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Keep the Show on the Road!

042508 Ft Laramie, Oregon Trail, Mystery Bridge On The Hypotenuse Trail

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First, the route today was from Scottsbluf,f Nebraska, through Guernsey, then down to Wheatland, Wyoming, southwest to the Lincoln Highway bow, through Medicine Bow, Rawlings, and into Lander.

 

The highway numbers in order are US26 to Guernsey, State 320 to Wheatland, , State 312, State 34, US 30 (Lincoln Highway) through Medicine Bow, I-80 (Ugh!) for 13 miles to Sinclair, State 76 to Rawlins, and US 87 to Lander, WY.

 

It included 13 miles along the “Trail of Shame” (as in "It's a shame) on Interstate 80, because, as you may remember, that is the only way to get between Walcott and Sterling without an airplane. I suppose I could have detoured down to Saratoga, then across a dirt road in possible snow, then back up to Rawlings. In fact I probably should have, because I would have stayed in Rawlins (where no snow is to fall tonight) instead of in the path of a now predicted sky dump of snow here tonight

 

I checked with the National Weather Service web site 4pm to decide whether to stay in Rawlins or Lander. At 4PM they were predicting less than an inch of snow accumulation around Lander tonight and 2 inches at Rawlins. They are now, at 7PM, predicting 3 to 8 inches of snow accumulation around Lander by morning! And no snow at Rawlins. And me with Florida tires!

 

I guess all that says is don’t count on the weather report when it is late April in the Rockies! To add to the fun, the State bowling championship is here tomorrow, so I can’t even hunker down in my motel….no room at the inn! I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the snow plows are out early.

 

What would travel be without the little annoyances! Today I followed much of the Oregon Trail taken by the pioneers….imagine their annoyances!

 

Not far out of Scottsbluff is Fort Laramie, a legend for me because it appears so often in descriptions of fur trapping days, and the migration to the west. Just about everyone passed by here on the way west.

 

Some of the buildings at the fort date back as far as the 1840’s when the Oregon Trail was still fairly new. And of course the setting is evocative. I had the place to myself for about half an hour…then a school bus arrived. The panorama is poor, but necessary to capture the setting.

 

I picked up Gregory Franzwa’s detailed 400+ pages The Oregon Trail Revisited at the visitor’s center. If you are not an Oregon Trail fan, you may none the less recognize him from his series on the Lincoln Highway. I have met the man only once, at a Lincoln Highway convention, but he has long been my “hero” among trail authors.

 

I followed his directions and followed the Oregon Trail itself for a short distance….by that I mean a dirt road that runs on top the old trail route. Then I went to the Oregon Trail Ruts State Park south of Guernsey. Tens of thousands of wagons, horse, oxen, mules, and people wore a deep cut through solid rock at this site. It is often photographed, but being there was awe inspiring. I almost had it to myself, with one other family just behind me who allowed me to take pictures before they hiked through the cut.

 

I went from there to Register Rock where pioneers carved their names into the soft stone of the cliff face. Before you get to the fenced area that protects the old inscriptions, you pass by a cliff face inscribed by modern passers by. Some things never change!

 

I stopped at the “mystery bridge” across the North Platte between Walcott and Sterling on the alignment of at least US 30…..and judging by the width of the roadbed, maybe the Lincoln Highway as well. However, I seem to recall that the route through Ft Steel wasn’t abandoned until the 1930’s, which would make the steel truss bridge post “official” LH days. There is another bridge just a few hundred yards further east which has old wooden rails....so can anyone help with the story?

 

ARFortPano.jpg

 

AROTRuts.jpg

 

ARUS30Bridge.jpg

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7AM 4/26

 

Happy to report that it is sunny, cold, and only about an inch of snow fell overnight.

 

The sun shines on the Hypotenuse!

 

Here is a shot out the motel door.

 

Now on to the Grand Teton NP. Wyoming has an excellent Dept of Transportation site, with cameras and extensive , near real time road reports. I can expect the usual slick roads after a snow, but it looks doable in Florida tires.

