Skip to main content

Wyoming Road Trip - Day 3: Lincoln, NE to Cheyenne, WY

The third day of the trip was across Interstate 80 from Lincoln, NE to Cheyenne, WY.  With it being a little over a six-hour drive, there was more time to make a few stops.

Route: Interstate 80 with a brief dip into Colorado on I-76, US 385, and US 138.

Photo Set on Flickr: Wyoming Road Trip Day 3

Interstate 80 is a long and at times tedious drive.  Throw in a dreary, windy, early November Monday - it can be boring.  However, there are a few ways to make it more enjoyable.


The first is in Kearney - where what appears to be a giant covered bridge crosses over I-80.  This "bridge" is the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument.  Opened in 2000, the 310-foot "arch" celebrates early settlers and pioneers who traveled along the Platte River westwards towards Oregon, Utah, or California.  The living history then transitions to the early and mid-20th Century celebrating the automobile and the Lincoln Highway.



Doug has done a lengthy feature on the Archway - and you can learn more about it here.  

Interstate 80 as viewed from the Great Platte River Road Archway.


Tickets range from $12 (for Adults) to $6 (kids 6-12) - Seniors (62+) are $11, and kids under five are free.  They also accept AAA/CAA discounts.  In addition to the Archway, there are outdoor activities as well.  A maze for kids and connections to the Kearney Greenway system is there for anyone that wants to stretch their legs a bit longer.  

Interstate 80 through Central Nebraska.

For much of I-80's route across Nebraska, US 30, or the Lincoln Highway, parallels the Interstate to the North.  There are many small towns along US 30 and it's not a bad idea to stop at any of them.  Cozad, Nebraska is one of these prairie towns.


Robert Henri was a well-known American painter - and the son of John Cozad.

Cozad is unique as it sits on the 100th Meridan.  An overhead sign on US 30 marks the geographical feature.  Cozad was founded and named after John J. Cozad of Ohio.  John Cozad also has another town named after him.  The community of Cozaddale in Southeastern Ohio is also named after him.


If you really want to mix things up, a brief dip into Colorado on Interstate 76 isn't a bad idea.  Roadgeek/signgeek-wise, the town of Julesburg is home to one of the last cutout US route shields not in Colorado.  Non-roadgeek, it's a nice little town of about 1200 people that you can walk around and explore.


Julesburg was a stop on the Pony Express and is named after Jules Beni.  Beni's rivalry with and eventual death at the hands of Jack Slade is one of the legends of the American West.

The Julesburg Hippodrome Arts Center celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2019 and continues to show movies and host events today.

Julesburg is close enough to I-80 and Nebraska that it's worth the 10-minute detour if you have the time.

Interstate 80 with a little more variety near Sidney, Nebraska.

West of Interstate 76, Interstate 80 begins to pick up some scenery with a number of bluffs and buttes along the way. If you are lucky, you will spot a train or two on the north side of the Interstate.


Once into Wyoming - we stopped at the first rest area in Pine Bluffs.  In an ironic twist, the rest area had Nebraska maps, but not any Wyoming maps.  (I'd get my Wyoming state map the next day don't worry.)  

Pine Bluffs, Wyoming

Since we were about 90 minutes or so early to check in to our Vrbo rental, we continued west on Interstate 80 towards Laramie.  This 35 or so mile drive west of Interstate 25 proved to be the most interesting and scenic part of the day's travels.

Interstate 80 West between Cheyenne and Laramie, Wyoming

Interstate 80 west of Cheyenne begins to climb toward Laramie peaking at Sherman Summit.  Here at an elevation of 8,640 feet, Interstate 80 reaches its highest elevation along its entire 2,900-mile route.  This summit was also a peak along US 30 and the Lincoln Highway.  And it is at this point that the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Monument looks out over the highway.


Up close and personal with the Abraham Lincoln Memorial Monument.

