OTRA – NE – Hay Springs
Oct 2, 2013
Ran into Sundance to get diesel and a geocache then hit the road around 11:45 in our Great Escape to the south…Hay Springs, Nebraska to be exact. Again, we backtracked over much of our previous routes but once we passed Hermosa, SD, we were in new territory. But it was, once again, very easy driving right down SD-79 to US-385 and into the campground! Pretty much the same type of scenery with the addition of huge piles of hay, more trees putting on their fall colors, and a Class A motorhome pulling a pickup truck with a pontoon boat behind…that was one long setup!! We ran into some construction along I-90 where it appears they’re actually re-building the highway. Generally, though, we’ve found the roads to be so much nicer out here than in the east. None of the potholes for sure. Of course, Pennsylvania is always blaming on their freeze/thaw cycles but I do believe they have as many of those out here as they do back there. They don’t seem to have as many “supervisors” on the highway jobs, though. When you see construction or repairs out here, everyone is working and there are no “shovel leaners”. Ah well. Their snow fences in SD…or at least what we THINK is snow fencing…are different than what is back east, too. Here, they’re about 6’ high, built of boards on a slanted base.
The scenery slowly changed from cattle land to crop land and rolling hills of nothing. For many miles, it looked like someone took a great green blanket and just draped it over the hills. No cattle; no houses…just great green blanketed hills. It was beautiful.
So pulled into the Hay Springs City Park/Sunrise Park around 3:30. This is a little community park that offers everything we need…water, electric, and sewer…for only $15 a night. That’s a really good deal. We like these little community parks because they’re generally well kept, quiet and private. There was only one other trailer here when we arrived and no one else came throughout our whole stay. Very nice.
Today we went to the St. Mary’s Cemetery on top of a nearby hill in search of a geocache. There are some monuments here that are absolutely beautiful!!! I can’t find any story behind the monuments but I’ve included some of the pictures here so you can see who built them. The stones in the monuments appear to be from all over the country, if not the world. Some of them appear to be from someone’s private collection because there are numbers next to them. The one monument is lighted at night although we couldn’t see it from our campsite.
And then the snows arrived!! Along with the winds!! We haven’t seen this much snow since we lived at the farm in the Poconos!! We only got about 18” of it but it was cold and windy and so it drifted. It started yesterday while we were at the St. Mary’s Cemetery geocache (you could feel it coming) and continued through the night. Today, we awoke to find a small herd of Black Angus all huddled around the tree near our camper. They stayed there for a couple of hours then walked through the park in search of food. It was neat…yet sad. They were hungry; they were wet; they were cold and there was nothing we could do to help. I did call 911 as I was instructed and reported their presence. I don’t know if their owner ever did recover them or if they just disappeared over the hills to wander forever. Reading the news several days later, I saw that they had 4’ of snow in much of western South Dakota and they lost thousands of head of cattle. Most of them probably died of hypothermia because they don’t have their winter coats on yet and they were totally wet from the rain before the snow so by the time the snow came, they didn’t have much left to keep them warm. So sad. A lot of cows and calves.
They cleared the road beside our park once the snow stopped early this evening so Bob and I went out to get my cache-of-the-day located at a Welcome sign several hundred yards from our campsite. I’d forgotten how hard it is to wade through knee deep snow and thankfully we only had to do it until we got on the road. But it was cold!! And windy!! And neither of us has gloves so I put a pair of socks on my hands because I figured I was going to have to dig through the drifted snow to find the cache. I did dig until my hand-socks were soaked and my fingers were cold then I searched a little higher. Found it hanging very nicely in a bush near the sign. Sheesh. I was very glad to get back to the warm, dry, non-windy RV!!
They haven’t plowed the park road yet so I guess we’ll be staying a little longer. We’re in no rush…although we can’t stay too long or I’ll run out of geocaches.
They plowed the campground road today so we took off for Chadron to pick up meds and get diesel and some geocaches. Wow!! As we drove in to town, there were huge tree branches all over the place. Some roads were even closed off while people were cleaning up. Evidently, they had some strong winds here and the trees, still clothed in their summer leaves, got overloaded with the wet snow…and then the wind came. It was truly unbelievable. We finished our business in town (sans geocaches), drove around a little bit to see the devastation, and then headed back to our little sanctuary in Hay Springs. Stopped for a geocache at the Fur Trader’s Museum on the way back but didn’t go into the museum.
On the way back into town, we saw what looked like a pyramid off in the distance so off we went to see what we could see. There was a lady feeding a horse so we stopped and asked her about it and she offered to show us around. It turns out it was on a private farm and it was a gazebo on top of a hill. Her husband just started digging one day and piling the dirt higher and higher and while he was piling, he also put a secret door inside the hill that leads to a flight of stairs that take you to the top. What makes it look like a pyramid are the big blocks of cement on the one side. We didn’t go in but I bet the view from up there is absolutely outstanding!! Oh, her husband is a highway/farm buildings contractor and he has all sorts of neat old tractors and other machinery. He also has an old motorcycle that he restored and an old delivery truck used to deliver gasoline and axle grease way back when. It was a really neat visit with a really neat lady.
Leaving tomorrow for Chappell, Nebraska. Campground road is clear; highways are clear…time to move on.