Day 3

Hastings, NE - Lewellen, NE

Posted by Chrysee on June 18, 2015

Note: I have so many nice photos I want to show you! But I’m using a wifi network created by my phone, which is using a 3G (!?) data connection, so they will have to be added later.

Today was weird! We visited several roadside sites where we had to use alternative routes due to roads just not existing or connecting to other roads.

The speed limit on I-80 is 75 MPH??

We visited Fort Kearny (from the game! and from real life!); it had a few reconstructed buildings and post outlines where other buildings had once been.  

Around midday we visited the Great Platte River Archway. It’s this giant enclosed bridge over I-80 and inside is a museum. This is really the only stop so far where we’ve actually seen other people. The museum was a self-guided tour with wireless headsets. And it was absolute ridiculous tourist-y garbage. 

We saw an original Pony Express station in a city park in Gothenburg, NE. Evidently it was the top story of a two story building located elsewhere and they moved it to a city park and basically made it a little gift shop. There is Pony Express stuff everywhere here and even the roadside markers for the trails (Oregon, California, Mormon, etc) include the Pony Express route. So it was really baffling to learn that the Pony Express only existed for 18 months. 

At this point, the terrain became a lot more hilly and rocky. The grasses were now short and we stopped seeing as many crop fields. 

We’d driven on several dirt and gravel roads at this point, but my li'l car has really low clearance and is probably not appreciating this one bit. One dirt road had standing muddy water at a low point and we got hilariously stuck in the mud. We managed to reverse out of it eventually, but it was a very near disaster.

One of the last stops today was Windlass Hill. It is a very steep hill in an already hilly area that has significant wagon ruts visible. It was so steep that they say they had to use winches to lower the wagons down the hillside. A walking path went to the top and it was a very nice view. It was, however, a terrible awful no good very bad trek up the steepest (albiet paved) path on which I have ever walked. But I would also prefer to sit on my butt and eat a sandwich at any given opportunity, so I may have a different idea of what can be considered strenuous. 

This is the best part:

We planned to stop for the night in a town called Lewellen that has a population of 224 (when I made the reservation; it very well could be slightly higher or lower by now). It has one motel / bed and breakfast. I reserved a $60 motel room via phone in March. I called this morning to confirm the reservation and the owner said due to some long-term guests they were overbooked and he was moving us to a ranch house. The motel has motel rooms, individual cottages, and rooms in the main building, so I assumed he meant one of the cottages. What he actually meant was a house on a working ranch in the middle of the bluffs outside of town and miles away. It has a kitchen, three bedrooms, and is basically just a whole house on a ranch complex (we had to drive through a herd of cattle on the way here) for $60. I can’t even...