The bust of Lincoln that is the feature of the memorial was first erected in 1959 on Sherman Hill.  When Interstate 80 opened in 1969, the bronze memorial moved to its current location at the Summit Rest Area and Visitors Center.


The Lincoln Memorial Monument is obviously worth the stop, but the views here definitely are worthwhile.

The only advanced warning for "Tree Rock"

From this point, we headed back down the summit and east towards Cheyenne.  But there was one final stop, and its placement on an Interstate highway is rather atypical.  This stop is only marked as a left-side ramp "Point of Interest" you scale or head down the mountain.


The Tree in Rock Historic Site sits in the median of Interstate 80 near the Vedauwoo rock outcroppings. The Limber Pine tree, which appears to be growing out of a granite boulder, has intrigued travelers since it was first discovered by Union Pacific rail workers in the late-1860s.  The age of the tree is unknown; however, Limber Pines can live for up to 2,000 years.  It is certainly one of the most unique things you can find in an Interstate's median.

At this point, we headed into Cheyenne to check-in for the week.  Tomorrow - Rocky Mountain National Park.

2021 Wyoming Road Trip Site Navigation:

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Old NY 10 and Goodman Mountain in the Adirondacks

  Old highway alignments come in all shapes and sizes, as well as taking some different forms after their lifespan of serving cars and trucks has ended. In the case of an old alignment of what was NY 10 south of Tupper Lake, New York, part of the old road was turned into part of a hiking trail to go up Goodman Mountain. At one time, the road passed by Goodman Mountain to the east, or Litchfield Mountain as it was known at the time. As the years passed, sometime around 1960, the part of NY 10 north of Speculator became part of NY 30, and remains that way today from Speculator, past Indian Lake and Tupper Lake and up to the Canadian Border. At one time, the highway was realigned to pass the Goodman Mountain to the west, leaving this stretch of road to be mostly forgotten and to be reclaimed by nature. During the summer of 2014, a 1.6 mile long hiking trail was approved the Adirondack Park Agency to be constructed to the summit of the 2,176 foot high Goodman Mountain. For the first 0.9 mi

Ghost Town Tuesday; Vineland, Florida; the town killed by Disney

Vineland is a small ghost town located in southwest Orange County, Florida near the junction of Florida State Road 535 and Interstate 4.  Vineland is somewhat unique due to it largely being squeezed out of existence by Lake Buena Vista which is the company town where Disney World is located. Vineland was founded in the late 1800s as Englewood.  The town name of Englewood changed to Orange Center in 1911 before finally assuming the name Vineland in 1924.  Much like the rest of Orange County the community of Vineland was centered around Citrus Grove.  In the case of Vineland said orange groves were centered around Ruby Lake. The end of Vineland came as the Disney Corporation began purchasing parcels of citrus grove land to build Lake Buena Vista.  Vineland fell into a sharp decline in the 1960s but the community managed to continue to exist to modern times.  Much of the street grid of Vineland still exists east of FL 535 but most of the original structures are either gone or falle

Oregon State Highway 58

  Also known as the Willamette Highway No. 18, the route of Oregon State Highway 58 (OR 58) stretches some 86 miles between US 97 north of Chemult and I-5 just outside of Eugene, Oregon. A main route between the Willamette Valley region of Oregon with Central Oregon and Crater Lake National Park, the highway follows the Middle Fork Willamette River and Salt Creek for much of its route as it makes its way to and across the Cascades, cresting at 5,138 feet above sea level at Willamette Pass. That is a gain of over 4,500 in elevation from where the highway begins at I-5. The upper reaches of OR 58 are dominated by the principal pinnacle that can sometimes be seen from the highway, Diamond Peak, and three nearby lakes, Crescent, Odell and Waldo (Oregon's second largest lake). OR 58 is chock full of rivers, creeks, mountain views, hot springs and waterfalls within a short distance from the highway. OR 58 was numbered as such by the Oregon State Highway Department in 1940. OR 58 is a del