Not quite the end of the earth, Laramie, because there's a lovely little coffee shop called Coal Creek Coffee (in spite of the fact that everyone working there this morning appeared to be either stoned or hung over, and the line snaked out the door, and while Paul was waiting for his coffee I walked outside, crossed the street, and read all the Houses For Sale ads in the window of the local realtor, including one that listed for $82k. Two bedroom, one bath. Sale pending.) The population of this berg is about 27,000, including the ever-shifting university population. The really wonderful thing about Laramie (apart from the ridiculously wide open spaces and wildlife and mountain ranges in the distance and clean air) is that there is no shopping center. There still exists an old fashioned downtown. Now, perhaps I'm just being nostalgic for the Renton of yore where at Van's the shoe boxes were stacked to the ceiling on every wall and Austin Hendrickson Drugs had a lunch counter, and Woolworth's sold dish towels for 49 cents. If I actually lived in Laramie, I'd possibly tire of such retro quaintness and long for a Target or Penney's or, even, (gasp) a Costco. Fortunately, I do not live there. A week at (and sometimes above) 7200 feet left my head dizzy with altitude sickness, and all relatively "normal" brain functions slurred to a feeble limp. Headache, nausea, sleepiness, shortness of breath. And not a heck of a lot of appetite, although I did enjoy a jalapeno moose burger the last evening I was there.
The antelope do indeed play on the prairie, which begins at the end of Richard and Donna's driveway. We spotted a fox a couple of streets away, and a herd of wild horses on our ride to Saratoga. And a moose, loping across the road in front of us.
Now I'm happily ensconced in the Best Western in Ogden, Utah, where almost everyone is blond. Is there coffee in Utah? Will I survive?