, I wanted to capture every little moment.
To the east of I-25 I passed a windmill farm. At the time, I had never seen anything like it. These huge windmills stood on the sides of these hills / small mountains all lined up in a row. I can only imagine how big they were up close. They belonged on the land of a, well we’ll call it a “Petting Zoo Ranch” where you could go and take a hay ride and check out the animals. (So the sign said.) I didn’t stop, so you’ll have to take my word for it. I wasn’t interested in touristy ranches, I wanted the real thing.
Soon enough, I entered Wyoming. You know you are in Wyoming, everywhere you look there is the bucking horse and cowboy. It is a perfect fit! My first stop was going to be the land of the cowboys – Cheyenne Frontier Days!
Back in 2007, I was in Colorado visiting a friend and checking out the “west”. On one of the days I was there I thought I would head down to the “Mile High” city and check it out along with the U.S. Mint. Turns out the area I was in had a few too many one way streets for me to navigate by my lonesome so I pretty much drove around the arts district and went to the U.S. Mint. Here are a few pictures. (They didn’t come out too bad considering I was driving… don’t tell anyone.)
I believe this is where the Denver Bronco’s play.
Look! Its a horse…. on a giant chair!
Look! It’s a ….!
Modern day Cowboys and Indians!
The U.S. Mint.
Now there are no pictures from the U.S. Mint for the following reason. The U.S. Mint is located in an area that had many one way streets and I was having quite the time parking. I ended up parking next to the jail which is next to the Mint. I walked to the Mint, was told that the only thing I could bring into the Mint was a wallet and my keys. I proceeded to walk back thru the jail (yes, there were some lovely looking folks standing around outside), drop my purse off, walk back thru the jail and back to the Mint. This wouldn’t have been as bad, if I wasn’t by myself (and if I read their provisions on their website before hand).
Touring the U.S. Mint was pretty cool, especially considering it is one of the largest Mint’s in the country. I saw / learned how money was made, more specifically coins. I found out how the U.S. currency was going to change the design on the pennies before it was actually released (four different designs!). The entire process is pretty interesting if you are into geeky things but I mean you use money everyday you might has well see how its made. The Mint is part of an old bank building, near the end of the tour you get to check out part of the old building. The architecture was beautiful. At the end of the tour, they even give you a free penny before he design is pressed.
This is a great thing to do with your family or if you have a couple hours to spare while in the area. They do require that you make a reservation so please plan ahead. Have fun!