tl;dr: Left Colorado, got windshield damaged and replaced, loved Nebraska campgrounds, currently trying to avoid tornados in Kansas.
Last Wednesday seemed great driving, all “blue highways” from Fort Collins into western Nebraska, ending at Lake Minatare State Park. Beautiful park, with a ton of waterfront electric sites, lots of trees, and a big lake.
It wasn’t till Thursday morning that I discovered that great drive had also left me with a great chip and crack in Bella’s windshield. So my first “tourist” activity in Scottsbluff was a visit to the Safelite glass place, where we arranged the replacement to happen Friday afternoon. Then I figured I should see something of real tourist value, so it was off to Alliance and the crazy monument that is Carhenge.
By the time I got back to the campsite, the crack was twice as long. Good thing I made the appointment for Friday! Also extended my campsite here by two days in order to have a day after to do a bit more sightseeing and give the windshield a test drive before leaving town. While Bella was getting her beauty treatment on Friday, I wandered around Scottsbluff, the town. Lots of little businesses, some struggling, some closed, and a few doing OK. I liked this little corner store, it reminded me of the one near me when I was growing up: a little bit of everything for sale, and an old chair out front.
Saturday was a stop at the Scotts Bluff National Monument, part of my nascent effort to learn more about the Oregon Trail and the others that passed through here. Perfect day for taking photos, with blue skies and dramatic clouds.
Sunday was a 3.5 hour drive over to Lake Ogallala State Park, selected because it was a nice small state park, had a lot of walk-up sites, and because Ogallala was where my nephew and I saw X-Men (the original movie) 20+ years ago on the last night of a road trip with my dad/his granddad and our cousin to see Mount Rushmore. This time I found a few different companions…
Lake Ogallala is beautiful and I enjoyed my one-night stand here with a mental note to come back at some point and stay longer, if only to take advantage of the light.
Monday was another moving-on day, leaving Nebraska and heading down to northern Kansas. I chose the route through town, and lo and behold, the old movie theater was still there. Cool. The rest of the drive sometimes felt like a replay of my year-ago trip across North Dakota: lots of these…
and one of these in every decently sized town:
I ended Monday in a new state (yay, Kansas!) at Prairie Dog State Park, where, yes, I DID see some prairie dogs out in the field. But they are hard to catch on camera, little buggers. So here’s a beautiful image of the oncoming storm Tuesday afternoon.
My plan is to stay as far north as I can in Kansas, and avoid the whole Tornado Alley thing, if possible. You’ll have to wait till next week’s update to see how that plan worked out.
Meanwhile, I’m thinking of starting a bird list, given all the amazing ones I’m seeing this year. Right now, outside my window is a Northern Flicker and a Red-Winged Blackbird. Yesterday, I saw a Meadowlark singing and a half-dozen Bald Eagles soaring on the currents as they hunted in the marshes below. I really love hearing birdsong, I think it might be the most surprising thing I never knew I missed.
There are some things you learn best in calm, and some in storm.