Wednesday, July 8, 2009

On the Road Again

(Chuck) We left Jan’s parents with a tear and a smile. It will be quite a while before we return and we will miss them, but we felt that their health had stabilized and they were in good hands. A visiting nurse and a local assistant to clean and cook will help them.

The next two days were spent at Yellowsmoke with good friends. Our camping buddies have been great friends and we will miss the early morning coffee and the evening meals we shared.

This journey will take us first through the Black Hills of South Dakota. This area is special. It is not the Rocky Mountains, but a more subtle beauty of pine forest, rock formations and that clear mountain air that we all devour with a smile. We have six weeks to get to Seattle so that means we can take our time and enjoy the red roads, driving 55 and the scenery on the back country roads. This is one of the first trips through Nebraska that we have actually enjoyed; this time we were on Highway 20 which brought us through the Sand Hills. This area is a region of mixed-grass prairie in north-central Nebraska, covering just over one quarter of the state. The dunes, covered by grass, are up to 300 feet in height. The area looks like a gently rolling pasture land which is home to more cattle than people in the area. I was surprised to see such lush pasture in the heat of July.

Often times there is a unexpected stop along the way that will capture you. Tuesday it was The Museum of the Fur Trade which is located on the East side of Chadron, Nebraska. We spent almost two hours there and enjoyed every minute. The location is the site of a trading post that operated from1837 to 1872. The fur trade was the main economy of the West. Before Lewis and Clark led their explorers to the Pacific traders bought fur from the Native tribes and traded guns, blankets, whiskey, hatchets, beads and other goods supplied by the growing country. Displays included the history of the Hudson Bay blankets, the transportation by canoe which was very important in bringing the fur and hides to market. Several hundred examples of Indian trade guns which were manufactured specifically for the Indian trade. Knives kettles, beads and cloth provided the economic engine to open the West.

1 comment:

Jim and Bobbie said...

Thanks for always posting a comment to our blog hearing from you. Any chance of your driving through southern Colorado on your way west? We'd dearly love to see you. We are currently planning on being in Quartzsite/Yuma area January-February; then maybe Lake Havasu in Feb-Mar. Bobbie

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