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Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Out West on the Lincoln Highway


September 9,2014 Comfort Inn Room 116 Ogallala, Nebraska ( The start of Week 2!)

Have not a clue what possessed us to stay up til 12:30 this morning watching Julie Andrews and Mary Tyler Moore in Perfectly Modern Millie, but we did, got up early and are exhausted tonight.  Please excuse typos, not only because of fatigue, but  also because I’m typing on the bed, there being no desk in this room.

Back in June of 2000, an unusual museum was opened in Kearney, Nebraska. It is The Great Platte River Road Archway which literally straddles Interstate 80. Barb and I had heard of it and hoped to visit on our first trip in Sept of 2000. but we arrived in Kearney at 5pm on a Saturday evening and it was closed for the day. We hoped to visit the next morning but, unfortunately, it opened around 11 and we chose not to hang around.  I was able to visit it in 2004 on the way back from taking Bets to college in Montana.  Bill and I stopped once after that but they closed in the winter starting in October.  Finally, we are here on the right day, at the right time, in the right season and Barb has gotten to see this neat place.

The theme of the museum is Westward Expansion starting with the Mormon treks and other wagon train incursions. It continues through the development of the telegraph and the short lived Pony Express. Then the major development of the transcontinental railroad and eventually the opening of the Lincoln Highway such as it was in its early years.

Barb bought a Kearney Community cookbook,which she is now reading. I say reading because the first 25 pages or more are dedicated to the history of Kearney, Nebraska, which is where the Archway is located. I’ll have to borrow that on the trip.

As we left Kearney the skies opened with rumbling rolling thunder and great bolts of lightening, It is quite a show with no mountains or hills to obscure the sky. We were travelling I 80 and I suggested that we get onto Rte 30, which is the Lincoln Highway and tends not to have as much truck traffic. We also considered holing up in North Platte and making it an indoors reading day. But by the time we arrived at Buffalo Bill’s Ranch, which we’ve visited before, the rain had stopped.  I replaced the hat I’d bought Bill all those years ago and which he lost in a shop in Louisiana several years later. We did enjoy going through the house again and remembering our Grandmother telling us about the show Bill brought to the OLD Madison Square Garden –the Indians and the music and the horses and the soldiers and the excitement of it all. He was the PT Barnum of Western fantasy, in my mind. It must have been a real spectacle. We bought the CD of the original music and it is quite stirring—lots of Offenbach!!—and several pieces written by his band leader, Bill Sweeney—one of which he called The Two Bills Two Step.

Before we left the Ranch, I called ahead and made our reservations in Ogallala and here we are for tonight. Tomorrow we head up the Platte, which I’m sure is as dry as ever and go to Scott’s Bluff, which I’ve been to visit several times but also Agate National Monument. Let’s see if we can get in to see all that fine Indian beadwork they have hidden away!

For now, it is tuna fish time and a look at what might be interesting on TV. Good night from the Northeastern Western Emigrant Sisters, Kathy and Barb

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