Sunday, April 29, 2007

On the Road Again - Westward bound (April 25-28)

Tuesday morning Chris & I went out and picked up the rest of the materials we needed to finish (stage 1) of the basement project. I also picked up a plug for my hot water heater and got that installed and the hot water tank filled and ready to go.

We put up some drywall and I finished off a small bit of framing that remained. I would have liked to have finished all the drywall to the point it was ready to “tape & mud” but a lot of what remained was fitting small pieces around doorways and I ran out of time.

Also during the morning, Linda called her Mom and talked to her in the hospital. She was feeling pretty good but Linda wanted to give her the rest of the day to be sure. Her sister Arliss called at 6 and told us that she (Linda’s Mom) had been released from hospital at noon and was now at home.

Chris’ neighbors were away and we had been parking the HHR in their driveway. Since it was threatening rain and we wanted to leave early Wednesday morning Linda came up with the idea of hooking up the car and pulling the motorhome ahead across the neighbor’s driveway (so we wouldn’t be blocking Chris & Tammye’s driveway). It was a good thing we did that because it poured rain overnight and I would have gotten soaked if I’d waited until morning.

We said our goodbye’s to Camdyn, Hunter & Tammye Tuesday evening.

Chris had a special SRT (SWAT) team demonstration Wednesday and was leaving at 6:30 – we were up at 6:00; had breakfast and once we had said good bye to him I did the last minute stuff – unplugging and final set-up for towing and we were on the road at 6:45 Central time.

We followed US30 west from Aurora – and after a couple of missed turns (with the difficulty of finding a “40 acre field” to turn around in since we can’t back up) we were westward bound. We crossed the Mississippi into Clinton Iowa at 9:45 and crossed the Missouri into Nebraska at Blair at 6:45 p.m. After overshooting and having to backtrack several miles (due to the fact that the camp book said “west of Ames” and the Fenton Lakes campground was EAST of Ames (Nebraska- not IOWA).

When we did find the location the road to the campground was NOT well marked and we had some close calls making wrong turns into areas were we had a real challenge avoiding dead-ends and finding a place to turn around). However, we finally got into the campsite and set up about 8:15. Long day but we covered close to 500 miles (800 km) much of it in driving rain.

Nice campground but as usual we found one close to train tracks and obviously a main line since Linda said there were trains blowing their whistles all night long) although I didn’t hear more than a couple of them-

Thursday morning we continued west. Mid-afternoon we had stopped in a rest area just west of North Platte after getting on I-80 at Kearney. While stopped, we both concluded at around the same time that I had gotten into my “let’s see how far we can go today” mode. Linda was looking at the tour books and saying “we’ll likely never come this way again – why aren’t we stopping to look around”. We had not talked about what we wanted to do and it was my idea to make a big push to get to Salt Lake City in 3 day. Anyhow, I won’t say that there weren’t a few “words” said but we realized that it was time to take a break and have some down-time so we startedlooking for somewhere to stop.

We found a nice campground north of Ogallala (Oga – la – la) and took the rest of Thursday and all day Friday to rest and do some sightseeing. Ogallala was the end of the cattle trails in the 1870’s and had a pretty wild reputation.

We saw their “Boot Hill” and an old mansion that was built in the 1880’a. Actually it wasn’t open for the season yet but we stopped to look around the grounds and one of the volunteers was there doing some work and let us in. Linda really enjoys looking around these old places. We also went to this little town called Keystone that boasts a little church built almost1000 years ago that is very unique. It was built jointly by Catholic and Protestant groups and feature pews with reversible pews (the backs are hinged and can be flipped over) so the Catholics could face the Catholic altar at one end and the Protestants could face the pulpit at the other end.

To-day (Saturday) we drove into Cheyenne and we are camped at the Terry Bison Ranch just off I-25 and just north of Colorado border. We plan to attend church services here in the morning and likely do a WALMART night tomorrow night before heading over the mountains on Monday. To-day we climbed about 2500 feet in a little under 100 miles but all just gradual climbs –no serious hills
God Bless
Charlie & Linda


Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Sounds like you are seeing some neat territory out west. The U. S. is so vast and it's hard to imagine what it must have been like for settlers coming out there for the first time like they did 100 years and more ago.

Just think how long it takes you to make the journey and how tiring it can become and you have all of the modern conveniences in your home away from home!

Thanks for taking us along for the ride and the pictures, Charlie!

Cheers & Blessings to you today! Dee

Neva said...

Oh Charlie,
Your stories make me miss home. I have been in all those places---and yes that is one of the main train lines. It travels from west to east all through Nebraska and Iowa. In fact North Platte boasts the biggest train switchyard in the world. Pretty cool.
It has been very hot in NE this year so I am glad you will soon be in the mountains where it is cooler.
If you are in NP on the way back, let me know and I can find you a hot meal, a bed and a shower, outside the RV.
Peace and prayers