The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

6 July 2004

Not bluffing

Scottsbluff, Nebraska — 733.7 miles

First, the nomenclature:

Scottsbluff, the town: one word.

Scotts Bluff, the county or, well, the Bluff: two words.

I'm sure everyone here has already mastered these fine details. (Duh.)

And who the hell was Scott? His first name was Hiram, he worked for the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, and they found his remains in the vicinity back in 1829.

I was beginning to think someone would have to find my remains today. In an effort to throw some variety into this year's version of the Kansas-Nebraska Act, I took off into Colorado and threaded my way up US 385, a road which for years has jumped out at me from the maps and yelled "Aren't you wondering why there's nothing here?" Well, it's not nothing, but through northeastern Colorado and the Nebraska Panhandle, it's not much either. I can understand why towns like Burlington and Julesburg insisted on the alignments they did, so that unless you're a local and know the tricks you have to take the business route through town; small towns need all the help they can get these days. On the other hand, the perfectly charming little town of Wray didn't pull this stunt, but its toad-in-the-hole topography makes it impossible to miss anyway.

And 385 does go somewhere: Rapid City. But not very rapidly, I'm sure.

I'd have to check the maps to see how many times I crossed back and forth between Central and Mountain time today. Lunch wound up being at 1:30 Mountain; props to Shari's, apparently a popular Northwest chain but one which I've never seen before. It seems that Scottsbluff is their farthest-East outpost. If only there'd been a Shari's when Hiram Scott came through — but never mind.

(Time posted is in Central, mostly because I'm really too lazy to keep changing it.)

Posted at 4:51 PM to World Tour '04


Ah, nothing like the small towns of America. Can't wait to hear more.

Posted by: Babs at 10:38 PM on 6 July 2004

go speed racer go!

Posted by: bruce at 11:55 PM on 6 July 2004

And hey... where are the photos?

Posted by: bruce at 11:55 PM on 6 July 2004

I had my fill of eastern Colorado on a ride from Black Mesa to Trinidad through the Comanche Nat'l Grasslands. My wife and daughter were begging me to turn back, as the only thing bigger than the rocks and cows in the road were the threatening storm clouds. It was desolate, deteriorated and deserted. We saw few signs of human life for hours. Yep, it was bad. We never made it out alive.

Posted by: Mike at 2:09 AM on 7 July 2004

When the sun's out, it looks better.

Slightly.

(I snagged a couple of shots of the 385 moonscape, but inasmuch as I still use that antiquated 35mm film stuff, they will have to wait for processing.)

Posted by: CGHill at 8:40 AM on 7 July 2004

oye! join the digital age CG.

Posted by: bruce at 6:01 PM on 7 July 2004