We are tired of staying at the same hotel chain. And the quality of the chain has become so unpredictable. We decided to try some thing new. This is a shameless plug. This was BRAND NEW! Our first stay at a Tru hotel by Hilton. Great for a single traveler. CRAMPED for a couple! We did like the hooks on the wall and the great shower though! Not certain how we might book it next time to try to get extra space in our area? It was designed with young people in mind, including the huge lobby area with pool table and plenty of quiet booths for business work and phone calls.
We lit out of town the next morning after doing an interview with fact finding Hilton staff. They made it worth our while with a payment for our time. Pretty sweet for retirees on a journey! Cheyenne to Ft. Collins, Colorado 47 miles, (plus mileage into and through part of Rocky Mountain National Park).
We drove from river land into high desert and approached mountains. “Arid prairies give way to craggy bluffs, table-like mesas, rocky pillars and stark buttes that loom across the landscape.” https://traveltips.usatoday.com/landforms-geographic-features-nebraska-59083.html There were almost more terrain changes than we could process. Our senses were highly tuned to watching out the windows and marveling at the differences 100 miles could make. Overall that day we saw countless Sandhill Cranes, 11 Hawks, 2 Eagle nests and wild Turkeys.
I already posted about Gothenburg and the Pony Express, decorating fences with cattle skulls and some of the other sights. Below is Chimney Rock in Nebraska. It rises about 300 feet above the North Platte River valley. It’s peak is 4,228 feet above sea level. It was a landmark for those traveling west in the mid-19th century. The shape has changed over the years due to lightning strikes, storms and erosion. At the Visitor Center run by History Nebraska, a woman told us of the recent five foot snow in her area. One man had to hook the tractor to the car and drag it to the road. Then loaded his family on the tractor wagon and took them to the car so they could get out to go to school!
Yes, you should plan a trip next spring to this wonder of the world. The Sandhill Crane migration is the largest in the world and well worth your time. Your sense of adventure will rise to a new height as you marvel at these birds. Fly, take a bus, drive, get there any way that you can to witness this extraordinary event. We planned to spend two nights there so we could be certain to witness one sunrise and one sunset. We did not book any special tours or bird blinds and yet we saw plenty. If I had not seen them in New Mexico I likely would have missed them in the fields at first.
Here is a very short clip
Here is a clip from Geographic.
This video is phenomenal. Yes, 8 minutes long, but their photography captures what I could not. Even Bob was challenged in the low light conditions of sunrise and sunset along with the skittishness of the birds themselves! We supported the Sandhill Trust while we were there.
Then off to Cheyenne Wyoming, 338 miles away. As we drove through Nebraska along the Platte River we saw fields with birds, and then more birds!
16 states, slept in 10 of those in at least 3 different motel chains. All but one night was pretty good sleep! 48 years of marriage and this was the longest trip we had ever taken since our one year anniversary trip moving from California to Ohio. In all those miles there was only one moment when we both thought we were about to be in an auto accident through no fault of our own. We still marvel at how were kept safe, day after day, hour after hour.
Most children have an hour or two a day when they get cranky. Low blood sugar, need for parental attention, whatever. And adults can get that way, too! Eating routines disrupted, NO NAPS, navigating strange places, being in the car for hours on end together days on end. We had those moments. Most were navigated with humor, kindness, and sometimes snacks or coffee stops.
Realizing neither of us knew the way at every moment in time, we were able to not take things personally. Accepting the fact that those moments were going to occur almost daily helped, too.
Seeing something new and wonderful or just reflecting on the vast differences between today’s scenery in contrast to yesterday helped restore a sense of wonder.
Things such as is this typical grain storage or caused by the trade wars? We had no answers, just a sense of wonder at the abundance the agricultural families of our country produce. We saw many of these seeming impromptu storage set-ups. There were abundant silos, but these appeared in plenty.
We discovered during the trip that we were uneducated in so many areas, prone to still be human, able to travel together long distances and still in love after all these years. Determined to face the chapter of older adults as joyfully as possible we seemed to have at minimum one good laugh a day. Now I wish I had written down those comic moments!
Cincinnati through Louisville to St. Louis. Day #1, 358 miles. We saw the flooded Mississippi and ate toasted ravioli at award winning Zia’s on the Hill.
