Day 5: Fort Robinson State Park, NE to Cheyenne, WY

Yesterday was a bittersweet day for us.  We woke relieved that the wild wind had stopped.  Henna caught up on sleep while Corey and I drank coffee and grilled sausages over a small fire.  There was no hurry and after Henna woke we ate some more and walked back into the main square of Fort Robinson.  For just $5 the three of us took a short carriage ride (in the type of carriage that Cinderella took to the ball).  Corey and Henna liked it; I loved it.   Henna also took a pony ride (they said I was too big) and we left the state park feeling good.  Route 20 continued west and it was a pleasant happy ride.  Turning south on 29 I felt a genuine sadness over the part of our trip ending.  We had taken 20 from the vaguely country strip malls of Rockford into the wild ranch land of western Nebraska.  Before this trip I always thought of Nebraska as dull and the people rough.  Not so.  Without exception every person met in Nebraska was kind; people wave when they drive by and conversations were easy to come by.  The land too is majestic in its largeness, a type of canvas fitting for the cows and windmills that populate it.  And judging by the many tourists with Colorado plates, I am not alone in this opinion.

After leaving Fort Robinson it was time for more bones.  Agate Fossil Bed National Monument is set against that “broken cattle country” scenery.  The exhibits were nowhere as cool as they were in Ashfalls, but the hiking opportunities made up for it.  We took a short trail that led to the highest point of the monument and passed several spiral beaver den fossils called devil corkscrews.  The road linking 20 with 71 was the 60 empties miles of the trip. At Scottsbluff, however, the roads turned back to divided highways and soon we were humming along at 80 on the interstate with the same number.  Off to Cheyenne, WY for the night and we tented at the KOA.  I felt a bit like a hobo as Corey and I drank beers a few yards from the interstate (with that noise sometimes drowned out by the freighter trains that passed nearby).  In the morning the hobo experience was completed as I had to dig through a garbage can in search of the CD I had accidentally thrown out (I found the CD- Hank Williams).  That night in Cheyenne we had our first dinner out and got a taste of Cheyenne; more genteel than Gillette but nowhere near as warm as Missoula.  There where coffee shops and book stores, but also muttering homeless and dark streets at night.

But now I am in Rocky Mountain National Park.  It would be heaven if it had a swimming lake.  So very, very dry here; as the fires rage  nearby here there is a complete fire ban meaning there will be a smore break.  We plan on camping two nights here then one night on the other side of trail ridge road.  Hopefully we will be able to share pictures with you soon.

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