So we woke up Tuesday morning in beautiful Laramie with a plan. We wanted to head out to the Wyoming Territory Prison before we hit the road. What an impressive structure. They have excavated and uncovered a lot of the original structure and then reconstructed it to be an authentic experience. Its most famous prisoner was Butch Cassidy and they have an entire room dedicated to his story. They also had ankle weights, ball and chains, and other devices that were used to maintain order. The volunteer told us that all of these restraints did severe damage to the prisoner wearing them–it was tough to be a prisoner in the Wild West. Some had to make brooms for their job. At its peak, they could make 700 brooms in one day. Worst of all, they didn’t even get to talk…ever!
As we set out toward Nebraska we enjoyed the high plains of Wyoming on our way to the highest elevation pass on I-80. It was at 8,600 feet and while there we stopped to take a picture of “Tree Rock”. Yes, it is growing out of the rock. This whole area was stunning. We then motored on through Cheyenne and it wasn’t long until we were in Nebraska.
Our view was very flat, very straight, with corn as far as the eye can see. We drove all the way to Kearny, Nebraska which was a bit over half way through Nebraska for the night. The weather is hot and humid (not Florida humid), but more than we are used to. On to Day 4…
Another early start- we headed out to Fort Kearny State Historic Park to learn more about the pioneers who were traveling the Oregon Trail. This spot was chosen for a fort because it is where all the trail converged on their way to the West. Its purpose was to offer aid, some support, and protection from Indians if needed. The emigrants saw it as a welcome sight after already being on the trail for months. This was the main fort the plains and it really only lasted about 30 years before the Transcontinental Railroad was complete making the Oregon Trail obsolete. We also made a quick stop at The Great Platte River Road Archway over I-80. It’s a bit of a tourist trap but has some cool museum-like displays and it is a narrated tour so you can really see what it was like to travel the Oregon Trail.
After this we saw endless corn and soybean fields through Nebraska and Iowa. At first it was very flat but toward the end of Nebraska and into Iowa we began to see rolling hills. It really is a beautiful sight. I was hoping for amber waves of grain but instead saw golden tassels of corn and green waves of soybeans everywhere. By the way, I looked up on google to find out what those green, small plants were. We then confirmed it at the local pizza place while eating dinner. We are in Newton Iowa and our campground even has a tornado shelter so no need to worry about us. Tomorrow on to Michigan.