Just like the early settlers and frontiers men going west along the Oregon trail we passed by and marveled at Chimney rock. In western Nebraska among the endless grasslands and farm land are these sandstone/volcanic ash cliffs that jut up from no where. They just don’t belong here. It’s seems like a really weird location for such cool rock formations. They do break up the monotony of the drive through the grassland though. This is what the early travelers thought as well. Crossing the plains for days and days and when they got to chimney rock it would mark a change in the landscape and the start to mountain terrain. Let me nerd out for a minute. Just like the gateway arch, chimney rock is a symbol of westward expansion. Unlike the gateway arch though, chimney rock was there at the same time as the settlers. Located right off of the Oregon trail, it’s the original roadside attraction. I really wanted to see this. Not because its that cool of a rock formation, it’s not even that tall (approx 300 ft), but really for the historical importance and its connection with early travelers. They thought this was on of the coolest things they would ever see. They were here 170 years ago along their westward journey with wagons and oxen and Jillian and I are here now on our westward journey. I just find that really cool. The Indians and the fur traders called the rock elk penis, but the corney settlers and there wives couldn’t handle that so they gave it its current name. I’m sticking with the former but I’m gonna put a little twenty first century spin on it and call it elk cock rock. It just flows off the tongue so nicely.
From here we took the long route west and headed north through more western Nebraska plains. We passed the largest beef farm we’ve seen yet. Had to be about 5000 cattle or so. Seeing all this beef made me hungry. It was lunch time so we pulled into the small town of Alliance and I got a steak. 3 miles north of lunch was another roadside attraction. Carhenge. A replica of Stonehenge done with old automobiles. Car art.
From the start of today’s drive we have passed dozens of tuber trucks and 3 story piles of tubers. I say tubers because i know they’re root vegetables but they look too big to be potatoes. On the Nebraskan roads today It’s mainly just us and the potatoes. So much potatoes that I don’t even understand how we can consume them all.
We also passed sunflower fields as big as corn fields, but it’s the off season so it wasn’t very exciting, kind of depressing looking actually.
So we kept pushing north and eventually we hit South Dakota. Some where in between carhenge and SD it managed to get even more desolate and the grassland got even grassier. Along highway 71 we ran into a abandon town. Nobody was there. It’s a very small town. Mostly filled with old cars, in fact it had double the amount of cars then buildings.
Nothingness of Southern SD
From there further north to Hot Springs,SD. Found a KOA with an awesome rec room and spend the night blogging and watching TV. We are taking the day off tomorrow to do chores and map out our next week or so. Western South Dakota is tourist attraction heavy.
Next Stop: The KOA Rec Room