Southwest – Day 22

Southwest USA

Retirement Trip

September 2019

29 Days – 6,500 Miles – 19 States

7 National Parks

Several State Parks – 6,000+ Photos

1 Trillion Insects Squished by Car Windshield

 From 108 Degrees to Snow

From 282 Feet Below Sea Level to 12,000+ Feet

Bison, Elk, Prairie Dogs, Lizards, Wild Horses

Elvis, Aliens, John Wayne Westerns

Walking In The Footsteps of Forrest Gump

And More! 


Loveland, Colorado to North Platte, Nebraska via Old Rt 30 – Lincoln Highway
This morning, we said our goodbyes to Jean and Lee (and Gherkin!). We really enjoyed our visit with them.
Today we are driving to North Platte, Nebraska, which is about halfway to our home from 1996-1999 at Offutt Air Force Base near Omaha.
Our plan is to go north for a short bit and see the far Southeast corner of Wyoming before getting on the old
Lincoln Highway (Rt 30) 2-lane through farmland and fields of Nebraska. 
Just north of Loveland is this Budweiser plant.
Too early in the morning for a factory tour and free samples.  Dang! 
Heading north on I-25 toward Wyoming.
Hard to imagine the 12,000-foot peaks of Rocky Mountain NP are just 30 miles to the west. 
We have seen a lot of different landscapes in Colorado – from prairies and fertile farmland to high, rocky peaks.
As we get closer to Wyoming, we start to see some rocky bluffs.
Keep going straight north for 250 miles and these rocks grow much larger –  Mt Rushmore and the Black Hills.
Approaching the border of Wyoming.  What is this up ahead? That’s the largest bison I have ever seen.
A closer look reveals it is actually a wooden “statue” built to camouflage a cell tower. 
(Look closely and you can see the vertical segments of the tower.
There is a bison farm here, so it fits right into the countryside.
Welcome to Wyoming.  It’s our 14th state on this trip.
Sorry, we’ll only be here about an hour. 
Just a few miles north in Cheyenne, this friendly guy welcomes everyone to the Wyoming Visitor Center.
Inside the Wyoming Visitor Center, there is a large display describing how this state is famous for its
dinosaur discoveries.  Apparently, it was quite a popular place in its day. 
Wyoming was also a popular route for the early settlers on their way to Oregon.
I’m sure many of them looked around at Wyoming and said, “This looks pretty nice. Let’s stay here.”
Stories about the early travelers.
The fashion police threw me in jail for wearing black socks with running shoes. 
At Cheyenne, WY, we turned east on I-80.  It’s about 40 miles to Nebraska and where we get off onto the Lincoln Highway (Rt 30).
Quite a change in scenery over the past few days from Arches NP and Rocky Mountain NP.
Although it looks like “the prairies”, we are still at 5,300-5,500 feet elevation (higher than the highest point in West Virginia!)


At the last exit eastbound in Wyoming, we got off at Pine Bluffs to get on the Lincoln Highway (Rt 30).

We much prefer taking the 2-lane back roads rather than the interstates.

Welcome to Pine Bluffs, Wyoming.  It’s definitely an agricultural town.
Just ahead, we will turn right on Rt 30 as it parallels the interstate.

One of the highlights in Pine Bluffs is the Texas Trail Museum.  It was closed when we went by, but looks interesting.
On the side of the building, these cattle branding marks were displayed. 
Just around the corner from the museum is this old “time capsule”.
There was a ton of old stuff from the mid 1900s gas stations and more.
I could spend an entire day here!!
I thought some of the items looked better in Black & White, so I’ve included both color and B&W – I’ll let you decide.

Mmmmm……   Tetraethyl Lead.  (Not sold since 1976)

Final sale:   $9.00 for 34 gallons.  Those were the days!

There were other items lying around, like this old sewing machine.

And this old wringer washing machine. 

Close-up of the wringer washer.

I’m going to have to drive out to Wyoming sometime so I can spend a day here looking through “stuff”.

In the meantime, we still have quite a way to go, so it’s back in the car.  For now.


We pulled out of town and were now on the Lincoln Highway (Rt 30).

The Lincoln Highway is one the oldest transcontinental highways in the US. It opened in 1913 and runs 3,389 miles from Times Square in New York City to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, California.  It was America’s first national memorial to President Lincoln, predating the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. by 9 years.

