Driving north to Laramie on Highway 287 from Fort Collins, the elevation gain is almost imperceptible. It’s a two-lane road most of the way, undulating through open ranchland, cresting over rocky terrain and swinging past locations with names such as Ted’s Place, Virginia Dale and Tie Siding. Closer to Laramie, the highway becomes all business, leaving the roly-poly behind. The land flattens and the broad expanse which characterizes Wyoming is laid out in a barren, wind-swept tableau. It’s only when you pass the city limit sign that you realize the reason for the pop in your ears.
At 7165 feet, Laramie is only 357 lower than Estes Park, Colorado, the gateway town to Rocky Mountain National Park.
Laramie is laid out in thirds, from west to east:
1/3 Old-fashioned cowtown indulging in a makeover, with a trendy coffee shop, a food co-op, a Thai restaurant and a vegetarian restaurant, all within two blocks of each other.
(The restaurant/bar on the far corner is Born in a Barn… what are ya? Born in a Barn?!)
1/3 University, with almost 14,000 students, the beautiful Coe Library and several museums.
1/3 Everything else – chain restaurants, big box stores and few strip malls.
Surrounding this triptych grid are unassuming neighborhoods, interspersed with local businesses and scattered apartment buildings that cater to the student population.
The building I live in is only two blocks from campus (and a couple more to the Coe Library), one block from the public library, and is diagonal from the local hardware store (which comes in handy when you move into a new place). It’s a 10-minute walk to the aforementioned downtown, and a 20-minute walk to a large grocery store.
Also nearby is an Enterprise location so renting a car is convenient when I need transportation. Annndddd, there is a free shuttle that runs through town, stopping at convenient places every half-hour. My bike will also provide easy transport. My car-free life continues to thrive.
And there’s a local theater. When was the last time you saw a first-run feature for $3.50?
The ole Wyo…
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My apartment continues to feel more like home every day. It’s spare and simple and I like it that way. I feel safe, comfortable and am enjoying slowly personalizing it.
Still new and needs a chair or two.
I love this little storage room, although I have nothing to store here.
Life in my new town is feeling good. I’ve mapped out my running route which goes through the old downtown, across the railroad tracks and along the Laramie River. I’ll show pictures of that in my next post.
Love my cowboy coffee. (Thanks, Chris!)