 

Saddly South Pass looks a bit grim, so it may have to wait for another trip.

 

Keep the Show on the Road

 

Dave

 

ARLanderMotel.jpg

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My question is: When sun shines on the Hypotenuse, does the light slide off? :huh:

 

I love that steel bridge! But I'm sorry that you ended up having to follow the superslab, if even for 13 miles. Was the Lincoln Highway buried under any of those miles, at least?

 

That rut-cut in the rock is something else.

 

jim

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It is said, that one can stand on the old trail, on a dark and quiet night, and hear the crack of the wagoneers whips and the soft lowing of cattle and oxen, as ghostly wagons move west.

 

But maybe that's just tourist hype - or not.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

Edited by Alex Burr - hester_nec

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My question is: When sun shines on the Hypotenuse, does the light slide off? :huh:

 

I love that steel bridge! But I'm sorry that you ended up having to follow the superslab, if even for 13 miles. Was the Lincoln Highway buried under any of those miles, at least?

 

That rut-cut in the rock is something else.

 

jim

 

Jim,

 

The Lincoln was under the interstate. Brian Butko suggested that I acknowledge that, and perhaps forgive myself my transgression :D

 

I think Ivory hand soap was 99.9% pure. I'm 99.5% pure. Close enough!

 

When I get home, I will post the wooden bridge just to the east. It may be more interesting than the steel bridge.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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It is said, that one can stand on the old trail, on a dark and quiet night, and hear the crack of the wagoneers whips and the soft lowing of cattle and oxen, as ghostly wagons move west.

 

But maybe that's just tourist hype - or not.

 

Hudsonly,

Alex Burr

Memphis, TN

 

Alex,

 

I like that!!! Tourist hype or not, I bet if you did stand there on a dark and quiet night, your mind would create the sounds for you. It was a great place to see.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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I say you just call those Interstate miles "extreme improvements to the Lincoln" and be done with it.

 

Jim,

 

I like it...but "improvements?" How about calling it a "test section?"

 

I was surprised almost immediately when I got on the 13 mile I-80 section after driving 3000 miles off the interstates. The road bed was smooth, and I really was detached from the surroundings, not to mention that they were inaccessable. The two lane roads were for the most part excellent, so smooth was not an issue. But detached is. The difference is amazing, and it really hit me on that one section.

 

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

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Jim,

 

The Lincoln was under the interstate. Brian Butko suggested that I acknowledge that, and perhaps forgive myself my transgression :D

 

I think Ivory hand soap was 99.9% pure. I'm 99.5% pure. Close enough!

 

When I get home, I will post the wooden bridge just to the east. It may be more interesting than the steel bridge.

 

Keep the Show on the Road!

 

Dave

 

 

I really appreciate the bridge pictures, Dave. Finances are keeping me from doing much traveling, so I've been taking virtual tours of faraway places via GoogleEarth:) I've opened a folder called "Bridges Around the World" where I've been stashing every bridge picture I can find. Your pictures are going there too! I'm sure the pictures you're posting ar not any I could find on GoogleEarth:) Thanks again!

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I really appreciate the bridge pictures, Dave. Finances are keeping me from doing much traveling, so I've been taking virtual tours of faraway places via GoogleEarth:) I've opened a folder called "Bridges Around the World" where I've been stashing every bridge picture I can find. Your pictures are going there too! I'm sure the pictures you're posting ar not any I could find on GoogleEarth:) Thanks again!

 

I need to watch the dollars too, but I decided that with nursing homes running $250 a day, I would rather travel a few more weeks now, and die a few weeks earlier later!

 

I did a few more bridges that haven't gotten posted. It is hard for me to pass a steel truss without taking pictures, and anything with a date before 1930 will stop me in my tracks. I promise to post the wooden bridge just east of this bridge because its railings look "original"

 

Keep the Show on the Road.

 

Dave

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