Fort Collins CO to Rawlins WY
via Laramie, Wyoming
On the road to the Grand Tetons or Yellowstone this is a great route. We spent the night in Fort Collins at the Horsetooth Reservoir and headed toward the national parks fairly early. Once we are well out of our home region we like to take our time. The road is half the fun. We headed out on route 287 headed for Laramie.
It was an easy drive though it is fairly high in altitude at least for these Florida guys. We only stopped once before getting to Laramie. There are small areas to pull over – the old Post Office in Virginia Dale looked like a great place but we waited until further down the road to stop at a historical monument.
We rolled into Laramie and found the visitor’s center well marked and found parallel parking a block away where we easily parked our 35 foot motor home. Having spent a lot of time watching the TV show Laramie in reruns I was particularly excited to visit here. The downtown is actually well preserved, shows plenty of signs of life, displays a creative spirit and is well worth visiting. It is also an easy on/off from the I-80 if you’re traveling along that.
There are western shops, boutiques, bars, restaurants, murals, and more. We rode our bicycles around the downtown, admittedly not terribly big but substantial and not at all derelict like so many towns. There’s roughly 30,000 people in the town so it is a good size compared to others we’ve gone to. The railway takes a big presence in the town still to this day and there is an Amtrak passenger station. It is easy to meander around here for a while as there are historic cars and locomotives. Unfortunately the station itself was closed when we were there. The town itself is really worth a stop or stop and stay. We prefer places that shows signs of plenty of life but not pedestrianized (in terms of taste) gentrification.
We had thought about spending the night here but we pretty much saw what we wanted and set off down I-80 to Rawlins to spend the night at a KOA Kampground there. It is an incredible place and the most immaculate laundry room I’ve ever seen. The store was well stocked and really excellent. The woman who checked us in couldn’t have been more pleasant. The campground itself is also excellent. This is probably the best KOA Kampground we’ve ever stayed in. And there’s a pool and playground plus more. And it filled up throughout the late afternoon.
All along our journey though the landscape kept changing. At one point I mentioned we were damn near close to the moon we were that high up and the landscape looked somewhat lunar. Tomorrow we take off for Yellowstone National Park via Route 287. Our hope is to get a campground just outside the park – there are several within about fifty miles.