It’s interesting to note that this road (along with other cross-country routes like the National Road Rt 40) was built in part on old wagon trails that became obsolete when the railroads offered much quicker transportation to the west.  Then, 60-70 years later, many parts of these roads are nearly abandoned and used very little because the interstates supplanted them.  Yet, some sections are still very busy.   

Read more about the Lincoln Highway Rt 30 – 

As we were leaving Pine Bluffs, we saw this large figure from a distance. As we got closer, we found this interesting stop.
(This is why it takes us all day to go 284 miles)
From their website:
Ted and Marjorie Trefen of Cheyenne, Wyoming talked about erecting a Marian Shrine in Wyoming for many years.  After touring numerous shrines of the Old World, including Medjugorje, Lourdes, and Fatima, the vision became a reality.
Robert Fida was commissioned to design and sculpture Our Lady Of Peace.  The sculpture weighs 180 tons and stands over 30 feet tall. It is one of the largest Marian Statues in the United States.
Ted Trefen passed away shortly after the completion of the project, but Marjorie and her 7 children maintain the site.
For more information:  
This is why we skip the interstates whenever possible.  You miss neat things like this. 
Next to the Our Lady Of Peace Shrine is this old gas station that straddles the Wyoming-Nebraska state line.

If you look closely, you will see a line painted down the middle of the building with NEB on one side and WYO on the other.
I bet it was funny to watch if gas was cheaper in one state. 
Time to keep moving east.
Looking back and saying “Goodbye” to Wyoming.
And turning around and looking east into Nebraska – our 15th state on this trip.
Although we are in Nebraska, we are still 440 miles from our destination for tomorrow (near Omaha). 
That’s why we are splitting it up and staying in North Platte tonight.  It’s only 180 miles to go from here.
A common scene across Nebraska.   Bushnell, Nebraska.
We have seen more trains in the past few weeks than in our whole life. 
It seems like we pass one every 30 minutes. 
Bushnell, Nebraska

Scene from days gone by – an old drive-in movie theatre.  Near Kimball Nebraska.

Hmmm….  that looks odd.
I’d say either there is a strong wind from the west, or the builders were making something besides feed out of their corn.
Another common scene along the railways – grain storage. 
Local boy does good. 
Irrigation flume as discussed in previous photo.
Now, the farmers use these to water the fields.
Another common scene along back roads in Nebraska.
These windmills pump water up for the cattle.
Welcome to Sidney, Nebraska. 
Small town values – Big Time Opportunities.
Apparently, things move at a pretty relaxed pace in Sidney. 
Another relic of better days on the Lincoln Highway. 

We stopped at this roadside marker and found an interesting bit of history.

In the 2nd photo, you can see the trail going over the hill in the distance.

Only 32 miles to North Platte and the hotel!  And supper!


Here’s another reason to skip the interstates.
As we approached the small town of Sutherland, we passed this old gas station.  Gotta stop!
Next to the gas station was this nice mural. 
The artists’ signatures and date (2013)
Plaque on the mural tells the story. 

Continuing east on Lincoln Highway.  North Platte – straight ahead.
We have fond memories of all the cornfields in Nebraska. 


Tonight, we are staying at North Platte, located near the center of Nebraska.

We saw signs for the “Golden Spike Museum” and wondered.  We thought (correctly) that the Golden Spike
connecting the rails to the west coast was in Utah (Promontory Summit), so we wondered what this was.
Turns out this Golden Spike Museum is a railroad museum, but not the location of the real “Golden Spike”.
Hmmmm…  kind of sneaky.  But, while you’re here, you can pay $$ and climb the tower to look at the big rail yard across the road.
No thanks.  Bye-bye.
North Platte is home to the largest railroad yard in the world!  Yes, the entire world!
For as far as you could see, there were hundreds of locomotives and rail cars waiting to be serviced.
I didn’t know there were this many locomotive cars in the entire country. 
It was getting late and we were hungry.  On the way to the hotel, we spotted this family restaurant that looked good.
No fast food or chain restaurants for us tonight.
And, yet, another reason to skip the interstates.  Small town diners.
Very reasonable prices, so Beth got the small steak with corn and mashed potatoes (real, not instant).
I was hungry and splurged $2 more for the medium steak.  It was delicious!

From there, we checked into our hotel for the night.  Tired, but our tummies were full.

Hope you  enjoyed riding with us today.  Please join us tomorrow as we visit our old home near Offutt AFB (1996-1999).

Mileage Today:  284 Miles

Trip Total:   5,063 Miles