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- 7/3 Well, our journey and adventure has been completed. We arrived safely at home after almost 10,000 miles and 62 days on the road. It is good to be home!!! We drove through Illinois and stopped a few times. When we got to Indiana , Dan and I looked at each other and said, “We are so close to home, let’s go home.” At the beginning of our trip, we took the Lincoln Highway from Canton to Chigaco, so we had seen what was on the Lincoln Highway in this area. It’s something about being so close to home after being so far from home that urged us on. In our lives, most of us live in a box almost – crowded cities, unemployment, crime, homelessness, demanding jobs, etc. But Dan and I discovered that outside the box, there is beautiful land and places in our country. We saw sunsets on the water; blue oceans; mountians with snow and mountains covered by trees just reaching high into the sky; we saw lush green valleys and open areas where the buffalo still roam. We saw delicately carved canyons, deserts and plenty of cornfields! The forests and parks that we drove through were so beautiful with trees of every kind – some trees there is no words to decribe them. While we traveled, we met some amazing people that we will never forget. Everyone has a story to share if you take the time to talk to one another. We went to some of the neatest places that were not major tourist attractions because the people we were talking to said, “You must go see this or that place.” Our trip could not have been more perfect. We were always ahead of bad weather; no car problems; we found a place to sleep every night; and Dan and I never were sick. We hope you had fun following us as we traveled, enjoyed the pictures we shared and found our blogs to be interesting and entertaining! We have so many wonderful memories, pictures and stories to share. So until our next adventure, everyone be safe and enjoy life. From me – remember to think outside our tiny little boxes and take the time to enjoy all the wonders of our country. From Dan – remember, what was told to him by a great philospher, Mr Rick, “Always take the old road!”
- 7/1 Well, Nebraska is flat and pretty much cornfields, cornfields and more cornfields. They sure do grow alot of corn here! AND IT IS HOT! Yesterday and todays temperature is 103. The only thing good about the temperature being over 100 is that Dan doesn’t stop every 500′ to take a picture! We are following the Lincoln highway as much as we can but sometimes the road becomes a dirt road through a cornfield and ends up as the driveway for some farmer. Occasionally, we had to get on the “evil” interstate because parts of the Lincoln Highway was flooded. The Lincoln Highway goes through small towns and Dan insists we drive up the mainstreet of each one. Sometimes it’s only 2 blocks, but we’ve noticed every town seems to have a local bar. One time, we were looking for a place to eat and the map showed the next town to be Marsland. So we drove off onto a dirt road towards it. When we got to it, there was the sign – Marsland: population 4! In one small town, we stopped in at an ice cream parlor for ice cream. We were the youngest ones in there! At one table, sat 8 men at least 75+ years old discussing politics. Across the room, sat 8 women also at least 75+ sharing gossip and recipes. As we were eating, one old man got up and walked over to one of the ladies and tapped her on the shoulder. They got up and walked hand in hand out the door and up the street. Apparently, this is a “senior hangout!” We stopped in Kimball, Nebraska for the night and when we asked where we could get dinner we were told the only restaurants in town were Pizza Hut and Subway! Each little town is so unique! We drove all day, pass the cornfields and came to North Platte. Here there was Baily’s Train Yard – the largest interchanging train yard in the world. It is 3 miles wide and every day at least 300 trains going east and west pass through this yard. It is the half way point for the Union Pacific railway system to the east and west. They have a tower there call, “The Golden Spike.” Visitors can go up in the tower and see the entire train yard. There was an old, former conductor up there to answer your questions. He knew everything about trains and this yard – Dan and him talked for hours! It has taken us 3 days to drive through Nebraska. We don’t know of any of big tourist attractions like, “Yellowstone” or “Mt. Rushmore” in Nebraska so we are just driving through the little towns. If I hadn’t seen a sign saying, “Now entering Iowa”, I would think we were still in Nebraska. Iowa looks a little hillier but more cornfields as far as you can see in any direction. One odd site in the cornfields were the giant windmills they use for electric power – they went as far as you could see. They were fascinating to see! Again we aren’t aware of any big attractions worth a side trip off the Lincoln Highway-so we are still on the 45mph cornfield roads! In one small town, we walked through a small cemetery known as “Boot Hill.” This is one of many of these cemeteries in the west that were known around 1880 to bury notorious cowboys, bank robbers and murderers. They buried the men with their boots on, hence the name. We did by accident discover one side trip-called, “The White Pole Road.” There was four very small towns near each other that had some historical significance. Most of these places are passed by the interstate and even the Lincoln Highway. The road is 26 miles long and is marked by painting the telephone poles white! We saw the bank that Bonnie and Clyde robbed; a neon sign of a gas attendent advertising an old gas station from 1934. The most impressive site was a hugh rock called, “The Freedom Rock.” Since 1999, a local artist has painted a patriotic scene on all four sides of this rock. Each year, he completely repaints the rock with a new patriotic theme in honor of the armed forces. It was a pretty amazing design and the artistry was great! After the mini-side trip, we got back on the Lincoln Highway in Iowa. Tomorrow, we continue Eastward.
