Happy to be back in my second “home town” of Scottsbluff, NE. This is where both my parents were born and raised and where I spent many summers as a kid. My mom’s ashes made a 6k+ mile journey to get here and here we will be for two nights.
The drive from North Platte to Scottsbluff was really beautiful. We took 26, which is an old wagon trail route. The country is open and green with hints of light tan bluffs here and there. Scottsbluff is a landmark because its bluff is about the only thing for miles that rises above the even, flat surface of the land. As such, it was used to help guide settlers on their way to Oregon.
A funny thing happened on the way to the RV park. Yesterday during the drive to North Platte, someone passed us on the road and honked and waved. I didn’t know them and wasn’t sure if it was just an enthusiastically friendly driver, or someone who had an interest in Altos. We waved back. Later on Facebook, a guy in the Altoistes group posted that he had seen an Alto traveling westbound on 80. I let him know it was me and said he should come say hi if he was in the area of Gering. So he did! After we’d unhitched and were getting ready to head out for lunch, a man tentatively approached us and introduced himself. I gave him a little tour of the inside because he doesn’t have his yet and was wondering about the shower. What a very small world!
Lunch was at a place that couldn’t be more midwest if it tried. There were posters and pictures of cowboys everywhere. The tables and decor were sort of saloon themed and the first thing I noticed going to the table was that there were peanut shells all over the floor. They set buckets of them on the tables and I guess the expectation is that you just throw the shells on the floor.
The highlight of the day of course was seeing my aunt and uncle again after so many years. Facebook is an awesome way to keep in touch, but nothing replaces a real live hug. I love them so much and the whole place brings Mom and Dad, and Grandma and Grandpa, front and center in my mind. The colors of the landscape are part of who they were, and are, to me. I think about grandparents and lots of extended family, all here. So many 4th of Julys. So many miles covered in the car heading back and forth, from the time when I was very small. Endless hours of playing the alphabet game with road signs. And once here, days and weeks spent playing bumper pool in the basement or destroying my grandparents’ garage wall with poorly aimed darts.
My aunt and uncle’s house is lovely and many of the woodworked furnishings and picture frames were made by Grandpa George. He was such a character and I feel his presence in their home. He once lost a football bet to me for eight dollars and he handcrafted a wooden frame which he used to place eight silver dollars behind glass. So there.
I’ll have pictures of them in the next post. I was so happy to see them, I forgot to take any pictures except of their front porch. Tomorrow we get to be lazy and we will get together and have a little ceremony for my mom. Tomorrow is also Darren’s 21st birthday. I warned him he’d be turning drinking age somewhere on this trip and he honestly seemed fine with it. I still have the bottle of champagne given to us by Safari Condo. Maybe this is the time to pull it out.
Total Miles: 194.6, Engine Time: 4 hours 32 min, 16.8 mpg