Friday, June 16, 2017

(24) Medicine Bow, Wyoming to Sydney, Nebraska

June 15, 2017

Summit Tavern once stood atop Sherman Hill
We awoke on June 15 and left Medicine Bow before 7:30. I'm not sure that the hotel was any more comfortable than our tent trailer, but it was nice not to have to break camp in order to get on the road. I walked around the town a little bit and took some photographs and added them to yesterday's blog before we got on the road.

The "Oldest House" in the world, built 1933 

Close up of the fossil House
Our first stop was the little town of Como Bluff Wyoming. It almost seems to stretch to even call it a town. There were a few buildings on one side of the road. One building was called the Fossil Cabin was constructed of fossils taken from the nearby Como Butte. The cabin was built in 1933 but was featured in a 1950s Ripley's Believe It or Not as the oldest house in the world. Ripley was playing with the age of the fossils, not the date that the fossils were added to the house.

Thunderbird Lodge, Laramie

We proceeded down Highway 30 toLaramie, home of the University of Wyoming. We then headed east towards Sherman Hill. Sherman Hill is the highest point on the Lincoln Highway. It features a monument to Abraham Lincoln as well as a Henry Joy Memorial.

Henry Joy Monument

A somber Abe Lincoln

After Sherman Hill we drove to the Ames Monument which was located on what was then the highest point on the transcontinental railroad. The Ames Monument was paid for by Union Pacific to recognize the Ames brothers for their efforts in securing funding for the transcontinental railroad and also for their considerable contributions to the effort. The Ames monument is meant to blend with the surrounding rock formations

Me standing at base of Ames Monument for perspective

Lobby of Plains Hotel

Depot in Cheyenne

Lincoln Theatre

Dennis showing of the elevator in the
Majestic Building
We got back on the freeway and headed towards Cheyenne. In Cheyenne we toured the depot, the Plains Hotel and the majestic building. While we were standing outside the Majestic building Dennis, who works there, asked us if we would like a tour. He took us inside and proudly showed us the oldest manually operated elevator west of the Mississippi. Dennis manages the Majestic to supplement his retirement income. He is proud of his building, his elevator and his city.

Before leaving Cheyenne, we also photographed the Lincoln theater and stopped to see The Big Boy. Big Boy is the largest steam locomotive ever built.
Big boys examining the Big Boy
It was specifically built by Union Pacific to haul loads of freight up Sherman grade. It seems that the Rocky Mountains and the Sierra Nevada both required specialty built locomotives to pull the freight to the top of the steep summits. The Union Pacific had Big Boy and the Southern Pacific had a Cab Forward which was similar to Big Boy but had the engineer at the front of the locomotive. This was because of the many tunnels over the Sierra Nevada. There was a danger of crews becoming asphyxiated in the long tunnels and snow sheds of Donner Pass
"Wait! Wasn't that Tree Rock?"

After Cheyenne we drove quickly to the Wyoming – Nebraska border. It was good by Wyoming and hello to the cornhusker state.

We didn't make it far into Nebraska. A few miles over the border I exited Highway 80 and opted for US 30. I was surprised what a difference this made in the trip and in my well-being.

Interstate 80 in Western Nebraska
Highway 80 it seems dominates the land. In addition the huge trucks, operating at high speeds, make for frayed nerves. I knew that I wanted to drive 2-lane roads on this trip but I didn't realize how much more I would enjoy them over the interstate . Driving a US Highway makes one feel like he is part of the surrounding landscape and towns. Driving the Interstate makes you feel like you are cutting through it and that you need to make up for lost time. The Interstate dominates the landscape both visually and with its relentless din. It is a beast that never sleeps.

Culvert from Lincoln Highway Days
We drove along Highway 30 until we reached our destination of Sydney Nebraska. Sydney is home of Cabela's sporting goods. In other words this is the mothership.

Cabela's, the Mothership

The Cabela's at Sydney features a campground. We stayed there and found it very noisy.
Tomorrow we will drive further east and hopefully further from the dominating interstate.

1 comment:

  1. When I was small and Interstates through Wyoming were maybe on the drawing board, maybe, we were traveling on yet another cross country trip and passed through Painted Post, Wyoming, population 2. Bet there are parts that haven't changed that much in the past 60 years. Having driven across Nebraska many times, you have all my sympathies.