Leg one of our trip
(They grow the cows big in Nebraska)
We got into Colorado late last night and boy are we tired today. We pulled a couple really long days driving across the prairie where there is absolutely nothing to look at.
The dogs are doing surprisingly well in the hotel room, and they have been great on the trip. They are both excellent travelers and Douglas is getting better all the time. I'm really proud of them.
Our first stop still in Ontario was to see my closest friend whom I've know for nearly 20 years. We spent the night with her and her family. She has a Bulldog and a Mastiff, and all four dogs got a long quite well. Daisy wasn't really sure what Norman was, but eventually she figured it out. They were both trying to be the boss of everyone which was interesting to watch.
She has the goofiest cat, which Douglas quickly fell in love with. Norman doesn't like cats that much since one tried to eat him, so he barked at him. Douglas on the other hand was falling all over himself.
and Norman was trying so hard to collect all the bones, which were bigger than him....
Then we headed into Pennsylvania to visit one of our friends who is spending some time there, and we spent the day with him. Most of the leaves have blown down in PA which is a shame because it's usually gorgeous this time of year, but it was pretty gloomy with the gray trees, and it rained our entire way through. It was cool but comfortable.
Tuesday we were able to make a couple quick stops to see where Carl Sandburg was born, although the museum was closed which was too bad. It was a really fascinating place and he is actually buried in the backyard. He was born in Galesburg Illinois. You can read his bio here.
Along the pathway to his grave in the backyard are stones with some of his writings. It's just beautiful.
Then we traveled on and stopped at Wyatt Earp's birthplace! Of course, it was closed to. You apparently have to call several days ahead to make an appointment to go in the museum because it's not staffed. But it was interesting to see even if we were just outside. Wyatt Earp's birthplace is in Monmouth, Illinois. If you want to read more about Wyatt Earp, you can do so here. They even have a little OK corral they built and do reenactments at each year.
This is the kind of stuff we love doing, looking on the map, finding something interesting, and just pulling off to go find it and check it out.
Yesterday was our biggest day for getting in some sights. We had so much fun even though we didn't have a lot of time since we needed to get here.
Our first stop was at the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie pioneer which is mostly closed this time of year, they have a full working town and sheep ranch that are both closed for the season, so we were only able to get to see a small part of it. It's a beautiful museum and worth a visit to. It's located in Grand Island Nebraska. You can visit the website if you'd like more information on it.
Then it was off to Ash Hollow State Historical Park, a few hundred miles up the road. This place was incredible. It's hot here still, not like the 60 degree Fahrenheit temps we left at home. On the prairie the sun is still burning hot and it's about 80 degrees during the day still. We had to hike up this huge trail that winds uphill, I wish I could explain it to you. It's not for the faint of heart to walk, lets put it that way!
At Ash Hollow State Historical Park, you can still see the ruts dug by the wagon wheels that went through here in the 1800's. This is part of the Oregon trail. To look out and down and see these ruts is one thing, but when you actually realize what you are looking at, ruts put in the ground by pioneers traveling this rough country in wagons, it's hard to grasp. You can visit the website here. It's absolutely amazing what these people traversed through to get to their destination. I can't imagine living in those times.
see the ruts in these pictures, those are not recent trails, these are wagon ruts!
Then we drove up to Chimney rock National Historical site. Chimney rock is a famous landmark used by travelers along the Oregon trail. Pioneers used this rock as a guide, they knew when they found it, they were on the right trail and making significant progress on their journey. They could see it for days across the prairie before arriving at it's base. Many pioneers were buried near the base of it. Read more about the history of Chimney rock.
The sign reads: "During the westward migration through this pass, many died as they looked for a better life"
They have a great museum as well. The only trouble is there are lots of rattlesnakes all over here, so you've always got to stay on trails and keep alert. I was especially cautious at Ash Hollow because I brought the dogs up the trail with us.
At the gift shop at the museum we got two books by Willa Cather a Pulitzer Prize winning author who wrote about the West. I'm really looking forward to reading them. She was quite a remarkable author and lady. On her website there is a quote from her, something she said during an interview and she said "when people ask me if it has been a hard or easy road, I always answer with the quotation, the end is nothing, the road is all."
Then we traveled just up the road to Scotts Bluff National monument. It's just amazing to be driving along this flat land and see this rising up out of it. I can only imagine what it looked like to the pioneers who not only had been traveling for months to get to this point along their journey but also had never see anything like this in their lives. It served as a marker for people traveling the Oregon trail, the Mormon trail, and, the pony express.
What was most impressive was that you could actually drive to the top! They have built a road and tunnels right up.
Once you get to the top, you can hike a little ways to get great views and pictures. It was a gorgeous evening too, after a hot day. It was almost 5 PM when we were up there.
don't fall of the ledge!
I took this picture looking down from the truck as we were driving on the road, there is no side, just a straight drop off!
and these are wagons on the actual Oregon trail which runs just along the highway.
This is the road we drove up.... see the tunnels up there?
Now we'll be here for a few days, and then it's back on the road. We were short on time coming up here but intend to just take it as easy as we can on the way home. We can't spend forever, but we don't have a real deadline. I am so excited about Mesa Verde I can hardly stand it.
Just standing there staring at those ruts in the fields I had to ask Kevin again and again if it was what I thought it was. Standing next to some of the ruts dug, and placing your foot there. It's amazing to be that close to history and the people who lived it. It's important to remember these things and keep them fresh in our memories. All of it.
All for now, but I'll update when I can.