What an amazing drive from Westminster, Colorado via Highway 6, The Grand Army of the Republic Highway to Ogallala, Nebraska. We camped at Lake McConaughy, truly, what we consider a real camping environment with a lake view from our campsite, campfires in the morning and evening and lots of trees (more to follow about the trees!) I wanted to use some of the Hatch Chilies we purchased in Westminster so I made a Green Chili Stew, a lot of work but well worth it. We have enough for a few more meals so it made it worth the effort. When we went into town for a few groceries and some firewood we happened upon Boot Hill Cemetery in the town of Ogallala. It was the final resting place for Oregon Trail migrants, Pony Express riders, Indian fighting soldiers and Native Americans. It was abandoned in 1885 when the Ogallala Cemetery came into existence. In later years the town realized the historical significance, rather than being embarrassed by its existence, and began restoring Boot Hill.
We were enjoying our 2-day stay at Lake McConaughy when the winds really began to howl. Dennis thought that he should do a walk around of the trees and didn’t notice any dead/broken limbs so we began planning our next stop when we heard a crack and what sounded like breaking glass. Needless to say we were not happy and upon investigating the roof we found minimal damage to our Kool-o-matic fan. It could have been much worse, the wind and falling branches could have damaged our solar panels, air conditioners or satellite dish so instead of risking any further damage we left a day early and drove to North Platte, about 55 miles away.
We arrived in North Platte in time for dinner, albeit an hour later because of the new time zone. We decided this stop would be just an overnighter. I fixed calamari steaks, which we had in our freezer from our last trip to Arroyo Grande/Pismo Beach. The next day visited Buffalo Bill Ranch State Park and The Lincoln County Historical Museum. The Buffalo Bill State Park is home to Scouts Rest Ranch, the home Buffalo Bill came home to after touring the country and world with his Buffalo Bill Wild West Show. It was built in 1886 at a cost of $3,900!! The home is filled with original furniture, fixtures and family memorabilia but an enormous amount of memorabilia from his Wild West Days. The grounds are still intact and include an Ice House, Spring House, Cabin and a barn that is enormous, over 148 feet long, 70 feet wide and 40 feet high. There are still some original show bills from the Wild West Show glued to the walls of the stables.
We drove predominantly country roads but Dennis noticed that The Great Platte River Archway of “About Schmidt” fame was coming up on Highway 80 so we jumped on the Highway for about 5 miles to see it before taking all country roads the entire way to Salina, Kansas. Salina was a special stop for us because I (Cheryl) was honored to see a former student of mine, Dawn (Harrington), her parents, Pat and Teri and their other daughter, Tami. Dawn and her parents hold a special place in my heart and it is wonderful to see them again and finally meet Dawn and Tami’s kids! We had pizza one night at the B & B that Teri and Pat manage, then another night we met for dinner and on our final night we had a fun night visiting/eating at the B & B. Thanks for all the hospitality!!
While in the area we took a day trip to see the Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library and Museum. It is situated on 22 acres in the hometown of President/General Eisenhower in Abilene, Kansas. His boyhood home has been there since 1886 and was occupied by his mother until her death in 1946. The Museum has a treasure trove of militaria from WW II and personal items of both he and his wife. Their final resting place is also on the grounds in a beautiful chapel with gorgeous stained glass. If you are in the area, we highly recommend stopping here.
Back on the road now as I type heading east on another small highway seeing America as it should be seen…..What a great country we live in!