I’ve been busy for the past few hours on this blog trying to get caught up. Joe is sick with a cold and is feeling pretty bad. The work has slowed a bit and we are near St. Louis on the Illinois side. Hopefully we will find out what work is available tomorrow and Joe needs the rest.
Him and his confounded freezer blowing cold all the time. Him and the air conditioning units in the hotel rooms. Too cold at night and he has been chilled too often. I know that a cold is a virus but we only seem to get them after long periods of hot and cold exposure. This oppressive heat, then the snot sickle cold of the air conditioning is not good for us.
Okay…back to our regularly scheduled programming. hahahaha
You guys are probably sick of seeing landscapes and rock formations. Being out here mile after mile of flat land anything that raises above and is different is camera fodder.
This is a mountain range in Wyoming that runs for several miles with twists and turns. The highway will follow it for a bit then it is out of sight.
Some people refer to this range as the Vedawoo which is some original Indian name and I don’t remember what it means.
It is really eerie at daybreak with the sunrise, and at night when the setting sun paints the sky red as it goes down. You almost can’t help but sniff the air for the smell of sulphur. You won’t smell it, but you sure will wonder.
You can click to enlarge the two historical markers. The first one tells about the mountain range in Laramie. The second tells about this tree growing out of a rock and how long it has been there.
As a foster child we had a trip to Flaming Gorge and I saw this tree in the rock. About 13 years old I was, I think.
At that time the fence was not around the rock and kids climbed up the rock and tried to scale the tree. I don’t know when the fence was erected, but it has been within the last 8 to 10 years.
The rock is splitting more as this tree grows and sends its roots further outward. Now there is a steel wire wound around the rock to hold it together. I can’t believe that this tree has been growing out of this rock since the 1800’s. It is still alive, as noted by the green leaves. Amazing how nature can be so persistent at times.
There are several states that are over 400 miles across in the highway system. Wyoming is another of these states, as Nevada was.
Not much farming goes on near the highway. Lands in Wyoming are either ranch lands or coal mines. With so much open expanse the winds are constant out there. Some days have a light breeze, other days the wind blows so hard that you can hardly walk. Birds flap their wings and get no where, they are just in a steady hover until they find the top of the air current and are freed from it.
There is miles and miles of nothing to see. The road goes uphill and down, twists and turns sometimes, mostly it is flat and you can see from one horizon to the other. Dead boring.
Get another song stuck in your head….”I’ve been working on the railroad. All the live long day”.
Sledge hammers, pick axes, shovels, and lifting bars have all gone by the wayside. Machinery has been invented that rides the tracks. There is a machine that lifts the tracks and pulls out the old railroad ties then pokes a new one in place. Another machine will come along and drive the spike in while another machine is in front of the tie puller and the spike driver. That machine removes the spikes and any other mechanical piece that holds the track down.
On a trip through rural Nebraska a few years back I had the opportunity to video tape each of the machines doing their job. While I safely was on the road way shoulder I zoomed the camera lens in to see what the machine did. Some day I will have to get that footage out and edit it and post it somewhere.
You can click on these pictures to enlarge them and see the machinery.
There is some strange stuff they have to work with.
According to Joe, the men long ago would get six or seven miles of track repaired a day with their pick axes, shovels, sledge hammers, and the lever bar.
These machines get 50 to 100 miles of track done each day. It just depends on how badly the old ties are when they are taken out. Some crumble and have to have a sweeper of sorts come and brush the pieces out of the way. There is a machine that sweeps the ballast – which is the rock along the road bed. It gets the rock off the ties and into the road bed where it belongs.
When there is new track being laid there is a special machine that takes one end of the track off a special car and then it tack welds the new rail to the old rail. It runs along the new rail and gets it put in the right position for the other machinery to come along behind and fix ties, pound spikes, and adjust the ballast. Quite an operation they have going on there.
I don’t know what the actual name of this statue is.
Just at the Wyoming/Nebraska border she stands.
I think it is in a cemetary but I’m not sure about that since I go past so fast. I wasn’t sure I would get this good of a picture of her going around the curve in the road as I did.
At night, when the sky is inky black and a few lights of the city below twinkle, there is a spot light trained on this statue. Against the white marble or alabaster she is sculpted from and the black night sky she seems to glow.
