The Oregon Trail

A cattle-ranching and farming center, Lusk (pop. 1,628) is the largest town in the least-populated county in the country’s least-populated state. It also boasts the only traffic light on US-20 between Douglas, Wyoming, and Chadron, Nebraska. And if those claims to fame don’t make you want to stop, the Stagecoach Museum (322 S. Main St., 307/334-3444, Mon.-Fri., by appointment Sat.-Sun., $2) definitely will, if only to see the sole authentic 1880s Cheyenne-Deadwood Stagecoach—the one Doris Day sang about in Calamity Jane. (The only other stagecoach from this legendary route is now in the Smithsonian.) Behind the museum building is another frontier icon—a one-room schoolhouse—and along US-20 at the east edge of town, a plaque points out a redwood water tower dating from 1886, when steam locomotives still chugged across the plains.

Lusk also has a good range of motels, including the Covered Wagon Motel (730 S. Main St., 307/334-2836, $100 and up).