"Waiting for April Fool's Day in Laramie" Top 5 Page for this destination Laramie by atufft

Laramie Travel Guide: 82 reviews and 176 photos

Stranded Near the Laramie River

I drive a truck and trailer across the USA regularly and I often pass through Laramie, which is on Interstate 80. The Laramie Mountain Range between Cheyenne and the university town of Laramie to the west, has frequent snow and ice, and a 6% grade that can result in road closure. Similarly, between Laramie and the mining/oil town of Rawlins to the west, the Medicine Bow Range, a part of the Great Rocky Mountains, offers similar grades and even greater weather challenges, even as late as May. In this case though, a petroleum tanker spill in the Medicine Bow range caused a chain collision of vehicles and road damage that closed the road for two days. The subsequent oversupply and chaos of truckers overwhelmed the small town of Laramie, and the icy road conditions further east, resulted in road closure of I-80 starting at Cheyenne. Thus, truckers became stranded in Laramie, and I was one of them. However, for gritty truckers used to the usual boredom of the great plains, such was a great opportunity for adventure and an opportunity to swap tales of past such experiences.

Union Pacific Railyard Town

The name Laramie has its origins in the name of a French fur trapper named La Ramee, who was murdered in winter by resident Indians and then buried below the ice of the river. The name Laramie is repeatedly used to refer to a mountain range, county of Wyoming (where Cheyenne, not Laramie, is located), a frontier fort, and this town. Fort Laramie, which served in succession as fur trapper outpost, indian trading post, pioneer way station, and military fortress during the Indian war period, probably deserves the most credit for making the name of Laramie legendary within the folklore of the old American west. But, the town of Laramie, which had its start as a station of the Union Pacific Railroad along the first transcontinental rail tracks during the 1860's, deserves credit for continuing value for the name today. A lonely rail yard, a territorial prison, and eventually home to the University of Wyoming, Laramie remains a frontier town of considerable character. I learned about all this and more when I choose to hike south two miles along the river, in a bitter and dry blowing wind, from the truck stop to the historic center of town near the rail yard.

University of Wyoming

Wyoming has a reputation for being a bastion of conservative Republican politics, but Laramie is something of an exception due to the presence of the university. The University of Wyoming dominates the town so much that the women's basketball schedule and other university functions are prominently featured in the first few pages of the slim telephone book. Downtown are old brick buildings resident for bookstores, antique galleries, and restaurants catering to an oasis of liberalism in this great plain state. During this time of crisis, I had time to walk past the reconstruction of the territorial prison, and around the historic center of town, but could not visit the university, which is located several blocks to the east.

  • Intro Updated Apr 23, 2008
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Reviews (24)

Comments (9)

  • glabah's Profile Photo
    Sep 5, 2008 at 6:39 AM

    That Lincoln memorial is quite a structure. Thanks for mentioning it in your pages.

  • 850prc's Profile Photo
    May 12, 2008 at 3:44 PM

    Truck stop photos remind me of overnight drives down to Miami during my college days. All the truckers would be parked catching zzz's along the Florida Turnpike (aka the Reagan Turnpike) pavalions.

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Apr 22, 2008 at 12:22 AM

    Laramie - now there's a name that resonates with fans of old Westerns. So do old cowboys reincarnate as college students? leyle

  • toonsarah's Profile Photo
    Apr 19, 2008 at 5:57 AM

    I've enjoyed seeing Laramie in the snow - quite a contrast to the warm summer sun we experienced here. Wish I'd spotted that bookshop, though at least we were able to visit the prison ;)

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Apr 10, 2008 at 11:12 AM

    Hi Alan! Walk around historic downtown is always a very pleasant thing to do. What an interesting history of the Second Story! And the food at Jeffreys sounds yummy, especially the soup and the dessert :)

  • ger4444's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2008 at 8:47 AM

    interesting architecture...

  • KimberlyAnn's Profile Photo
    Apr 8, 2008 at 2:13 PM

    An excellent restaurant tip, this place sounds like a gem. Give me an updated opinion on the prison if you every manage to catch it open and have the time to visit. Nice bookstore tip, a bit of interesting history included. Happy travels!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Apr 4, 2008 at 1:01 PM

    Hi, Alan! Thanks for your informative page!

  • SteveOSF's Profile Photo
    Apr 2, 2008 at 11:33 PM

    Alan, You provide a nice impression of Laramie. The pictures help reveal the feel of the town. With that snow on the ground it looks like winter is not yet over there. Steve

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