Thursday, October 9, 2014

On The Oregon Trail - Part I

Two weeks ago after watching granddaughter, Dominique*, run her last cross-country meet here in town, we set off for Oregon to see daughter Kari and son-in-law Ken in their new home in Portland. To quote Jerry Reed in 'East Bound and Down' from Smokey & The Bandit, "We've got a long way to go and a short time to get there!" As navigator and chief planner, I broke the roughly 1800 miles into three days of 600 miles each and started booking overnight stops.
The first of which was Cheyenne, Wyoming. It takes us a day or two to get our 'traveling legs' under us. At the end of that first day all we wanted was a bed and a good night's sleep. Packed up and back on I-80 early the next morning, the first thing I noted of interest was an old one room country school with what looked like a dome setting in the school yard. There was no signage so, like with many more such unknown sites along the route, I made a note to see if I could find information about it when we got home.

TGFTI - "Thank goodness for the internet." And thanks to 'Stefanie' and 'Roadside America', I learned that the dome I saw was actually the cupola from the 1917 Cheyenne Capitol dome. The granite school dates from 1892. This site is on the south side of I-80 about 20 miles west of Cheyenne.

Further along between Cheyenne and Laramie - about 10 miles east of Laramie is this giant Lincoln statue at the Summit Rest Stop. Sculpted by Robert Russin in 1959 to commemorate Lincoln's 150th birthday, it was moved to the rest stop after the interstate was built to mark the highest point on the Lincoln Highway (Hwy 30).

For me, the most intriguing unknown site about another 30 miles down the road - just east of the Carbon County, WY line,  was this obvious grave site:

Another one to make note of and look up when I got home. TGFTI again. It is the grave of Clement S. Bengough, a titled Englishman who traded his life in a castle for a ranch in Wyoming.
After seeing this large marker I could not help but think of all the hundreds, if not thousands, of unmarked graves along the Oregon Trail. I also thought of how we were zipping along at 80 mph covering in one hour what probably took the pioneers eight to ten days to travel.

We saw a number of antelope on the plains of western Wyoming. I kept trying to get a picture of some and missed a really good shot with antelope, cows and horses all together. I do have one picture in which I 'think' there is an antelope but it could be a rock. At least I can for certain identify the animals in this photo:

The end of day two saw us in Jerome, Idaho where our trusted steed, Sally, 'threw a shoe'. More about that tomorrow.

(*Instead of using one of the photos I took of Dominique at the cross-country meet, I opted to use one of her senior pictures in her x-c uniform. It shows what a beautiful young woman she is.)

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