Saturday, July 6, 2013

7/6 Oregon Trail Ruts and Fort Laramie, Wyoming

The lady in the Wyoming visitor center on the state border suggested strongly that I should take I 25 all the way to U.S. 20 and then head directly west to Crawford, NE, where my next campsite is.  I knew today was going to be a very long driving day, but looking at the map, I saw the dots that signified a scenic drive and some state historic sites, so I bailed off the freeway early and cut across on U.S. 26, about 60 miles north of Cheyenne. 

Glad I did.  It was a very nice two-lane road with wide shoulders and actually was smoother than the interstate had been.  The countryside looked a lot like it had when I was driving towards Colorado Springs a couple of weeks ago, except that there are more rocky bluffs in Wyoming. 
 
 
The first stop was the town of Guernsey where there was a section of the Oregon Trail where the wagon wheels had cut deep ruts into the sandstone in the area.  Amazing how narrow those wagons must have been.





 
What also amazed me was how much water was in the nearby Platte River.  The early pioneers said of this river that it was too thick to drink and too thin to plow.  Well, today the river had a LOT of water in it and was flowing extremely fast.
 
And on to Fort Laramie, about an hour down this very pleasant highway.  I did not stay long, but it is a big fort and there are quite a few building still standing and open for visiting.  Wish I had had more time, but I did not want to get to my campsite and have to back in after dark.



Interestingly, as I got within about 20 miles of Fort Robinson State Park, the landscape changed to include more hills and more trees.  I am looking forward to exploring this new landscape.
 

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