THE HIGH ROLLING PLAINS flatten as we descend towards Laramie. In addition to being a railroad hub, Laramie is home to the University of Wyoming, the "coolest summer school" in the United States, a reputation earned from its 7220' elevation, chilly summer nights, and relentless winds. Laramie challenges San Francisco for having the coldest summers.
You know you've finally reached the town by the proliferation of billboards, exit signs, and McDonald's Golden Arches that appear along the highway. The city center is full of shops and restaurants befitting a college community with campus buildings neatly constructed of native Wyoming sandstone adding a local flavor to the school.
As you enter Laramie you forget that the surrounding basin is composed of treeless plains and grass, as the downtown streets are full of trees. The trouble is, the trees drop their leaves in the early fall and don't get them back until late spring due to the short growing season. In addition the leaves must tolerate tremendous winds, occasionally reaching gale forces, due to the way the surrounding basin funnels wind through all seasons. Still, I enjoy the lush vegetation where I find it and while it lasts.
Week 16, Miles 1155