Primary Highways: Wyoming

Even though we're already on to Mississippi today, I did not want to forget the state of Wyoming, which caucused this weekend.

Wyoming is the least populous state in the U.S. The capital and largest city, Cheyenne, is about the same size as my previous hometown, Santa Cruz, CA. The entire state is significantly smaller than my current hometown, San Francisco. But Wyoming is large, and open, something I experienced years ago when driving out from New York to California on I-80. We have gotten to visit a lot of states along I-80 that I remember as part of this series. But coming west, the almost desert-like conditions, wind and brush and emptiness, were a welcome change from largely flat farmland of the previous thousand miles.

We did actually take a detour from I-80 south on US 191 through the Flaming Gorge] area down to Dinosaur National Monument in Utah. The two highways split in a remote area, with mountains and canyons to the south:

One thing I remember quite strikingly was how 191 curled up into the hills heading south from the freeway. Unfortunately, I don't have any of the photographs from the trip available, but this photo from illustrates it quite well:

It turns out I had encounted US 191 in Wyoming on a previous trip as well, as it enters Yellostone National Park via the south entrance:

Yellowstone is of course spectacular, and quite a different experience from the starkness of southern Wyoming. It also is the oldest and one of the largest national parks. Although mostly in Wyoming it does extend into Montana and Idaho as well. I leave you with this image from the northern entrance to Yellowstone, in Montana:

The inscription reads “For the Benefit and Enjoyment of the People,” with the dual purpose of preserving this natural land and making it accessible to “the people.” It seems like a sentiment that is sadly lost in contemporary politics, but that is a topic for another day…

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