Long Day – Saw Many Things

Joseph’s Coat

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:

one of the first of two women to travel by wagon train to Oregon

Chimney Rock - a marker that people were told to look for on the trail to go the right direction

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.

this is one of those deep cuts into the soil.

Scottsbluff with a recreation covered wagon - one of three set up here.

one of the replica wagons not packed as full as I am sure they were. The child here is playing the part of the child going west - she didn't appear to be too happy about doing this 🙂 it was hot out.

from on the top of Scottsbluff you could see this hiking trail from up high. This trail goes to the visitors center. You can ride a shuttle bus to the top and ride back if you want. If walking if you look at the end of the trail you will see a tunnel - that is for foot traffic - I have no idea how long it is - maybe one day we will walk it but not today - we were already realizing we would get to camp late.

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!!

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6 comments… add one
  • CJ Jul 10, 2010

    Wow, that was great Karen! I love history. Funny, back in school I hated history more than anything, now it absolutely fascinates me!
    I’ve often thought about this trip… being a modern girl, I can’t help but think how AWFUL all these people must have smelled (and felt!) as there must have often been weeks with no water available for bathing. Ugh.
    .-= CJ´s last blog ..NOW the luggage arrives- =-.

  • Astrid Jul 10, 2010

    Very interesting post, Karen! I really love to learn about American history, and it has always fascinated me how these people made it in the old times… There’s a book I’d like to recommend; Bold Spirit by Linda Lawrence Hunt. The story is about a Norwegian woman who walked across the US continent (in 1896) hoping to win money to pay taxes & mortgage…. A very fascinating story. I can’t imagine how she managed!
    .-= Astrid´s last blog ..Marions Quilt =-.

  • Crispy Jul 10, 2010

    I too love reading these posts about out country’s history :0) OMGosh, I can’t imagine having so many problems while traveling with the kids!!!


  • Marianne Jul 10, 2010

    I am really enjoying your blogs from the road, Karen. Loved seeing the sod hut yesterday – was reminded of “Giants in the Earth” as well as the “Little House” books that I loved as a kid (and grown up librarian, too)!

    As for trips from hell, my son and I often talk about driving back and forth across North and South Dakota with my parents when he was 8 – nothing to look at, hot weather, icky motels, and we broke down in Bismarck…

  • Arlene Jul 10, 2010

    Your trip photos are great. We were in that area back a few years ago but did not get all the way to Scottsbluff. As were camping we realized by the time we got there we would not have enought time left to get home so ended up short by a bit I think we stayed at Chadron State park and then headed back east. Oh well maybe another time.
    .-= Arlene´s last blog ..High and Dry =-.

  • Vicki Jul 10, 2010

    This has been like old home week for me! Thanks for sharing some great pictures and stories. I haven’t seen Chimney Rock or the Scottsbluff monument for years.
    .-= Vicki´s last blog ..Teeny tiny finish =-.

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