A herd of bison roams free on Antelope Island. Starting with a herd of only twelve, the number of bison now is close to 600. I got out of the car for this picture, but was afraid to get any closer. Especially since I've been reading about buffalo stampedes...
The next day found us in Cheyenne, Wyoming. This building was erected in 1832 in downtown Cheyenne, and captures the essence of the town.Just imagine horses and buggies instead of the cars. It was cold and icy on the streets and sidewalks.
Nebraska was a lot of fun. As we rode into town, I spotted the Red Door Cafe, so we decided to have dinner there. The cafe was part of the museum, so we spent a few minutes looking at artifacts, and acting silly. Here I am in one of my fantasy moments. I always wanted to be a bar wench...
When I discovered there were bison burgers available in the saloon, we were set for dinner. The saloon was attached to the museum and was decorated like an old-time saloon from the movies, complete with a piano player. There were four men sitting at a table playing cards, resplendent in cowboy hats, boots and big buckles holding up their jeans. It was such an iconic moment, I moseyed on over and asked if I could take their picture. I explained that I wrote romances about the old west. One of the guys replied that he wasn't a romantic hero, but he was horny! This picture made the whole trip worthwhile.
In North Platte, NE, I finally caught sight of the Platte River. This river played a significant part in the settling of the west, as the wagon trains followed it for hundreds of miles, and the wagons had to cross the river numerous times as the terrain changed. Many livestock and human lives were sacrificed on these banks. Even though it was very cold, I braved the elements to get my picture, thinking about what a small price I had to pay for the view compared to those who were part of the wagon trains.
And finally, in the small town of Gothenburg, NE, we took a quick jog into town off the interstate and I caught a picture of one of the original pony express stations. For those of you who aren't familiar with this part of America's history, I'll provide a quick history lesson. From 1860 until 1861, the Pony Express operated from St. Louis, MO to Sacramento, CA. Riders were charged with getting the mail from one point to the other in ten days' time. In order to do so, riders galloped across plains, mountains, in all kinds of weather, braving the elements and the arrows of Indians. They would change horses every ten to fifteen miles and only be able to hand over the mail to another rider at the big stations, which were roughly 170 miles apart. At these stations, they were able to rest, eat some grub and get some sleep until the rider came from the other direction with his load of mail. This picture is one of the large stations, and is now the highlight of Gothenburg's town square.
We hurried through the rest of the trip--Iowa, Illiniois, Indiana and Ohio--trying to beat the snow. Besides, back in the 1850s, those states were considered civilized, and there really wasn't much to see. Glad to be back home for awhile, but eager to get back to those cowboys in Nebraska!