There are very few turn-outs, but just as I find one along the river our tire-pressure-monitor starts beeping rapidly. I'm so glad we've already found a place to pull off, especially when Bill tells me the reading is 15 pounds in our inside right rear tire!
I check my cell phone and we have no service. Great. But then I look across the road and there's a pay phone right there. I think we can't possibly be any luckier than that. Until Bill comes back in from checking the tires and tells me it's a false alarm. The tire is solid with over 110 pounds. Whew!
Through the town of Loveland, CO, and we're back on Interstate 25 heading north.
In 1993 my sons and I made a ten-state road trip. At one point in our travels we saw "something" on a hillside that we thought was a tree. Then we thought it was a sign, then a buffalo, then we realized it was a buffalo sign. Ever since then, when we would see something along a road and couldn't tell what it was, we'd say "it's a tree.....it's a buffalo!" Silly, but although I didn't remember where it was, it's been a great memory.
As we approach the Wyoming border I see something familiar in the distance. It's a tree......you know what's coming :-)
|That's our buffalo sign!|
Our destination is Wheatland, WY, and my expectations are not high. I'm sure we'll see a lot of flat and dry and brown. But I very much want to see Fort Laramie, so we have reservations for two nights in this little nearby town.
It is beautiful here! After all the congestion of our last three stops, being back in a small, quiet town is heavenly. There are rolling green hills, trees, rivers....and a tornado watch. It's our first, I'm sure we'll remember it.
The watch that is, we don't even get any clouds.
Mountain View RV Park is possibly the strangest "park" we've stayed at. The sites are all on a city street. You pull into your home right off 20th Avenue. There's a nice clean laundry/shower house, but no office. Camp Hosts are easily identified on the corner, and we do the check-in on a clothes dryer in the only building. Level dirt site, 50 amp FHUs, no noise from the interstate, a nice view of open space from our windows. It's great for our needs.
Tuesday morning we head northeast to Fort Laramie. We come to the small town of Guernsey and see signs for a couple historic sites along the Oregon Trail. Let's go see them!
The first is Oregon Trail Ruts. One of several National Historic Trails, at this site the trail was forced away from the North Platte River and crosses a ridge of soft sandstone. It is worn to a depth of up to five feet, and is considered "...some of the most spectacular ruts remaining along the entire length of the Oregon-California Trail." Because of the geography of this area, it was necessary for practically every wagon that went west to cross the ridge at the exact same place - "with impressive results."
|Heights of the "walls" differ along the trail|
There are also interesting wild flowers along the trail.
|Blend of pretty and I will cut you!|
|These little guys looked like periscopes peeking out of the grass|
|Ginormous seed pods - we saw these in Colorado too|
|A wonderful piece of history|
Not surprising, there are more recent inscriptions from the 1920's to 2016. The historic carvings are protected behind tall fences, but it is the circling swallows overhead that are the greatest deterrent from accessing the wall. As soon as I get there I wish I brought an umbrella!
|Hand carved 1868|
|Looking more like stamps, you can see the faint lines drawn as spacers for these more formal letters|
|Plotting their next bombing run from 30-50 feet up the cliff|
|Over a century of recording|
|The Frederick family who donated the site, blew an opening in the cliff to store produce - cool in the summer and frost-free in the winter|
|Every surface inscribed around the opening|
Soon we leave them behind and are enjoying a dirt road through wide open spaces - green plains, rock formations, farm land. We see no other people.
|Stretching our eyes|
|No people, but not alone|
I'm excited to see this piece of history, to walk where Red Cloud negotiated and signed the Treaty of 1868. I have long been a "fan" of this Lakota Chief who made great strides trying to ensure peace for his people without sacrificing their culture. Although short-lived, the treaty not only gave lands and protections to the tribe, it also closed three military installations along the Bozeman Trail. This is the "why" we're here.
Bill and Tessa go check out the Laramie River and lovely park area, and I head to the fort grounds. Entrance is free so I am amazed by the restored buildings, staff in period clothing giving tours and talks and working in the gardens, rooms furnished and staged, and beautifully maintained grounds.
|Bachelor officers' quarters|
|Burt House was built for officers with families|
|Officers' wives brought "culture and style" to the fort|
|Love this old newell post - worn smooth|
|The trading post was stocked for fort residents as well as emigrants passing throuh|
|Many of the larger buildings on "officers row" have been preserved|
|Wives of enlisted men tended gardens, helped with laundry and cooking|
|Weapons magazine - reminder that this was a military installation for most of its "career"|
|Wagon replicas - the original "down-sizing" movement|
|The grounds are beautiful this time of year|
|No need for a lot of detail|
|The interior is all red, white and blue and Bill notes the initials spell FLAG - very clever :-)|
|Huge clouds follow us home|
|Sadly he is in a large fenced pasture, but he is our first bison|
|Gray Rocks Road takes us through more beautiful country|
|and past Gray Rocks Reservoir|