Friday, September 25, 2009

Across the Great Plains

Hidden behind the cornfields of Nebraska there are glimpses of the Great Plains, which covered the Dakotas, Wyoming and Nebraska.  For the past three days we’ve been following part of the Oregon Trail--the route that people took in the 1840s to get from the settled eastern US into the raw west.   And I’ve been thinking about those people in the covered wagons, pulled by oxen or even in hand pulled carts, crossing these lands.

When I was little I read the Laura Ingalls Wilder books about the Little House on the Prairie and I imagined myself in that life but I’d never seen any evidence of what it was like—until now.  There are places where the ruts from the wagon trains can be seen and today we visited a museum with a little house made of sod.

Life was so much harder and people were so brave to go forward into the unknown. I think about how soft we are now—needing our lattes and our internet connections and our heated RVs for camping. 
It’s not until you actually drive across this huge expanse of prairie country that you get a sense of just how vast it is. We took three or four days to cross it; they took months.

But I have to say that it’s an incredibly beautiful part of the world.  The sky is huge and the land goes on forever.  Along the rivers the cottonwoods grow, and on the plains the herds roam.  We don’t see buffalo now but I know that in the past they were there.  Apparently Kearney Nebraska was where the wagon trains first encountered herds of buffalo.

Today we’re here at the Buffalo County Fairgrounds getting ready for a weekend of flyball.  Our teammates are racing today but we’re not up until tomorrow so we’re going to do a little sight seeing. 


  1. I agree. We are certainly not as hardy as our ancestors. But then, they worked hard to make life better for each succeeding generation. I hope we're continuing that tradition.
    I always wanted to see a sod house. Cool for you.

  2. your amazing journey continues joanna!! i love the wide expanse shots you are sharing and then too the connection to the journey of america's forefathers is ever present when you're in the mid west. it is astonishing to us that they achieved what they di with what they had under those circumstances. i wonder if they had something of the sensation of our astronauts in knowing that they don't have the most advanced equipment but the best that can be procured. have a lovely evening. see you tomorrow!!! steven

  3. i've always dreamed of taking one of those tourist wagon train trips on the oregon trail. your photos are just wonderful. i was a huge little house fan as well. one day i hope to visit that area.

    what is fly ball??!!


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