Stop #10 - Niobrara State Park, Niobrara Nebraska
Guess that bouncy part of US-281 in southern South Dakota was good for something (refrigerator working), not my back though, it was tired. Besides ‘bouncing” down the highway, had to dodge trucks that were carrying oversized loads. A large portion of I-90, in South Dakota, is under construction and anything over 10 feet wide is not allowed and must take an alternate route. Well, portions of I-94 in North Dakota are under construction and have the same width restrictions and somewhere in between these oversized loads find you and you are stuck with all these loads - farm equipment and combines (in middle of wheat harvest) in ND, oversized tires (23 of those trucks), some huge metal apparatus (6 of those), hugh wood roof tresses (4 of those) and whatever else came along - either at you or going in the same direction (and they weren’t going no 60 mph like I do). These weren’t all together either, very spread out. I never realized the Interstates carried so many oversized loads of material. Guess ‘cause I don’t drive them that much!
I forgot to mention that at Fort A. Lincoln campground the “little trailer people” came out to be seen. I met a very nice couple, with an old Burro or Bolo, from New York State who were returning home from a trip to Alaska. She said it was so much better than the trip she and her husband made back in the 40’s, so much better and easier. Also met a couple from Minnesota on their way to the Black Hills with their little original Teardrop. We had a good time talking.
This Park (Niobrara) is beautiful, just beautiful. So far, it is my favorite (as far as public campgrounds go) spot on this trip. Smith Falls comes in 2nd - way to go Nebraska State Parks. There are lots of hiking and horseback riding trails all over, an equestrian campground, lots of primitive tenting sites, cabins high on the bluffs, beautiful vistas overlooking the Niobrara River entering the Missouri. I am back to “serene” (well, almost except for the 3 camp pads next to me staying up after midnight night talking and laughing). I want to come back here again, especially in the Fall when the trees are really turning. I suspect the summers are a bit on the humid side.
This is the area of the Ponca and Santee Sioux tribes. I did stop and view the Fort Randall Military Post (here’s proof), only because I saw what looked like a large church on the Fort grounds and I was curious. And, yes, George was there too, but briefly. Sitting Bull was held here for a little over two years before being moved to Fort Yates, ND.
But, the church was really beautiful, especially for the materials and tools they had at the time. It was built in 1875 at a cost of approximately $20,000. it was abandoned in 1892, but through various group efforts overtime, has been preserved and the original tower’s bell found it’s way back home in the summer of 2004.
I went to have lunch in Niobrara and went to the Two Rivers Saloon. What an interesting place, with tin ceilings and lots of things retrieved from the 2nd Niobrara (the 1st was destroyed by fire and this site is the 3rd). It’s another one of those stories about moving the town when the dam was being built. The owner saved the “cage” from the old post office, part of a bar in a saloon, the tellers cage from a bank and a shuffle board table which is the top of the bar now. There are two windows at the front from a house or some luxurious structure. There is quite a collection of things inside to keep your eyes busy while waiting the delivery of a delicious meal. I had a very good Philly cheese steak sandwich. I might go and try the Prime Rib Sat nite. The owner, Troy, was very friendly and I enjoyed visiting with him before he went to fix my lunch.
Saturday, I did only one load of laundry as the sights and views kept pulling me to get in the truck and see them. I did and I was rewarded with beautiful sights. Both rivers are lazy here covering quite a bit of ground as they are spread out and work their way southeastward.
I took the scenic drive that the State Park has established around the Park. I stopped and went ohhhhhd and awwwwwd and took lots of pictures - most you can see in Flickr (to be entered later). I encountered these little critters and momsie and popsie weren’t too happy with my closeness to kidsies.
I took short hikes and one was down to the old railroad bridge that crosses the Niobrara River just before it enters the Missouri. There are seats one can use on the bridge and I just sat there for the longest time listening to the swallow babies under the bridge and the water making it’s gurgling and movement sounds over the sand bars. That hike took me a bit longer to return on as it was pretty steep and the lungs were puffing a bit, but it was worth it. Treated myself to the delicious prime rib dinner at Two Rivers Saloon that night.
Sunday morning we all woke up to a thick, dense fog but fairly warm out at 57 degrees. I rolled over and slept until 8:30 a.m.! Unusual for me. Some pitctures of fog and cobwebs. The day was cleaning the trailer out, which is so easy in a little critter, finishing laundry, doing dishes and working on my ribbon wind socks. The Park pretty much emptied out by mid-afternoon and there were just a couple of us left. Oh, ran to the grocery store in town to pick up a few things for the refrig. Other than the above, I sat outside and watched the world go by and swatted flies. Oh, what is that saying when you see a woolly worm? I saw three Sunday.
There were some “roadside” sunflowers behind my trailer and in the morning and early evenings, they would be covered with golden finches and chickadees getting the seeds from the dried flower heads. Momma bird was there too feeding the many little babies. Was so relaxing to watch that chore they were doing. These beautiful red berries were loaded on the bush next to my sight:
Decided to stay one more night at Niorabra SP, got a message from the folks in Sac City they had to make a trip to Oberlin Ks due to a family situation, so not in any hurry to get there for about 10 days. Ann told me there is going to be a big quilt show in Sac City on the weekend of the 26th with over 400 entries, so that would be interesting to include in my things to see and do around Sac City. I’ll head to Ponca SP on Tues and stay 2 or 3 nights, then go on over to somewhere in Iowa. Decisions, decisions!