We leave our home of a single night to get back to the grindstone. Nebraska hasn't had much to offer us so far and there is no reason to stick around. It's westbound at a leisurely 64 mph on interstate 80. The posted speed limit is 75, but there's no reason for us to push that hard. Penny is a gas motor home and needs to be driven a bit different than her diesel sisters. Today she will climb from 2,200 ft in elevation to just short of 4,000. Naturally aspirated (no turbo, no supercharger) engines lose power as the height increases. She's cruising along at a mild 2,300 rpm and the big block is only returning us 7.3 mpg.
Our initial goal was to get to Wyoming today. We stop for lunch and take a look at the map. Nothing to see here.. let's keep moving. Further on down the highway the signs for Chimney Rock start showing up. It's just a national historic site and doesn't peak our interest at first. Miles click by and the signs are still appearing. We are here. We'll probably never be here again. Screw it. Penny swings north on highway 26 and points her nose towards the rock. Let's go check out this piece of history.
Elk Penis stands tall and proud over the background. What a sight to behold.
Elk Penis was a sight to behold for the early emigrants. After a 500 mile trek from Council Bluffs via covered wagon, this is the first thing they would see that wasn't flat. It's nearly 300 ft tall and a half a mile circumference at the base. Unfortunately for us this is as close as we get. The whole area is infested with rattle snakes and roped off to visitors for reasons of preservation.
Elk Penis was the second stroke of good luck we had today. The admission into the museum was waived. Free stuff is always a positive for us. Prior to this we found a beautiful parking spot for the night just north in the town of Bayard Nebraska. This lovely town of 1,200 people let's visitors camp two days for free. This little piece of gravel comes complete with fresh water and 50 amp power. Nice.
Our first stroke of good luck came in the form of finding a free place to stay during the town's Pioneer Days. A little festival in town with some live music belting across the town made us take the walk, and what a walk it was.
A parade from earlier in the day must have been throwing candy out for all the townfolk to gather. At least that's what we hope it's from. Any way you slice it there is no denying that free candy is the best kind.
The festival was dead as far as we could tell. A handful of people filled the park. The majority of those folks were gathered around a TV watching the Cornhuskers play. It's pretty obvious that college football in this state rules the land.
Our night winds down with the onset of an incoming storm. The vast western skies offer up a different kind of view than what you see in St. Louis. Rain clouds roll across the land undisturbed and sunlight infiltrates the backdrop. Here the rain can be seen coming at you with no surprises. It makes us realize how much we have missed the west and all it's glory.