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Onward Chapter 2

By the morning of July 4th we were ready to leave the heat - and the chiggers - behind. After one last luxurious swim in Kentucky Lake, we covered some serious miles north and west.

We passed the Gateway Arch on the Mississippi River in St. Louis just as the holiday festivities were getting underway.

My dad, an Air Force pilot, flew for the dedication of the Arch back in 1966. At the time he joked with my mom that he’d been tempted to fly through the 600-foot arch. A handful of pilots have done it since, and only one of them (a helicopter pilot) was ever caught. (Cell phone shots from a moving vehicle!)

After crossing Missouri, we turned north at Kansas City, generally following the Missouri River up its eastern flank toward Iowa.

More moving vehicle shots. The devastation from the spring flooding is still evident, as many roads haven’t re-opened, and many farms remain underwater.

We were able to find a lovely place to spend the night, in a federal conservation area called Honey Creek (shown in the first pic at the top). The fireflies at dusk were our reward for a long day on the road. We fell asleep to the sound of whippoorwills instead of fireworks.

The next day we traversed most of Nebraska, taking the Sandhills Byway northwest. The blues and greens of the grasslands are beautiful, and cover most of the northwestern quadrant of the state. We lingered here, and not just because it was 57 degrees overnight!

Sandhills Byway
There’s a long story here, which includes wars with American Indians and the Dust Bowl, but the vast landscape seems bucolic now.

We had to stop at “Carhenge,” a kitschy modern take on England’s ancient monument.

In 1987 Jim Reinder (no doubt a guy with a sense of humor) returned from England for a family reunion in Alliance, Nebraska. He and family members built Carhenge in 6 days, reducing construction time, as he put it, by 9,999 years and 51 weeks. Since then it’s become a popular stop for travelers.

Late in the day some dramatic clouds gathered and brought us a brief hailstorm.

It was moving fast
After the rain, our forest road (to a backcountry campsite) turned to mush as slick as ice. Unsure if our 4-wheel-drive was operating properly, we gingerly returned to pavement.

We stayed overnight at the 22k-acre Fort Robinson State Park, used for a number of purposes since the latter 1800’s, and as a park since 1962.

We camped near the historic cemetery and explored the park by bicycle in the morning.

Continuing north across the grasslands, we spent the next two nights camping in the wildflowers at the Toad Stool Geological area.

Sunrise; traffic along the way; a land full of flowers; and a hike overlooking the campground

Next stops are in the Dakotas.....

Created By
alison blakeslee
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