That day we also saw an eagle in flight and my favorite, the great blue heron!
I kept applying what I saw to myself. Flooding puts river banks and pastures under water. Some say this refreshes the land like no other phenomenon, dropping fresh silt on the soil. Flood me Lord with Your Living Water and Presence in my everyday moments. Open my ears so that when You speak, I will hear You clearly and move towards obedience.
Day #2 St. Louis to Topeka to Kansas City, Missouri, 309 some miles. We stopped in Kansas City Kansas to look around and stumbled upon graffiti artists. Here is a local diva having her photo taken before their art.
Bar-B-Que lunch at Mr. Gates. The after church crowd joined us. I had fun watching and older gentleman watch me make a mess with barbecue sauce all over my face. He was waiting for his family to place their orders and bring his food. They were all dressed to the nines! When I finished they had just placed his tray in front of him. I teased him that it was my turn to watch him eat and not make a mess. Turns out he was blind in one eye and in his nineties. He was a retired preacher and song leader, sort of retired. His son was now in the pulpit. All his sons were preachers. We talked about how important it is to try to inspire the younger ones. I left him to enjoy his lunch with blessings upon the rest of his day and silently upon his life and legacy.
The Bar-B-Que was delicious going down and gave me fits all night! What a way to go though ;-D.
We saw so many different rock formations across the USA and I could not help think of the God Who created them and is represented by the image of an immovable rock. The Living Bible says in Psalm 144:1 “Bless the Lord who is my immovable Rock. He gives me strength and skill in battle.”
Psalm 18:2 (NRSV) The LORD is my rock, my fortress, and my deliverer, my God, my rock in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. Psalm 95:1 (NRSV) O come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! 2 Samuel 22:47 (NRSV) The LORD lives! Blessed be my rock, and exalted be my God, the rock of my salvation.
When Jesus made His triumphal entry into Jerusalem the disciples were praising God loudly. The pharisees told Him to get them to hush. His reply was “I tell you,” He replied, “if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out.” I wanted to sing the song below and play it in the car at full volume. Sadly, I did not have it on my mP3 player and had trouble finding it on YouTube, too! Pooh. So here it is for you. Turn up your speakers and get ready to get your praise on! Also, the lyrics are below. Followed by two New Testament references.
LYRICS: “Now Jesus was going up, on His way to Jerusalem, To be lifted high on a tree that He might draw men unto Him Well, the multitudes began to praise Him, While others were trying to stop Him. He said “If they hold their peace, the rocks are gonna cry out!”
“And here is one less stone, and I’m one more voice, To praise the mighty name, the name of the Lord I am one less stone and I’m one more voice to praises Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord
“Now David was a man of praise, praising God in the sanctuary He praised Him on the trumpet and the harp, and he praised Him in the dance I don’t want to offend anybody, but I’m gonna praise my Jesus He said “If I hold my peace, the rocks are gonna cry out!” And here is one less stone, and I’m one more voice, To praise the mighty name, the name of the Lord I am one less stone and I’m one more voice to praises Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord
“Now David was a man of praise, praising God in the sanctuary He praised Him on the trumpet and the harp, and he praised Him in the dance I don’t want to offend anybody, but I’m gonna worship Jesus He said “If I hold my peace, the rocks are gonna cry out!”
“And here is one less stone, and I’m one more voice, To praise the mighty name, the name of the Lord I am one less stone and I’m one more voice to praise Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord Now David was a man of praise, praising God in the sanctuary He praised Him on the trumpet and the harp, and he praised Him in the dance I don’t want to offend anybody, but I’m gonna praise my Jesus He said “If I hold my peace, the rocks are gonna cry out!”
And here is one less stone, and I’m one more voice, To praise the mighty name, the name of the Lord I am one less stone and I’m one more voice to praise Him
Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord Blessed is the King (blessed is the King of Kings), Blessed is the King (blessed is the Lord of Lords), Blessed is the King (oh, we praise Your name), Blessed is the King (You’re worthy of the praise), Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord
Romans 9:32-33 (NRSV) Why not? Because they did not strive for it on the basis of faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, as it is written, “See, I am laying in Zion a stone that will make people stumble, a rock that will make them fall, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
1 Corinthians 10:4 (NRSV) and all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual rock that followed them, and the rock was Christ.