After leaving Pine Bluff, Wy we entered Nebraska and turned north to towards Gering and Scotts Bluff National Monument. Gering proudly sports the North Platte Valley Museum with a guide that is more than pleased to share the history of the county with you. The large farming community also has a Farm and Ranch Museum and the Riverside Discovery Center.
Close by, along the Oregon Trail, is the entrance to Scotts Bluff National Monument. Inside the Visitor Center is the Oregon Trail Museum with displays on westward emigrant travel and challenges, geology, and the art work of William Henry Jackson. Driving the Saddle Rock Trail to the bluff summit you can take in the miles and miles of spectacular views.
Our RV park was on the edge of Gering surrounded by sunflower and corn fields. Each morning I was able to bike up the road to the monument, back through the cemetery, and along the irrigated fields. The mornings were still, with temperatures in the 50s, with only the hard-working farmers up and about. The last evening in Gering the 312th Army Band (YouTube “Three Final Songs”) from Lawrence, KS performed in the Amphitheater next to our RV Park. Watching the sun go down behind the bluffs and listening to the music of J.P. Sousa, Benny Goodman, and other American composers will be at the top my memorable evenings list.
Traveling north our next stop was the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument. The monument was created to protect the Miocene Age mammal fossils and James Cook’s collection of American Indian artifacts that were gifts from Red Cloud and other friends. We visited the Visitor Center & Museum and hiked the 4 miles of trails. Despite the incredible intense sun, lack of trees, and shortage of water the visit left us with an understanding of the significance of the fossil beds and the efforts to conserve the natural and historic objects of the area.
After lunch in the RV we traveled the 50 miles to Harrison, NE (population 265). We found a beautiful city park with two RV spots. After setting up the trailer we took a walking tour of the town and visited the local grocery store. Before heading out the next morning we visited the Harrison Museum. For the size of this community the museum was very impressive. We spent about 2 hours touring the 4 buildings and visiting with the caretakers. This was my first time to see two, gallon jars, full of rattle snake rattlers (hopefully my last).
Next we would head west across the prairie through Wyoming and up into Montana.