Road Trip: Scottsbluff, Nebraska

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

May 31st through June 2nd was a whirlwind road trip to western Nebraska to visit my grandma.  On our nine hour drive, we made a little time lapse video that ended right before our dinner at Ole's Big Game Steakhouse in Paxton, Nebraska. Growing up, most trips between Des Moines and Denver (where my grandparents lived) included lunch next to the stuffed polar bear or sitting under the stuffed giraffe.  I hoped the boyfriend would enjoy the interesting decor, and about forty minutes later we left full from our meal (steak sandwich) and with souvenirs.  

We arrived in Scottsbluff around 7pm.  After stopping by my grandma's place, we checked into the Hampton Inn for our free stay (thanks Hilton HHonors Points!) and crashed hard after a long day spent in the car.  Saturday morning it was time for donuts from the Gering Bakery; a well known bakery in town.  This was my first trip to the bakery, but hardly my first trip to town.  Usually I elect to stay at my grandma's instead of the hotel, so my folks and sister deliver rolls each morning.  

We waited our turn drooling over the donuts and treats behind the glass.  With a dozen rolls in hand, we headed back to my grandma's; thankfully we were able to find the type of doughnut that my grandma described - a sour cream cake doughnut.  After our breakfast, we took the leftovers to her sister and brother-in-law, Evelyn & Butch.  Butch is the sweetest guy and trust me, there will be a special place in heaven for him someday.  Poor guy was at one point the only surviving husband of the five sisters in town.

Evelyn's daughter called while we were there and we made plans for dinner with her.  Susie is a riot and one of very few people who keep my dad (her cousin) in place.  

We went about our day, visiting the Scottsbluff National Monument.  We drove to the top and hike about a half mile total.  Here are a few pictures, click to enlarge:

Panoramic photo from the parking lot

View from the peak, looking over Scottsbluff

Me, at the top of the Monument

Me and the boyfriend

Western view, towards Wyoming
After our little hike, we drove back to the visitors center and watched a video that made me really grateful for road trips growing up; I am not suited for a life on the Oregon Trail!  We checked out the small museum and my grandma pointed out her favorite exhibit that's be there since she was a child - two dioramas of historic Scottsbluff.

After the museum and a quick stop at the cemetery where my grandfather is buried, we went to my grandma's favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch.  Their fresh guacamole and freshly fried flour tortilla chips were a treat, but our entrees had nothing on my favorite places in Des Moines.  We stopped by the nursing home to visit my great-aunt June, who looked the best I've seen her in a few years. 

Next, we headed south to a state park.  The visitors center was small, and the hands-on activities would be ideal for anyone with kids.  This park is home to lots of wild animals including a heard of Big Horn Sheep. 

Saturday we took our time getting ready and then spent a couple of hours with grandma before dropping her off at her bridge luncheon.  She was pretty sure she was taking home some prize money from this season's tournament.  We headed back home, stopping for fuel and food and enjoying NPR's Wait Wait, Don't Tell Me podcasts. It was a short trip, but awesome to see my grandma.  

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