On the Oregon Trail...

Trip Start Jun 15, 2013
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of United States  , Wyoming
Saturday, July 13, 2013

I have instructed Miss GPS not to send me out on the freeway or interstate highway, so Thursday morning, when I left Douglas to drive to Fort Laramie, she sent me north on county 59 and then down a side road.  After a 10 mile drive on a paved road, she said:  'Continue 28 miles' - and I was looking at a gravel road!  This is in principle doable but the problem is that you meet huge trucks - often several in a convoy - that whip up a dust storm and you end up getting buried in the dust - especially with the top down.  While I'm probably a risk-taker, I like to believe that I'm also a calculated risk-taker, so I decided to call it quits and returned to Douglas.  Miss GPS was probably laughing all the way.
Before I left Douglas, I had visited a charming museum, Wyoming Pioneer Memorial Museum, worth every minute of your time.  This is where the tipi from 'Dancing with Wolves' is exhibited (I'll post a photo although it didn't turn out too good).  Almost next door is the 'Douglas Railroad Interpretive Center'.  Without the railroad Douglas would not exist today.  They had a fine dining car and a sleeper with the toilet below your bunk!  Such was travelling in the 1930's-1950's before the airplane retired transcontinental train travel.  There was also an enormous steam locomotive and several other interesting train waggon.  
Actually, driving on the interstate in this part of the country with limited traffic volumes is not too bad.  But I soon got off I-25 and headed west towards Lusk.  A thundershower was looming around Manville, and I drove right through it.  Heading south along county 270 I suddenly saw a sign 'Guernsey State Park' and decided to go in.  State parks are located in scenic areas and have the fundamental facilities for a camper.  I drove six-seven miles and found an excellent site to set up camp.  It had a little 'No Tents'-sign which I chose to ignore.  The long arm of the law probably did not reach that far out.  And, besides, there was no one else besides me in the huge park.  There was enough firewood for another night of looking into the cloudless sky and admiring the total silence around me.
The next morning as I ate breakfast at the site ONE car passed on the road above.  Miss GPS told me to go in the same direction, although there had been a sign at the park entrance that the road was closed.  I decided to follow the car and Miss GPS and ended up in front of a big 'ROAD CLOSED'-sign at the Guernsey Dam.  But there was also a little museum on top of the hill, so I decided to go up and see.  The sign said 'Open 10 am - 6 pm', so someone apparently opens and closes it, I thought.  And right at the entrance sat a woman ranger who welcomed me.  She was the one in the car, and she had spotted my 'red convertible' down by the lakeside!  The museum was another small gem, built in the 1930's by the Civil Conservation Corps, an organization created by FDR to take young men off the street and have them do something useful like planting trees and taking care of the state parks.  So, after the visit, I had to go all the way back to where I came in.  She had to do it twice a day, she informed me.  
I stopped at Fort Laramie, had a root beer and a birch beer (both non-alcoholic) in the fort's original soldiers'  bar, so I was well equipped for the drive to Cheyenne in 105 F sunshine.  In Cheyenne, after several attempts in vain, I managed to find a good campground, reasonably far away from highway noise.  I now look forward to experiencing what Cheyenne has to offer the weary traveller.         
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Linda Deutsch on

Great photos. Such blue skies. And the train is divine.
But your trip seems so...well...solitary. Too bad you don't have Rita along.

Corkie on

Did you get my email about Montana?>

Ginny on

Again, beautiful pictures you are sharing. So glad you are enjoying our beautiful country. Be safe.

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