A quick jaunt through low hanging mist past Loveland sat Cheyenne, Wyoming. The Rockies were now just a smudgy afterthought on the southwestern horizon, and the sage of the hills clung gray and foamy in the face of careening traffic. A loose piece of tumbleweed rolled in front of my car, my trusty little mare. I pulled along a gravelly curbside across from the Diamond Horsehoe Cafe, the cowboy diner of my dreams. Just steps from the highway and a trailer park, the building was squat and homely. I slid into a mustard yellow booth, sitting across from two knives sheathed in buckskin pinned on the wood-paneled wall. The waitress practically sparkled with silver jewelry, and my buffalo omelette was too much to finish in one sitting. A group of men occupied the booth behind me in varying shades of flannel, eating pigs-in-a-blanket. Now, I’m beginning to worry about my little buddy, one said. Yep, he’s usually here, said another. Want another pig, asked the waitress. Now, I’m not calling you names. A man in a ball cap with PENTAGON emblazoned across talked about the Broncos to his wife. After downing four small mugs of coffee, I wandered along downtown. People thought I was a local, in my buffalo plaid and shearling-leather vest. Finally found a western shirt at The Wrangler. A tiny woman ran a store in a historic building called the Emporium. It was a cramped hallway of a property stacked to the ceiling with cowboy hats, tourist sweatshirts, bedazzled jeans, and skirts that would be at home in a renaissance faire. She insisted on showing me all her merchandise, encouraging me to buy shot glasses for my visiting, non-local, friends. I managed to step out without buying anything with rhinestones.



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