September 7, 2011

Wagons, Ho!

Linda and I made it through the night without any problems (we don’t count being awaken at 4:00 pm by a cat who needed some attention as a problem).  We feasted on the peanut butter pretzels that we had purchased yesterday for breakfast.  I love sampling regional specialties and hope to continue this throughout the trip.

Today was all about the Oregon Trail, and we had booked a three-hour Oregon Trail Wagon Train ride to Chimney Rock for the morning.  This idea had taken form back in Estes Park, and Linda and I had made special preparations for the ride.  Specifically, Linda had thought it would be a great idea for us to wear bonnets on the ride.  She had offered to make them for us, but Tim and I had found some when we were in Casper last month.  Linda tried out her bonnet yesterday at Scotts Bluff.  We were all set for the trail.

Chimney Rock in the Distance

Reflection in the Water
Murf, the wagon master, regaled us with tales about the Oregon Trail pioneers, as well as stories about himself and his background, during the tour to Chimney Rock.  The covered wagon ride goes all the way to the base of Chimney Rock, which is not accessible by car.  Murf offered to let me drive the wagon, and I did so with a bit of trepidation, given my uneven history with horses.  Knowing that Murf would not relinquish total control did not boost my confidence.  I was only mildly insulted when he accused me of being from Australia, since I had let the wagon drift to the left side of the road.  Thankfully, Linda, the master horsewoman, took over and got us safely to Chimney Rock.

Am I Going the Right Way?

Let the Expert Handle It
We got out at Chimney Rock with Murf’s son Michael, who walked with us around the base.  This was also our stop to pose for photos.  Don’t we look fetching in our bonnets?  The ride itself was a blast and was the highlight of the day.  What an amazing place!  I can see how Chimney Rock became such an important landmark for pioneers as they journeyed westward.

Murf and the Two Pioneers

Let's Go

Murf and His Wagon Train

Leaving Chimney Rock

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