Today was a very long day – we hit the road at about 9 this morning and didn’t make camp until 7 this evening. Much longer day than normal. But we did not really drive that many miles – 250 miles. We had so many places we wanted to stop at to see on the drive so we had many many breaks.
We traveled a good long way on Highway 26 in Western Nebraska. This follows the Oregon/California/Mormon Trails. If you do not know these 3 trails pretty much followed the same path for a good distance before they break off from each other. One of course heading to Oregon, one to California and one to Salt Lake City area of Utah.
We stopped to read plenty of the road side historic signs along the way today. Here is a photo of one sign we saw today which explains itself:
Chimney Rock is a really famous marker out west – it used to be larger – due to erosion it has gotten smaller in the last 150 years since people used it as a marker for the trail. They have a nice visitor center/museum here and we spent about an hour here and had lunch too.
Our next stop was Scottsbluff another place in history where there are still deep impressions in the earth from the thousands of wagons that came through this area. We were here for close to two hours. In most places contrary to what is shown in the old west movies and tv shows the wagon trail was not always one long line of wagons but spread out all over the place so people were not constantly eating the dust of all the wagons in front of them. In Scottsbluff the trail narrows and it was more of traveling in a line. Because of that the wagon ruts were deep in this sandy soil and although due again to erosion you can’t see the actual ruts you can see where the soil is cut deep into almost ravine type of areas now.
I will give more photos tomorrow of the last stop we made today which was the old Fort Laramie in Wyoming. I almost lost my camera today! We took the shuttle bus to the top of the bluff and walked on a few of the short trails to see the overlooks and then took the shuttle bus back to the museum/visitors center. When I got in to the museum I realized I did not have the camera. I had left it on the seat. The driver had mentioned to us that after he dropped us off he had to drive to town to get gas! We had to wait an extra half an hour before he got back so I could retrieve my camera. One of the rangers called the driver on his cell phone to check and see if I had left it there and sure enough he said yes.
Back in 1991 was the last time we had been to Scottsbluff and we being the only passengers on the shuttle had gotten to talking to him and told him of our trip back then — the kids to this day still refer to the trip as the “trip from hell” – need I say more. Picture Chevy Chases “Vacation” movie :) LOL anything that could happen did happen. The part that had to do with Scottsbluff was that we locked the keys in the minivan with the engine running!! We had left home pulling a 13 foot trailer with the pickup truck and got 20 miles from home and the engine blew – took the mini van instead, had to replace the radiator on the trip – had two cracks in the windshield from flying rock, flat tires, and then on the way back home about 100 miles from home someone ran into the back of our camper and pushed in the back about 2 feet – then claimed bankruptcy and had no insurance after they told us they did!! We saw 13 states and 2 Canadian Provenience’s that trip. No wonder the kids call that 3 week vacation the vacation from hell! LOL
When I got my camera back from the driver of the shuttle he was laughing and said “I hope this is the worse thing that happens this trip” I do too!!