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US 20 Journey 2010
2011 - Day 8 - May 26
Crawford, NE to Douglas, WY
Breakfast at the Snack Shack in Crawford. Some overheard words from the next table:
"I brought him in 73 muskrat pelts, dropped them down on the table. 'I'll give you $3 a piece.' I thought it was a pretty good price."
"He sells the pelts to furriers. A lot of them go to China and Russia."
"The big item is Pine Martins. They're worth $40 to $60 each."
"My dad told me they used to call muskrat pelts 'Hudson Seal'. Can't do that now."
Buttes north of 20 beyond Crawford, NE.
A few miles further on is Fort Robinson. Among other things, this is known as the place where Crazy Horse was killed. I stopped at the site of his death, a couple of reconstructed cabins, to pay my respect. Standing still in afternoon sun, no one going by, I tried imagining back then. Too many thoughts crowded in, too many western movie images to feel it in any real way. I bowed, moved on.
I still felt the same. Mac Nelson, author of Twenty West, calls it the "saddest spot in the west."
The below pictures of flowers were taken while on a hike at Fort Robinson.
Possibly Tufted Milkvetch
Prickly Pear Cactus
And some pics of the hike:
It felt so good to get out for a two hour hike in this terrain. The wind was howling from the southwest and it was a bit difficult trying to get flower pics and also trying to stand on the top of the ridges. But, it was exhilarating. I hope to do more hikes like this over the next two weeks.
Two haiku from the hike:
on top of high butte
munching on juicy apple
redtail soars below
on lee side of butte
sheltered from strong southern wind
long-sleeved shirt, too much
Back on the road. First view of the distant mountains along US 20. This is in western Nebraska, not far from Wyoming.
A new sign entering Wyoming. 15 years ago it said,
"Like No Place on Earth."
In 1996 the population was 8. Elevation has stayed the same.
Railroad tracks parallel 20 in this part of Wyoming. Someone in Crawford told me there are a lot of trains hauling coal from Montana and Wyoming. Not far into Wyoming I saw evidence of this.
Even less population than Van Tassell.
Mountains will be in view most of the time now for the rest of the journey.
Douglas is the official Jackalope community in Wyoming.
Wooden Caboose from 1884 at the Railroad Interpretive Center in Douglas .
Inside view (through chain link guard) of the "Silver Salver" dining car.
More Jackalopes in the Chamber of Commerce Office at the Railroad Center.
A pair of Common Mergansers in the North Platte River, Douglas.
Another river running high. All across the region of US 20 this has been the case.
Also includes Plains Motel, where I bartered for a room for the night. An unique place. All of the buildings have incorporated material from other building in Douglas and beyond that were being torn down or not used anymore.
The terra cotta from the old school was incorporated at the entrance of the bar and Dance Hall. "South Side Grade School. 1918."
The building housing the ice cream parlor was originally a barn. It was moved into Douglas and served as a boarding and maternity home in the 1920s and 30s. Then it was used as a boarding home and old folks home. It was then moved to its present location in 1976 and made into an ice cream parlor. The marble counter was from the old County Courthouse.
The gift shop, in the same building as the ice cream parlor, has incorporated the bank teller cage from an old bank in Douglas.
The terra cotta in the Dance Hall fireplace is from the old school and the marble from the court house.
There are many, many more stories about all of the material used in the construction of these businesses. Part of the motel is from the WWII POW Camp in Douglas that held Italian and German prisoners. One could spend days going through all of the artifacts used throughout. From bricks, to old stoves, to old doors and 12 bathrooms!
Charlie, the current co-owner (with a brother) is the third generation of the family to be running the place. A bit of history being preserved in a very eclectic way.
So, I move on and try to stay present. But, looking ahead, the weather is to turn rough over the weekend with snow warnings in the higher elevations, which may very well impact my plans for Yellowstone. What happens will happen. But now, time to turn in for a good night's rest.