June 6, 2015 – Statues and Water Towers Sunny skies greeted us as we got up and out early this morning to continue our sojourn across I-80. With a long day of driving ahead of us, I sought out quirky quick on and off the interstate things to see to break up the drive. We were quickly across the Mississippi River and into Iowa. Folks who have been around a while will remember the Sinclair gas stations of years ago. I our area they have all become BP gas stations, but in other areas they still exist complete with their famous Dino logo. We found on just outside of Iowa City so we had to visit him. Then just about around the corner was what is claimed to be the world’s largest wooden nickel. It is 16 feet in diameter and weighs two tons. It was sculpted to allude to the wooden coin IOU’s given out by failed banks during the 1930’s. Farther down the road another wooden sculpture depicts a cowboy with saddle in hand looking in the distance perhaps with longing to push further into the frontier. Windmill Blade at an Iowa Rest Stop Then came the first of several interesting water towers. These tall structures stand out on the skyline of the prairie states and the one in Adair, Iowa makes you smile with its smiley face. In the same town is the site of the first train robbery which occurred in I873 when Jesse James and his gang robbed the train in Adair. A train track, wheel and plaque marks the place. A might big stalk of corn at Agri-Symbol Park Into Nebraska Omaha welcomes folks with a train. The Sapp Brothers water tower in Omaha also brings a smile as a large coffee pot sits high in the air. Who would think you would see a lighthouse in the middle of Nebraska, but in Linoma by Linoma Beach stands the lighthouse built in 1939 which stands 100 feet in the air for all the boats on the lake beside the lighthouse. The last water tower to loom in front of us was in the town of York and has a colorful hot air balloon design. The sunny skies soon clouded over and for much of the trip we had clouds and off and on rain, but by the time we got to our campground the rain had ended and the sun had returned. Tomorrow we push on across I-80 toward Wyoming again
June 7, 2015 – Along the Great Platt River Road
Another day of driving was planned, so we arose early, unhooked and hit the road. I-80 follows the Platt River which created the natural pathway for the settlers who traveled west. Part of the Oregon Trail followed along this route. Thus I-80 is called the Great Platt River Road. Coming from the east we first encountered the Great Platt River Road Archway Monument which spans the highway.
Along the highway at various rest stops we found unique sculptures. One, entitled the Nebraskan Gateway Sculpture, was constructed for the U.S. bicentennial celebration out of Vermont granite. The granite was to signify a gateway into the Nebraskan spirit. In a second rest stop was the Up/Over sculpture, an arch constructed of aluminum, designed to take you eye from the ground to the sky and back.
In between these sculptures we stopped at the original Pony Express station in Gothenburg, NE. We had stopped here in 1971 when we made a trip to Yellowstone and thought it would be fun to stop again. We went on to North Platt to see the Union Pacific Challenger 3977 built in 1943 and retired in 1961. With Fred’s interest in trains this was a must do.
I am always on the lookout for critters along the road and today the most interesting critters were the wild turkeys wandering the fields. On fellow was strutting his stuff. I shot many of these pictures as we are driving they are not always the clearest photos.
The weather started out sunny but soon rain clouds built to the west and we encountered rain showers several times. One of these showers provided us with rainbow.
After hours of driving we finally made it to Wyoming. We passed a howling wolf perched on the top of a hill, a tree growing out of a rock which was saved by the Union Pacific Railroad which ran close by, the Ames Monument which was dedicated to Oakes and Oliver Ames who helped with the building of the Union Pacific Railroad, and finally a Monument to Lincoln at rest stop. The Lincoln head originally sat at the highest point on the Lincoln Highway in Wyoming until I-80 was completed and it was moved to a bigger audience.
Snow covered mountains
Tomorrow we hope to travel to Salt Lake City and make a visit to Temple Square seeking out the neat little things along the way
June 8, 2015 – The Trail to Salt Lake City
Our goal for today was Salt Lake City. The cool weather we awoke to was a bit shocking but at least the skies were clear, and we hoped they would stay that way. Driving through southwestern Wyoming is not the most exciting drive. The area is populated with ranches with a small town thrown in here and there. Most of the pictures until we reached Salt Lake City were through the windshield, snapped on the move.
We finally saw a few critters, namely pronghorns and prairie dogs. The pronghorns grazed with along with the cattle, some even laying with the calves. We drove by several prairie dog villages as well.
For part of the drive through Wyoming, snow covered mountains followed along. One place we did find to stop was the Point of Rocks Overland Stage Station. One building has been restored but all that remains of the second are some partial walls.
Fred returning from finding a geocache.
We arrived early enough into Salt Lake City to catch the shuttle the campground offers to go into Temple Square. We took a brief tour and then wandered Temple Square and the nearby cemetery where Brigham Young is buried. We had dinner at the Lion House part of Brigham Young’s home.
Brigham Young’s House
Brigham Young’s Grave
Tomorrow we will head into Nevada before heading north into Oregon.