Beneath Scotts Bluff, Nebraska: We are camped at the base of a towering bluff that once stood as a major landmark to pioneers traveling west in wagon trains. My great, great grandmother would have passed this way and stared up at it in awe with the welcome knowledge that she had left the Great Plains behind. And, indeed, we too are breathing a huge sigh of relief, glad to be back in our much loved west. The bluff was named after an employee of a fur trading company who had the misfortune to die not far from where we are camped. He likely would have been glad to live on and leave the bluff with someone else’s name. I, for one, prefer the Native American name, Me-a-pa-te, which translates ‘hill that is hard to go around.’
It has been an interesting couple of weeks as we have made our way west from Virginia. This past week we kept ahead of a major storm that whipped through the Midwest with winds up to 100 MPH. We also avoided numerous motorcyclists— most with a similar look and without helmets— as they dashed around us on their way to Sturgis, South Dakota and whatever fate awaited them.
Yesterday was particularly interesting. We started our day at Buffalo Bill’s historic ranch camped out on the North Platte River and then hopped on one of America’s most historic backroads, US 30, otherwise know as the Lincoln Highway. It was America’s first cross-country road. But that’s only a small part of its history. For thousands of years it served as a major route for Native Americans. In the 1850s it was part of the Oregon Trail. Pony Express riders used it on their two year ride to glory and the nation’s first transcontinental railroad was built beside it. In 1908 it became part of the greatest road trip/road race ever, the New York to Paris Road Race, which will be the subject of my next blog.
But today, it’s time to say goodby to Arches National Park.
NEXT POST: What better place to start posts from our present journey around the US than what I consider to be one of the greatest road trip/races of all-time: The 1908 race around the world from New York to Paris. I’ve been meaning to do this blog ever since I came across the winner of the race at the National Auto Museum this time last summer. It’s epic!
39 thoughts on “Adios Arches… Hello Road Trip”
Never enough rock pictures!
(Wonder how many buffs in the country are named “Me-a-pa-te”?)
The old roads are often the most interesting – with the ghosts of history’s stories waiting there.
Galveston has a giant motorcycle rally each year, too. When we see similar incoming riders, I say fine – be free no hemet or protective gear -, but darn it have enough in the bank/insurance so you can pay for medical treatment instead of sticking the hospital /taxpayers/community you don’t even live in with the bill….COVID just add more fun.(That poor town. They thought about trying to cancel it, but the bikers wold show up anyway…tourists have been such a problem with spreading)
Enjoy the trip!
Resembling a tourist, grin, I might add tourist who don’t social distance, wear a mask, shop once a week, don’t eat out and avoid confined spaces. Grin.
And I happen to be with you on the helmet business. In fact I believe anyone should be able to do anything they want as long as it doesn’t harm other people. Is your best friend a sheep. Fine. 🙂 With motorcycles, their insurance premiums should match the amount of risk they take. I could see creating special insurance groups for people in high risk categories where the risk is totally and individual choice. Not sure the insurance companies would like that. –Curt
You guys aren’t the typical tourists this summer. (mainly because of the era you grew up in – when children were taught to pick up litter and take care to leave a place cleaner than it was when you got there. Those were such common mantras – despite the fact that some today think “protect the environment/habitats/species” messages were just discovered yesterday. (double sigh…do we have to keep inventing the wheel?)
The CO trails (and many places in NM according to friends) have apparently never seen so much litter, behind the bush/along the trail potty stop leavings, and graffiti. Maybe excused from masks on trail – if keeping distance ( which is not happening), but apparently many refuse to wear them in the tourist towns/.restaurants – and were quite condescending/rude telling locals they were stupid to wear masks. Ugly Americans at home., Sigh.
Back roads are the best. Travel on!
Back roads are indeed the best. We read an interesting article on Crater Lake and how tourists are trashing it. It isn’t only tourists, however. Our neck of the woods was one of the places our locals living in surrounding towns could visit. And boy did they trash it. –Curt
We can only blame the extreme heat wave and COVID lockdowns for so much…
Yep. Basis human nature might be a factor as well! And there was plenty of trashing before. A couple of years ago I came upon a lovely campground that some high school kids had decided to use as a party site. Talk about trashing…
Farewell, Arches! It is such an amazing park. Sounds like you’ve had a pretty remarkable trip so far, and I’m glad you missed that storm. My family (who mostly lives in Iowa) has been posting all kinds of crazy pictures from that.
We couldn’t have missed it by more than a couple of days, MB. I doubt seriously that Quivera, our 22 foot van, would have had much tolerance for those winds! I’ve seen some photos of what it did to corn! And one thing we learned on our drive through Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and Nebraska, there is plenty of corn to do damage to… –Curt
Don’t laugh. But I’ve been a California resident for almost 12 years now. What do you think is one of the things I miss the most? Iowa Sweet Corn. There’s nothing like it!
Sorry for my late response, MB. We are finally off of the road. Laughing about your missing Iowa’s sweet corn. BTW, there is a small farm outside of Sacramento at a place called Slough House where you go for day of picked corn that is to die for! 🙂 –Curt
Oh my! My late husband was a groupie for the Lincoln Highway and Pony XP. We lived in a town in Utah that had one of the old Pony Express stations. I had quite a few hours eating desert dust while following the Trail or the Highway. I DO hope you’re home safe by now. Sturgis has me deeply worried.
