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Speaking of Cowboy Vacations
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Fern(Mi)    Posted 04-30-2004 at 16:04:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
Take the time, take some quiet money, pack the car or truck with only the essentials. Some years ago wanting to do something different particularly when I had nothing else to do, Frieda and I packed up our kids and headed west. We had the time. And made promises of sights and enjoyments.
I wanted to see and show the family some of the west, the plains, the mountains, the places the Deer and the Buffalo played with Cowboys and Indians. Careful planning we had enough gas money. The rest we’d keep quiet. Packing, we packed our travel trailer with non perishables; caned goods (gallon cans), beer, pop, soap, easy wash and wear clothes.
Second day after school’s out tentative start date. Didn’t make it. Started night before. Made Mississsisssisssippi River before weekend traffic. Riding across Iowa was like riding ocean swells. Approaching the Missouri the rolling land flattened some. Seeing the river crossing bridges impressed us. Drove and rode up the Platte River valley wondering why people would construct a freeway destroying productive bottom farm land.
Stayed a night alongside Ogallala, Nebraska and a railroad track. The railroad track was not such a good idea. Temperatures having been in the shaded hundreds that very day The tracks sang the approach of ever approaching train that passed in the/that night. The next day we passed register rock, chimney rock, and somewhere along here, after leaving I-80 behind, we got further off the highway. Might have been in Wyoming by this time. Was getting tired of hearing “We there yet?” or “Are we having fun?” It was wonder theirs weren’t western funerals. Chuckle!
Talk about two tracks. Miles and miles and miles. Rolling sparse grass lands. A flash of light on a changing horizon. A black spot crowning a closer ridge. Two vehicles almost colliding over a humped ridged cattle guard. Nose to nose, radiator to radiator, his engine stops. Well I guess, I guessed, and turned mine off. He slowly opened his door, as I did mine, and we met eye to eye over a cattle guard.
“Who are ya?” he dryly asked.
I told him my name and where we were from. I had nothing to hide.
“Don’t see many strangers out here, let alone anybody from out East.” he commented, and asked, “Are you lost?”
“Well, no, not really.” I told him.
“Do you know where you are?” He asked.
“Yes and no. But then I figure we’ll come out somewhere, hitting another major road.” I assured him, as well as myself, always enjoying an adventure.
“As long as you folks don’t know where your going.” He pretty well had us sized up. “How about coming down to the house. The wife ain’t had anybody to talk to for six months or so, and you know women, they want’s to know what’s going on. Fashion and such.”
While I talked this invitation over with Frieda, this gentleman looked us over more closely, commenting, “We’ve got three kids of our own. Be nice if they all had somebody new to play with.” That was it. And put together with “What ever you want to do is alright with me.” was my Frieda’s standard comment. We were on our way, following a turned around pickup truck over a dusty high plains two track.
We got caught up in this rancher’s life, family, and cattle operation. Frieda enjoyed this lady’s curiosity. My kids learned how to milk a cow by these children taking hands on turns before we left. So hungry for social contact these folks wanted us to stay just one more day. It was always one more day. And by day four I was planning our escape. But, there was so much of the west to see. It was 4:00 AM when I pulled the blocks from under the camper and we rolled out of that welcomed yard the sun about to push on our backs. These carrying on’s happened twice more. The best times were found off the open road. Between stops, passing one particular area I felt the ghosts of the little woman battle field before we got there. Telling Frieda my feelings we came upon a historical marker commemorating the site. And this place was miles and miles from any major roadway. We got to see pictographs within a natural rock cut, most likely traversed by early American Indians know its existence.. What I wont tell is where this place is for fear of vandalized destruction. We found a pass over the Rockies without a road. And I found a land and people to come back to again several times.
The only planning in time, an unplanned vacation was for us by and far the best. Oh, on that trip Fillis babbled all the way out there and talked all the way back; as, Fillip crawled up a mountain and walked home.

