Sunday, September 11, 2016

Scottsbluff, Nebraska

September 5 - 7, 2016:

It was a late start for us today as we were in no hurry to travel the 85 miles to our next campground.  We knew that most of the weekend campers leave on Sunday, there would be plenty of open sites, but not so many early in the morning.  It was an easy drive on route 71 south across endless miles of Nebraska prairie, wheat and hay fields.  As we approached the Scottsbluff, Nebraska area we started to see something new, cornfields.  
The Lake Minatare Recreation Area is 2, 970 acres with a 2,158 acre reservoir with four campgrounds around it.  We settled for one close to the main entrance with a view of the reservoir through the Cottonwood trees.  It has electric, is level, has partial sun, with a water spigot and shower house nearby.  They do have primitive areas, no hookups, where you can park practically on the beach.  It looks pretty sandy and tight to maneuver into between the trees, but is doable.  We decided to take an easy, quiet site, although those Cottonwood trees overhead do scare me.  Twinkles claims the chances of another tree limb falling on us are ultra slim ?  I kind of accepted that until I did a search for information on the Minatare Recreation Area and a story popped up about a camper killed and two others injured by a falling tree a few months ago.

The drive was mostly like this

More cows than people

The fake lighthouse at the Park built by the VCC, the Veterans
Conservation Corps between 1937 and 1939

The view from the top

View along the beach area

We take a ride to downtown Scottsbluff to pick up throat lozenges, ginger ale and ice cream, for my cold and/or allergy symptoms.  Downtown Scottsbluff does not look terribly exciting, but there are several interesting old buildings for my photo collection.  We are here mainly to visit the Scottsbluff National Monument and Chimney Rock National Historic Site. 

The Midwest Theater is classic

Appears to be used for senior or low income housing today

Very nice Bingo Parlor, but whose idea was it to put that stone work
under those beautiful tiles

This building was full of unrestored 1950-1960's cars

Ghostly view through a dirty window into building

Tuesday was a cloudy day with a few showers in the evening, I’m taking a sick day while Twinkles goes grocery shopping.  It’s a rare day when I stay in the RV all day, it's killing me !  

Campground etiquette is an issue at times, we don’t understand some campers, in fact we think they are a little rude.  There are several wide open campsites around us and these guys had to park right next to us.   So, when we look out our windows about all we see is their RV or them sitting outside.  
While on this topic, Twinkles says I’m also very rude because I don’t wave to people while driving.  I just don’t get it, why should I be waving to complete strangers as I drive around.  I kind of get the Jeep facet of this, as when driving a Jeep everyone waves to one another, like members of a secret society.  

Scottsbluff and Chimney Rock have always been notable area landmarks, first for the native indians, then the fur traders and then for the pioneers traveling by wagon train on the Oregon and Mormon Trails during western expansion in the mid 1800’s.  This area was a real crossroads with the North Platte River, a major water route into the west and the transcontinental railroad all coming together here.  
Scottsbluff National Monument is composed of six rock formations with Scotts Bluff the most prominent rising 800 feet above the plains.  There is also a road, built by the CCC in the 1930’s, to the top of the bluff with a couple of short hiking trails.

The entrance to Scotts Bluff National Monument

The Visitors Center

There were a couple different trail routes, but the one over
Mitchell Pass became the most used

A painting depicting a wagon train on the trail

Scotts Bluff was named for poor Hiram Scott who was injured,
could not go on and was left behind to die.

A Wagon Train exhibit in front of the Visitors Center

There are two tunnels on the road to the Bluff

View from the top of the Bluff

Chimney Rock, about 20 miles east, is a National Historic Site and which reaches a height of 480 feet above the valley floor. 

View of Chimney Rock from the entrance road

I passed the rattlesnake warning signs to get this photo

Twinkles is watching for the snakes, we found none 

They had cards for visitors to draw pictures or leave comments.
These were fun to read

Native Americans had a funny name for
Chimney Rock also

I have seen this before and it also applies to full time RV'ers
when they tire of the journey

  We spent a few minutes in the nearby towns of McGrew and Gering that both had some charm.

The Pink Palace in McGrew

Old General Merchandise Store in McGrew

I loved the office door, nice lettering job

The 1914 Bank building in Mc Grew

Downtown Gering view

Gering Bakery is a great one, world famous

The Corn Huskers are like God here

The Union Bar in Gering

Next stop is Cheyenne, Wyoming,
Twinkles and Slick

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