What was supposed to be one long, boring travel day turned out to be much different. Winter Storm “Achilles” was the first change. Instead of driving down I-35 to Des Moines IA and heading west on I-80 on Friday May 3rd, we left Thursday night May 2nd after the car tune ups were completed. We drove to Sioux City SD. By going south and west, we avoided the snow along the I-35 and I-80 corridors on Thursday and Friday.
With our Friday drive to North Platte NE now a shorter distance, we have time to make a few side trips. We took I-90 to US 83 and drove south through SD and NE. Our first stop was Valentine NE, home to red valentines carved into the sidewalks. It was also home to the Niobrara Scenic River and Fort Niobrara National Wildlife Refuge.
This stop produced a waterfall (not huge but cute), coyote, bison, prairie dogs, and elk. Chris spotted the coyote. It was sunning itself along our trail. After opening one eye and realizing we were smart creatures that were not going to challenge his right to the trail, it went back to snoozing as we retraced our steps.
The bison numbered about 25 and blocked the road so we let them go first out of consideration to the young ones and to the size of the old ones.
The prairie dogs were cute as always. The elk were some of the closest we have seen in our wanderings. We got several pictures before they leapt over a fence and were gone.
Final stop of the day was at the Bailey Yards. This is the largest railroad yard in the world. For Union Pacific, they repair-check out 300 locomotives a day. They process 10,000 rail cars per day over 2,850 acres stretching over 8 miles. Quite the site. Our camera could not capture the whole view.
Tomorrow we head to Grand Junction, CO.
Enjoy your days as much as we are enjoying ours.
Ed 5/3/13 8:15 pm