10 Sep 2013

Adventures with Wilbur - pt6 - The Scenic Route

This Wal-Mart wasn't quite as nice.  We couldn't find a place out of the bright, overhead parking lot lights and it was directly on a major road.  Since it was a week day, there was morning traffic.  We were all up, not quite with the sun but for a vacation day, quite early.

We didn't bother with the phone or computer.  It was just assumed that there there were no bars.  So I, being given the job of navigator years ago, got out the maps and noticed that I80 and another road 30 made a rough parallelogram ending just east of Omaha.

Wouldn't it be fun to not have truck traffic tossing us around and not drive through Omaha?  DH was very concerned I would be upset about missing my trip to Archiver's.  I wasn't; we would be passing by on the way back.  What I really wanted was to do something today that was more touristy and less truck driver.  It took a while but I finally convinced him that he would not be held responsible in any way for me missing a trip to the scrapbooking haven. ;)

It was a brand new day, the sun was shining, the birds were singing and it had the makings of being a hot one.  One of the things about growing up in a similar climate, we could 'smell' the heat and humidity that was to come.  Still, the early morning is the best time so off we went to explore.  We had to back track a couple of blocks to 30 and it was somewhat intimidating to try a road that wasn't an interstate.  We did our best to forget Rock Springs. Keep Calm and Travel On.  lol

See what I mean about the green?  The ever expanding patches from yesterday were now one solid patch.  The crops, the corn fields, the architecture, even the types of trees and weeds were familiar.  A few rounds of Sweet Home Alabama were all that were required to boost the going home feeling to the point where we were sure the rest was downhill.  (Quite literally it is lol)

Notice the sky colour has changed?
Definitely homey, next month this would have been a hay wagon.  Farm equipment on the roads used to drive me crazy but this time I enjoyed bouncing along behind them.  It was kind of nice not to be the traffic obstruction for a change.

30 turned out to be a good road.  Not huge and there were still trucks but a much more fun drive.  It's flat and you can see for miles and miles.  I think Sid was intimidated by the landscape.  For the first time, he wasn't eager to get out when we stopped for gas. 

Before we cross the state line, a bit about Nebraska.   There are scenic drives that cross throughout the whole state.   Way back, before we left Santa Clara, I had decided that we would head north a little east of Cheyenne, WY, then through Scottsbluff, NE, north to Alliance, go see Carhenge and then take the Sand Hills Scenic Byway back south.  I had saved the map of the route but completely forgotten about them yesterday. :(  I was overjoyed when I saw the sign that said we were one one of the Scenic Byways, even if it wasn't the one I had planned on.

A little before noon, we came off of the hill and into a river valley.

The 'Engine Braking Prohibited' sign is really the only indication you will have that this was a pretty steep hill.  At the bottom, is a traffic circle with a very clearly posted sign of 25 mph.  Dustin missed that one and we went careening around.  I seriously  thought we were going to tip.  We didn't, but it was break time.

We left Blair, which really didn't have any where for us to stop, crossed the Missouri river,

and found the De Soto National Wildlife Refuge about 6 miles down the road.

It was a really lovely place to spend the early part of the afternoon. Coffees, walking, a museum, lunch, more drinks, bathroom breaks and spending an hour or more talking to the Park Ranger (? don't know if that was his title).  He was hilarious and told us of a campground that was really good nearby but had been flooded out.  If we wanted to come back next year, it would be open.  We might just do that.

I saw a Red-Winged Black Bird,  and Mr. Cardinal.  I didn't see his mate but I sure could hear her.  Familiar fauna too!  Naturally as soon as I got the camera out they disappeared.

Formerly a bird was here. lol
Anyways, Sid picked out a stuffed raccoon to bring home.  I wondered why until last weekend when a family of humpy back cats, as we call them, crossed our parking lot and headed onto the trail that backs our apartment.  Though he can't say it, he was homesick.  The more excited we got to be going home, the more anxious he got.  When we tried to do the outdoor walking tour he wouldn't leave the shade of the trees.  The wide open space really bothered him and we had no trouble when it was time to leave.

This detour reminded me just how accurate John Steinbeck was when he wrote in Travels with Charley.
"I sought out U.S. 90 [actually, I-90], a wide gash of a super-highway, multiple-lane carrier of the nation's goods. Rocinante bucketed along. The minimum speed on this road was greater than any I had previously driven. I drove into a wind quartering in from my starboard bow and felt the buffeting, sometimes staggering blows of the gale I helped to make . . . . Instructions screamed at me from the road: "Do not stop! No stopping. Maintain speed." Trucks as long as freighters went roaring by, delivering a wind like the blow of a fist. These great roads are wonderful for moving goods but not for inspection of a countryside. You are bound to the wheel and your eyes to the car ahead and to the rear-view mirror for the car behind and the side mirror for the car or truck about to pass, and at the same time you must read all the signs for fear you may miss some instructions or orders. No roadside stands selling squash juice, no antique stores, no farm products or factory outlets. When we get these thruways across the whole country, as we will and must, it will be possible to drive from New York to California without seeing a single thing."
Well once we were back on the road, it wasn't long until we were on I80 being tossed around by trucks.  We promised ourselves that we would stay off the interstates unless necessary.  It was much more fun and interesting on the secondary roads.  Unfortunately this trip it was necessary.  There were just too many miles left to hit stops signs and go through towns all the way. :(


  1. How sweet of him to worry about you missing your trip to A's. Neat account and love your pictures along the way.

  2. i too would rather drive the secondary highways as there is more to see, and more pit stops :)
    I love that your hubby was worried about you missing Archivers...I get to go to one on Saturday :)


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