Our next “proper” destination after Laramie was Grand Teton National Park. That would have been a six-hour drive, and we hate sitting in the car all day, so we broke it up with one night in Rock Springs. Even so, it looked a boring drive along the interstate so we decided to cross the Snowy Range Pass again and stop in some different places. The first was the pretty little town of Centennial where we took morning coffee and looked at the outside parts of the Nici Self Historical Museum. The old railroad depot building wasn’t open (we weren’t having much luck with our timing).
We stopped again for lunch in Saratoga, but after that it was all interstate.
Usually, we prefer B&Bs or small inns, but I couldn’t find anywhere suitable listed in Rock Springs so, as it was only one night, I chose a chain hotel, Homewood Suites. Actually, I could get converted back to this sort of place – we had a spacious, comfortable room and, had it not been the weekend, could have partaken of a free dinner buffet. The only downside was its location on the edge of town – but as luck would have it, right next door was Trip Advisor’s number one restaurant, a Chinese / Japanese place called Bonsai which we really enjoyed.
Before that, however, we had driven to the historic downtown area for a walk around. As well as lovely old buildings …
… we enjoyed the street art, including some fine benches, and were amazed that artwork just hung in an underpass and didn’t get vandalised.
Rock Springs used to be a coal mining town – the coal seams running right underneath the downtown area – and they’ve made a lovely job of preserving this history in the park by the railroad.
Outlaw gangs who roamed the West often passed through Rock Springs or used it as a destination. Apparently, as a young man, “Butch” Cassidy acquired his nickname while working in Rock Springs as a butcher. We were really getting to like these old western towns and, you’ve guessed it, wished we had more than one night here, but the next day we had to press on. Grand Teton was calling us!