jeanette    Posted 04-30-2004 at 16:30:58       [Reply]  [No Email]
thats the only kind of vacations we ever took

what part of iowa were you in? it is flat as a pan cake where i'm at

Larry 8N75381    Posted 04-30-2004 at 20:07:58       [Reply]  [No Email]

Where in Iowa are you?!?!? The Iowa I grew up in was NOT flat!! :-)

I went to grade school in Davenport, moved to Cedar Rapids to start High School, and went to college in Ames. Had Grandmothers in Sioux City and on a farm near Numa in Appanoose County. Going from Davenport to Numa we went thru Washington, Fairfield, Ottumwa, Bloomfield and Centerville. Dad used to HATE the stretch from Ottumwa to Bloomfield because it was so hilly and crooked. As you got close to Tama, highway 30 from CR to Ames was like a rolly coaster since the highway ran almost parallel to the Iowa river so you were going cross ways over all the small feeder streams.

I always tell people out here in Virginia that have never been west that Iowa is not like Kansas or Nebraska, or for the matter like northern Indiana and Illinois, because it is bordered and the east and west by the great rivers. Then it is bisected by the Des Moines river, with the Iowa, Cedar, and Wapsinicon to the north and the Chariton to the south. All large rivers with significant depth to their valleys. Thus the edges of the river valleys get rather hilly. Well, I realized that they are in the south east part of the state. I guess you must be up in the "lake" country of the state - north west - right?

A curious,

Clipper....yo Larry!    Posted 04-30-2004 at 20:17:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
jeanette lives in Titonka..... :^)

Thanks, Larry    Posted 05-01-2004 at 06:15:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
I had to get out my Iowa map to find it. Yep, it's up next to Minnehota :-) in Iowa's lake country a little west of the center of the state.

Fern(Mi)    Posted 04-30-2004 at 18:23:34       [Reply]  [No Email]
Theoretically, we were only passing through Iowa on our adventurous way into the mountain states. Sorry. That is not to say we didn’t enjoy Iowa. One trip, traveling I-80, changes being made around Dubuque for lack of signs, we traveled South until we hit the Iowa/Missouri State line. Discovering our mistake we back tracked to State Road-2 and headed West. Reaching the river we came upon private enterprise Bridge. $7.00 one way -- $9.00 round trip. We called it for our own story telling amusements the Missouri Shotgun Bridge. From there we meandered through Lincoln picking up I-80 again headed on West. We had some several serious appointments with some Deer, Antelope, and Elk.
That State road 2 was one lovely ride. We never saw another motor vehicle of any kind traversing that road. The sun coming up behind us the morning country side was gorgeous. In all honesty, I would like to travel some more of these roads. We never saw a single tourist trap the whole distance. What a breath of fresh scenic air!!!

New-gen    Posted 04-30-2004 at 16:24:17       [Reply]  [No Email]
That's cool. I've seen a lot of this great country of ours, but most of it has been throught the windshield of a Pete or a Cornbinder or a Mack-(those aren't much fun to drive, it gets a little tiresome looking at the east end of a westbound bulldog all day}
Anyway,one of these days I intend to go see some of the things you describe, but in a smaller vehicle and with more time allotted.

bo    Posted 04-30-2004 at 16:24:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
We also did that but without kids... A Volkswagen Squareback, a Malamute, a Lab, a canoe and a pop up camper...took three weeks to do the much of the west. Incomparable sights of buttes, deserts, high mountains, open plains, cow catchers, huge sky, no people and the list goes on. I remember the north Platte river.. saw the sigh for Platte river and we shot over a dry river bed with just a trickle and I was amazed that anyone could call that a river. Big Bear lake, Flaming Gorge, Crazy Woman Creek......

Smitty    Posted 04-30-2004 at 16:18:02       [Reply]  [No Email]
Good story Fern, reminds me of the adventures me my wife and children went on.
We saw 38 os the states and had great times.

DD    Posted 04-30-2004 at 16:16:09       [Reply]  [No Email]
Great story Fern : )

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