We are still out on the road Gunta. I rerouted our trip to avoid Sturgis and South Dakota. The rally is insane. Right now we are in Casper, Wyoming heading south. We will zip across Utah and then make our way leisurely through Eastern Oregon.
Diamond Springs, where I was raised as you probably remember was on the Pony Express route. I confess to a life long interest as well. 🙂 –Curt
Hubby’s older brother worked for the El Dorado FS for many years. If I remember right the two of them went in search of one of the XP stations… maybe up by Strawberry or somewhere thereabouts. Past Pollock Pines at any rate. I remember my first
Morel hunt up in that area. 😋
It’s good to hear you’re bypassing that super spreader gathering as much as possible. Stay safe and healthy! You could always try following the old Lincoln Highway out across the Utah desert. I bet you’d find it easy to socially distance. 😊
We’ve hit the Lincoln Highway a couple of times on our trip, following 50 across Nevada and then Highway 30 in Nebraska. Doesn’t get much more remote than 50. Grin.
A friend’s parents ran a small restaurant in Diamond Springs in an old building that had once served as the Pony Express stop. Also Peggy and I stopped at Fort Bridger and checked out an old Pony Express stable. Some fun. –Curt
We came home on part of 50 on our last trip. I really LOVE that road. We spent a night in Ely. That place is a kick. Somehow we ended up at the same Mexican Restaurant we’d been to on a previous trip…. without remembering it until we got inside and the same guy waited on us. Wonder how they’re holding up these days?
I’d love to hear more about the good, the bad and the ugly you may have run across on this cross-country jaunt.
Beautiful photos, especially with that blue sky. And the campsite looks wonderful. We may follow in your footsteps through Utah later this year. Thanks for the inspiration!
Thanks, Kelly. There are so many great parks in Utah. Do it! 🙂 And the campground on the North Fork of the Platte was special.The fact that we were camped on Buffalo Bill’s ranch added to the experience. –Curt
I’ll check it out Curt. Thanks for the encouragement! 🙂
I’ll bet every time you go through this area, there is something new to see. I know the longer I look at your pictures, the more I notice.
Absolutely, G. There is always something new. I often find the same thing you do when I am going through my photos. Things I didn’t notice suddenly pop up. My cropping tool to emphasize something I didn’t originally intend is one of my best friends. 🙂 –Curt
I enjoyed this post Curt and the conclusion to Arches
Thanks, Andrew. I enjoyed doing the Arches posts— it’s one of my favorite National Parks— but now it is time to hit the road! 🙂 –Curt
Sad to leave the great photos of Arches, but can’t wait to read your next series. I would love to see the motorcyclists leaving Sturgis, but I can’t believe the pictures that have been posted on social media. No masks! Close proximity! Oh, my.
Sturgis looked crazy, that’s for sure! I figured that there was enough risk out there without adding it, even though I would like to see it. Arches was great. Up next, The Great Race from New York to Paris is up next. After that it will be Highway 50 through Nevada, “The loneliest road in America.” –Curt
Oh, my how travel has changed. You’re mentioning places that I we probably can’t see now — or don’t want to because of dangers like coronavirus or racial unrest. Different world now.
What an amazing place. I never tire of looking at photos of it.
Thanks, Coral. Every time I visit, I wish I had more time there! –Curt
I am very interested in your blog. its superb and excellent
Thanks much! Glad you enjoy it. –Curt
Stunning place Arches is. I appreciate the visit, thanks for the tour.
Here’s hoping that the Covid impact from the motorcycle gathering is far, far less than many fear it might be.
Sturgis was simply insane. We stayed far away from it even though I would have liked to take a look at the event since we were close. I also avoided the Badlands, which I always like, since they were so close.
Glad you enjoyed the tour and sorry it has taken so lone to get back to you, Arati. –Curt
I love the rocks; I really do. But the photo of the North Fork of the Platte is so appealing. I’ve never been one for tubing the Texas rivers in summer, just because of the crowds of kids, but I know where there are a few low-water crossings that can flow nicely with some rain, and be pretty darned refreshing. Now we just need some rain!
Hope your travels still are going well. I’ve been reading about the truly bad fires in Nevada and etc. Don’t be a fire magnet? At least it will be easier for you to avoid them this time than when you were on the PCT.
Wasn’t that river gorgeous? We are camped on an equally beautiful stretch of the Snake River in Idaho, now. So pretty that Peg and I have declared a layover day tomorrow to enjoy it.
So far we have had a charmed trip, Linda. We crossed Iowa the day before the hurricane-like derecho did so much damage. We camped just outside Omaha on the 9th when a rather impressive thunderstorm was just exciting enough to entertain us. The morning of the 10th we saw huge dark clouds across the Iowa border but drove across Nebraska under blue skies and ended up on the North Platte that night with the photos you saw.
The fires in Northern California are once again stretching across the PCT I hiked. Scary. Glad we are no where near it. But we are worried about our area. Okay so far but so prone to fire.
We were heading for North Dakota but decided that we didn’t want to be any near Sturgis, so we have been happily following the Oregon Trail. What a kick. In a couple of days we will be in Oregon, on the home stretch. –Curt
Good to hear. And I’m glad you’re taking a little extra time on the Snake River. It’s not like you’ve got a schedule or anything!
No schedules are good, Linda! But I do try to maintain something of a routine. And goals are valuable. –Curt
New York to Paris eh? That will be fun!
One of the great, all time adventures! I’m excited about putting the post(s) together AC. There were some pretty amazing photos for the time and a true cast off characters. –Curt