Our Lewis and Clark Journal – Day 26
Day 26: Across Nebraska with the Pony Express (August 21)
Apparently we left our gas cap somewhere outside Rawlins, Wyoming yesterday, so our first stop this morning was to pick up a new one. While Noelle took care of this I took August to his first genuine used book store. We found a Wilderness Reader edited by Frank Bergon, the editor of our Penguin Edition of The Journals of Lewis and Clark. Down the road, this turned out to be a real treat for Noelle and I as I read aloud to her the essay by Isabella Bird, a woman who climbed to the summit of Long’s Peak in Colorado just five years after John Wesley Powell led the first ascent in 1868.
We want to go on record as saying that Nebraska has the best kept bathrooms and rest areas in the country.
Our path across the state is roughly the route of the Pony Express and the Trans-Continental Railroad. August spent serious time reading on this leg of our trip. heading for home has been a reminder that school is waiting for him in New York, and that we have slacked on our daily word work. We read several books about Buffalo Bill and Johnny Fry, early express riders. We expect to back in St. Joseph, Missouri by midnight, where it all began. (See my earlier post about visiting the Museum of the Pony Express).
If yesterday was pajama day, today was scarf day. We have clearly left the chilly weather of the Wyoming mountains for the hot weather of the midwest plains. August wore nothing but scarves for most of our ten-plus hours of driving. The heat alone was sufficient reason for this, but he also fancied himself a Native American protecting his land from the riders, railroads and wagons. I have mentioned before how important imagination has been for this trip and living into our history.
Throughout this entire week, August has taken his RV duties seriously, taking time at every stop to wash bugs off the vehicle. We are used to him being in costume much of the time, but this outfit turned some heads.
We have few photos or stories to tell from this day, but remember a pleasant day of travel. We drew, read, played cards and listened to lots of Narnia. The image of Prince Caspian sailing into endless horizons of water set against our travel through endless miles of grass was provocative. And we laughed a lot. Noelle made dinner at one of the beautiful rest areas while August played in, of all things, sprinklers! After dinner we took a pleasant walk beside the Platte River and a frog startled me.
We arrived much later than expected in Missouri. We are staying tonight at the home of some of my friends from college who were helpful in planning or trip. Though we were parked at a house, August wanted to sleep in the camper because he knows our days with “West Crasher” are limited and he wants to spend every night he can with it.
Recommended Reading: The Wilderness Reader, edited by Frank Bergon. (A Mentor Book, 1980)