Ride to Fort Robinson, August 18-19, 2012
by Deborah Nielsen
Saturday morning eight members from Colorado met two of the Cheyenne members at the I-25 McDonald’s in Cheyenne.
Four of the Colorado members rode up just to say hi. Denny Pink was one of them. “I wish I could go with you!” he exclaimed. But his wife, Jane, had to work. “I’m being the good husband and it’s killing me!” Poor Denny. After commiserating with those who couldn’t make the whole ride, six of us headed to Nebraska.
The group opted for two lanes and back roads once again. Taking US Hwy 85 to LaGrange, Wyoming, we cut over to NE 71 and rode over the Wildcat Hills to Scottsbluff, Nebraska, where we stopped for gas and a break. We had some new participants this year so once again we headed for the Agate Fossil Beds National Monument.
We stopped at the monument’s visitor’s center to look at the different exhibits and watch the short informational movie then headed up the road to Harrison. On the way out of the monument we slowed for a doe making a beeline from the creek to the hills on the other side of the road.
Once again we stopped at the saloon in Harrison for a late lunch. Rattlesnake skins still covered the walls but some of the pithy signs were gone and there weren’t any cute cowboys to show us his boots and spurs. Oh, well.
Leaving Harrison we took US Hwy 20 east to Fort Robinson. When we arrived at the fort we signed up for the Hayrack Breakfast for Sunday morning then checked in. Some of the group explored the grounds and museums and others relaxed on the headquarters’ porch. We all met up later for dinner at the fort’s restaurant.
Sunday morning we rode the hay wagon to the pine forest at the base of the cliffs behind the fort and had a hearty breakfast of pancakes, scrambled eggs, ham and potatoes. After breakfast several of the group went through the fort’s history museum. Then we mounted up and headed for Chadron and the Museum of the Fur Trade.
That is some museum! It encompasses the history of the fur trade on the entire North American continent. It has a large rifle collection, lots of powder flasks and other personal items used by the fur traders, jewelry, trade items and one of the largest textile collections of clothing and blankets that I’ve ever seen. In one of the rooms boats and canoes hang from the ceiling. Jim Daniels kept repeating, “This is the best museum I’ve ever been to!”
Then we headed south towards Alliance to see Carhenge. It’s a different kind of attraction, for sure. Then it was on to Gering for a late lunch and the road home.
We had a great weekend. And we’re planning on doing another Ride to the Fort next year.