This morning I had a personal debate with myself to determine the best route to take today towards home – The southern route on I-70 via Denver; or the northern route on I-80 via Cheyenne. I did my homework, watched the weather channel and checked out weather.com and it appeared that I-70 might be my best bet in dodging the storms, but would add another 125 miles to my trip. At the last minute, and based on the weather channel’s updated forecast, I chose the northern route on I-80, as it showed the storms letting up.
After booking almost 400 miles today, I decided to call it a day and check into my now favorite budget motel, Super 8, located in Lexington, Nebraska.
After getting everything unloaded and settled into my room, I found the hot tub to warm up. Today, the temperature went from 78 degrees in Kansas City to 48 degrees in Lexington, so I was a little chilled.
Lexington, previously called Plum Creek to the early pioneers, was settled in 1860 as an early frontier trading post along the Oregon Trail and Platte River. It has a colorful and lively history. Nearby the town and along the trail were some bluffs, considered to be one of the most dangerous areas to travel through on your way west.
In 1864 there was a massacre, carried out by the Sioux, Cheyenne and Arapaho Indians. Men, women and children were outright killed or captured. Wagons were burned and any settlements destroyed. Close to the place of the massacre site sits a cemetery reserved just for the graves of those victims.
As I journeyed through Nebraska today, and will continue so tomorrow, I will be following the Platte River and the Oregon Trail, where some 400,000 early pioneers traveled to settle the west. Most came looking for a better life, and paid a high price through great hardships and challenges for it.
As I rode along the Oregon Trail, I wondered what it would have been like to travel by horse or wagon back in those early days. I felt gratitude to my early pioneer ancestors who paid a dear price for my place of residence in the valley of the Great Salt Lake.
As I have traveled the country these past three weeks, exploring some beautiful countryside and meeting a lot of interesting people, I’m thankful for the place I live. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Our State of Utah is a very special place…as it surely must be the Promised Land.