- 6/28 Our next place to see was “Devil’s Tower” in Wyoming near Sundance. We spent the night in Sundance, Wyoming whose only claim to fame was that a bank robber had been taken into their jail and when he escaped, he changed his name to Sundance and became friends with Butch Cassidy. “Devil’s Tower” is this gigantantic rock sticking up in the middle of nowhere. Indian legend has it that 7 little Indian maidens were playing when a bear began to chase them – so they ran to the top of this rock and prayed to the spirits to save them. The rock began to grow taller but the bear continued to claw at the rock and so the rock grew taller and taller until the bear gave up. The truth is it is a remanent of a volcano. But it is famous because it was in a scene in the movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” Once into South Dakota, we drove through the Black Hill Forest. It was so beautiful! It seems like each mountain or each forest has its own uniqueness. We stopped in Deadwood, SD which was once a cowboy stopping point and is most famous for being the place where Bill Hickcock was shot whle holding the infamous “dead man’s hand” aces and eights. Here they gambled, drank and had other fun. The city consists of one long street filled with hotels, each with a small casino inside and lots of saloons. Today, it attracts tourists who want to gamble and drink a little and buy souvenirs. Once we left Deadwood, the weather turned bad, so we stayed in Hill City, SD. The next morning on Sunday, we went to Mt. Rushmore – pretty amazing how the faces of the presidents were carved into the stone mountain. We took another side trip through “Bear Country, USA.” This is a big private reserve for wild animals that you drive through after being advised to keep car windows up. The main attraction was their collection of maybe 30 bears that just roamed this big open park. The bears came right to the cars, walked down the road like they owned it. It was exciting to watch them play and then we suddenly noticed they were all running in one direction. It was feeding time! They have a special place called “Babyland”, where they take all the baby cubs after about 3 months of being born to keep them safe from the male bears. It was so cute watching all these bear cubs playing with each other and running around in this enclosure. I could have stayed there all day! The rest of the day, we drove through Custer State Park. This was a fun and interesting park to drive through. This park had so many “U” curves that if you had a big trailer you could see the back end of it before you finished the curve. Another surprise around many of the curves were bison in the road. The bison roam freely through this park. I was playing chauffer again as we drove through the park and I came around a curve and there in the road was a bison. You can’t honk your horn- you have to let them do their thing. This bison for about a mile walked straight down on the yellow line of the road. He would have definately passed a sobirety test! I just can’t believe that today in our land, there are areas where the animals are really wild and exist. We spent the night in Hot Springs, SD. Monday morning we finally drove into Nebraska. What a change in scenery. The land went from forests to flat, flat grassland. The sky came down and met the land on the horizon. We are headed south in Nebraska so we can again pick up the Lincoln Highway and take it straight east. The Lincoln Highway is Dan’s road – 45 mph, very straight , and passes every cornfield and farm. But at least he is not stopping every 500′ to take pictures – one picture in Nebraska is the same as all the others. Still having fun and headed Eastward.
- 6/24 Since we last wrote, we left Jackson Hole, Wyoming and drove again through the Grand Teton Mountains on our way to Yellowstone National Park. It was a clear day, so Dan only stopped every 1000′ to take more pictures of the mountains, the elk and bison grazing near the roads. We got to Yellowstone about 15 minutes before the geyser, “Old Faithful” went off. What a sight! We spent the day in Yellowstone and then drove to Cody, Wyoming. The serene mountains and wilderness was Dan’s day. Now we are going to be rootin’ tootin’ cowboys for the day! Every night, there is a rodeo in Cody. I told Dan while we were out west, we had to see a rodeo. The lights, the noise, the rodeo is my thing! We both bought cowboy hats too! Most cowboys are tall and muscular -but not my cowboy! I can proudly say my man is a Stetson man. With his Stetson hat on, my short and stout cowboy, looked more like the cowboy banker – but he is so cute! Wednesday, we were in Cody and that night we went to a cowboy dinner/ music review and then to the RODEO. It was so much fun! We had our picture taken on top of a real bull! Getting on that bull was a scene that could be on Funniest Home Videos. My short legs and the fact that the bull had a real wide backside, made getting on that bull hilarious. Today is Thursday and we are off to South Dakota to see Mt. Rushmore, of course we still have the whole state of Wyoming to cross. We are driving on Dan’s kind of road -45mph – pass the rolling, grassy mountains with the cloudy skies above us, while listening to our cowboy guitar/ singing CD playing “Yippie Ky Yea.” Actually, Dan might be going 65mph – most have something to do with the music and the hat! What a combination….course Dan and I are a strange combination! I got to drive about 60 miles through the Big Horn Mountains. Dan thought it was safe because the roads were very wide, no deep cliffs to fall off and it was easier for Dan to jump out and take pictures! We stop at every historical marker and almost every turnout. I played chauffer -Dan played photographer. But I got us safely through the mountains – so were good for the night!
- 6/19 I know it is Sunday and we are in Jackson Hole, Wyoming and we just spent the day in the most beautiful place on earth that we have seen so far! We are in the Grand Tetan National Park, which is below Yellowstone National Park. The mountains covered with snow reach up into the sky and in the valleys elk, moose, bison and deer just roam free. There is a 48 mile road that one can drive through the park and stop off to take pictures. We started at noon and at 7:00, we left because it was getting dark. It was overcast today but that didn’t stop Dan from stopping every 500′ to get a “better picture.” We are going back to the park tomorrow hoping there will be sunshine. It is hard to believe that in today’s times when we live in crowded cities and everyone is in a hurry, that there still exists beautiful mountains and lush green valleys where the deer and antelope still roam and everything is so picture perfect. You just can’t beleive it unless you have seen it. This blog is short so Dan can put on some of his many pictures. Enjoy!
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