Scared the fool out of me the first time I saw her heading west on I-80 and at night. I thought there was a ghost out in the field because of the glow she casts. When we got closer to her I then saw the statue and was relieved that my imagination had been the only thing to take off.
There is a boulder that has escaped its confines from the top of the hill.
That monster boulder was stopped, several years ago, by the concrete barrier but can you imagine the dent your car would have had the barrier not been there?
While I was searching the road for something interesting to “show and tell” I scanned my instrument panel and saw that the voltage gauge was doing some funny stuff again.
We had been on the road for four hours already, it was getting close to noon and we were heading for Cabela’s in Sidney, Nebraska. We didn’t have much further to travel but I thought I’d better say something to Joe about this new thing. Especially since he had fixed it the day before. There was something else wrong here.
Joe and I had parked in the Cabela’s parking area for big trucks and had gone inside to do some shopping. When we got back out to leave my truck would not start. It would not even crank over. The battery gauge was way low.
I told Joe. He got into our tool boxes and brought out a big hammer. He opened the hood of the truck, stuck his head in, told me to get in the truck. “When I tell you to, crank the engine. Now!” So I turned the key in the ignition while he banged away on the starter. Nothing.
He went to the battery compartment and lifted the lid. Same thing, when he tells me to then crank. He banged around on the battery posts and other stuff underneath there while I turned the key in the ignition. Still nothing.
Joe drove about a mile away to a repair shop we saw on the way in to Cabela’s and went to talk with the service people. A guy came out and did his investigation, then telling me to crank the engine. Still nothing. He went in the battery compartment and checked the batteries.
The last person to install batteries didn’t tighten the leads down good. The service guy got out a wrench and tightened all the nuts on the battery leads. That worked. $120 later I was on the road. Took a total of 15 minutes of the service guys time to get me going but I was back on the road.
Joe is still “My Hero” even though his fix was not for very long.
I saw this old house and structures and had to take a picture of it.
How do you think a real estate ad would be written about this old house? Maybe something like….
Totally “Green” home. Solar light and power, wind driven air conditioning, fresh water – when it rains – throughout the house. Bonus work shop on the property.
When this “bridge” was being built both Joe and I wondered why they were making a covered bridge way out here in the middle of no where. There are no roads that go to the bridge nor come off of it so that made us scratch our heads.
Later as we came this way again we began seeing the signs on the road about a museum being built on I-80. This is the museum. There is supposed to be all kinds of stuff inside about the early pioneers, fur traders, Indians, and more.
Nebraska is filled with museums from one end of the state to the other. In Minden, Nebraska is Harold Warp’s Pioneer Museum. Every car that has been made up to the 1960’s or 1970′ is on display there.
Heard the expression “I’ll be coming with bells on”? I found out how that expression came to be. Long ago when people still used horse drawn carts and buggies, there were the “tow” vehicles of that era. The better reputation a man had for the work he could do in getting you out of a pretty bad situation at that time was clanking and jingling bells hanging from the top of his cart. The more noise he made as he drew nearer you knew you had a AAA guy that knew his stuff or someone that was not as well versed in getting you out of the mud and fixing an axle or a wagon wheel on the spot. Just by the amount of bells he had.
There is a Pony Express museum, a Dutch Windmill museum with the history of the Dutch settlers, museums about the early pioneers and sod busters. Any part of our history has a museum for it in Nebraska.
Our long day ended in York, Nebraska. About another 100 miles to Omaha and then into Iowa.
I have pictures for my next post about Iowa and the barns there.
Nebraska begins the trees, somewhere after Kimball and on eastward. Iowa is full of trees and lots of farming.
Nebraska is farmland also. Corn, soybeans, and alfalfa are grown in Nebraska. Iowa has the same crops but on larger plots of land so they have barns to store the harvest and keep their equipment out of the weather since they get some pretty heavy snows in the winter.
That will have to wait for another day when I have some extra free time to get it posted. I’m not sure how long we will be in this hotel room. Just over night or for another night. Joe is sleeping next to me while I’m working away here. He needs the rest to recuperate from this cold he has.
You want to talk about a “Snot Nosed Brat”! He is one.