In the morning, we took a “short cut” away from the highway toward Scotts Bluff and Fort Laramie. Near Laramie, we stopped to check out the wagon wheel ruts from the thousands of wagons that transverse the Oregon Trail in the 19th century. They were awesome! Cut through soft sandstone they stand as mute testimony to the impact of the migration. The Platte River had such a bad reputation for danger, that the travelers would rather struggle through the desolate landscape than attempt to ford the river. I think I read once the description of the Platte as being a “mile wide and an inch deep”. I didn’t see it that way til I was well into Nebraska –
Can't see the signatures very well, but they are there!
Swallow nests on Register Cliff.
This cave was used as cold storage for foodstuffs.
Ruins of the hospital at Fort Laramie
I intend to return by the same route so I can stop and spend more time in the Fort - I had thought to go through the Black Hills, but that will be just before the 4th of July – don’t think I want to do that. I realized at that point how much time I had spent wandering around and I still had to travel across most of Nebraska before getting to my campground for the night – so we hit the road. (I had planned to stay in hotels on the way East – but since the weather was expected to be in the 80’s during the day and 50’s at night, I saw no reason not to camp – I had my little back pack tent with me for the return trip in June.
Ihad a choice of campgrounds that day - KanKanKee, IL or South Bend, Indiana – oh, or Rock Island, IL - Rock Island – seemed too soon to stop - South Bend – well I wasn’t sure I could make it that far – it turned out to be an over 600 mile day of travelling. I decided to head for the Kankankee site. I think I should have held out for the South Bend site!!!! I got off the highway and spent the next hour driving through farm land – you know the kind of area - ½ mile down this road; 3 ½ miles on that road - many without signs – I just had to depend on the GPS – and the land was flat, flat, flat – no high point to get a view of where I was headed. The sun was sinking fast behind me, and I seemed to be getting nowhere.
I passed an interesting old barn – it’s siding was more “not” than “there” – you could see right through it, but it had a brand new shining metal sliding door on it!
I finally got to the campground as darkness was closing in – and the manager forgot to leave the information out for me as to which campsite was assigned to me - so I just stopped at the first empty one and set up the tent – I didn’t even peg it down – I figured if my weight wouldn’t hold it down, the added 3# of Tucker’s weight would surely do it!
Once again, we got up early, at about 5:20. I showered and packed up and was on the road within an hour – headed to my grandson’s home in Michigan. We pulled onto the main road (again this was farm country – “main” was no more than a narrow 2 lane road. Remember the hour or so I spent wandering around the night before? Well, barely a mile down the road there was a sign saying it was 1.9 miles to an interstate!!!!!