Friday, May 15, 2015

On the Trail

Leaving Casper, it was time to turn our sights towards the southeast.
Our route took us south on I25 and then east on US 26 to the small
town of Guernsey Wyoming where we spent two days seeing some really impressive
Oregon trail sights.

Following the North Platte River, in this particular location the topography
forced the wagon trains into a narrow area where they had to proceed one behind the other.
Traveling over soft sandstone, the tens of thousands of wagon wheels cut into the
rock.   As the wheels cut into the rock, eventually the bottom of the wagons rubbed the rock
further cutting into it.

The result was these deep cuts in the rock that left a mark on the land to remember
these pioneers by.

These pictures were taken a few years ago.  This time I gave my knee a rest and did not make
the trip up the hill but Ron & Maxine did.

Wagon wheel ruts tell a silent story of emigration.

You can still see the ruts in the grass below as well.

In the same vicinity is Register Cliff.   We camped not far from its base.
The plaque below tells the story...

Some of the names left on the cliff.

The view below shows part of Register Cliff.   The trees in the far distance is the
North Platte River about 100 yards distant from the cliff.

This was a natural choke point where the wagons were concentrated in a narrow area,
and from here they passed behind me and about 1/2 mile further on they crossed 
over the sandstone creating the ruts in the pictures above.

While in Guernsey we visited the Ft Laramie Bridge over the North Platte.
Built in 1876 it was too late to be of great use by emigrants on the Oregon Trail,
but it did play a pivotal role in allowing the US Calvary from nearby Ft Laramie
easy access across the river during the Indian Wars.
It is now one of the oldest US Army Bridges in the US.

After visiting the bridge - we traveled another 2 miles to Ft Laramie.
One of the most famous of the Old West Forts it served as Fort and Trading Post
during the Westward Migration on the Oregon Trail.

Below are some of the houses that constituted "Officers Row"

The Calvary Barracks.
The top floor held an infantry company of about 60 men on each side.
The First Floor contained the Mess Hall and support facilities.

Some interesting copies of diaries and notes in the visitor center.
Click to enlarge and read.

This is the mess hall in the Calvary Barracks.

Here is one of the Wings on the top floor.
Notice that the beds are all made up and have the soldiers equipment such as
Swords, mess kits, pistols, cartridge cases etc.

A local elementary school was visiting and some of the boys underwent
military precision drill instruction.

Our intrepid band of travelers.

We departed Guernsey Wy this morning and now are camped
at Lake Ogallala State Park in Ogallala, Nebraska.

It's a lovely spot on the shore of the lake and shaded by mature Cottonwood trees.
A regular green oasis in the middle of western Nebraska.

We will stay here for the weekend and chill for a few days.

Its about 9pm now and the atmosphere is quite moist....

As if to protest this heavy load of moisture the skies opened up and
we just had a severe thunderstorm lasting 30 minutes with heavy rain lightening and hail.

The forecast is calling for an unsettled night.

Tomorrow we'll see if we have any damage to the F150.
No problem regardless...  that is why they invented insurance.


Someone asked what was wrong with the truck?   
I was concerned about hail damage but in the morning light it seems fine.

The National Weather Service reported that our storm had 70mph winds.   
Storm chasers were all over following this storm and only a few miles from here 
they had 2" sized hail.

1 comment:

  1. Did I miss something about the truck? I even went back to skim over the blog entry and still did not see anything regarding the truck. What happened?

    I absolutely loved reading about your adventures along the Oregon Trail. In many ways I think we can identify with these trailblazers in that we are adventurous travelers. They were indeed the first RVers (although you could hardly call them recreational). But just reading about their issues with weight in their wagons is definitely akin to our modern day weight issues, especially for us full-timer travelers.

    Wow, can't even imagine hauling around 200 pounds of flour and 100 pounds of bacon plus the other stuff. And that was for each person in the family.

    Seeing the Register Cliff reminded me of Inscription Rock in New Mexico. Somehow seeing the physical things such as this just takes me back in time to when they crossed these paths and I almost feel a part of that time knowing this is where they stood, where they camped.

    The diary notes were so very interesting to read. That gives an even more personal connection.

    The plaque on the Register Cliffs put things in perspective for me though. Here I was reading and feeling so adventurous for these, these risk takers who were willing to say goodbye to the lives they knew to start a whole new life but then I was brought to reality when I read about what their arrival meant for the native peoples. So sad.

    I can't wait until we hit the road again, I am sooo ready.

    I keep forgetting to tell you to please send my condolences to Maxine and Ron regarding the loss of their little dog. My heart aches for them. While in Quartzsite this year Maxine and I had a talk about the failing health of our doggies. Within just weeks we said our final goodbye to Millenni and in just months they had to say goodbye to their dog. I am indeed sorry for their loss.

    Safe travel you guys. Hugs to Kate and the Doodles.


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