Crickets, Mooing & Stars

Highway 385 NebraskaWe hit the road bright and early the day after Labor Day (Sept. 8) waving good-bye to the Black Hills.  With South Dakota in the rear view mirror, we vowed to return another day.

The roads appeared to be rather quiet this Tuesday in early September.  Just the way we like it.  We allowed ourselves five days to travel 400 miles (643km).  Aaahhh, this is just the pace we like to travel.

Alliance, NebraskaWe didn’t have a reservation anywhere until the 13th, thus we were able to meander along highway 385 south into Nebraska foot loose and fancy free.  I did however have one quirky little stop that had been on my radar for the past two years.  Other than that, no items on the must see list.

Before we hit the road, we do like to have a general idea about where we plan on overnighting including a backup plan.  Al and I are all about “backups”.  The evening before our departure while hubby and I were relaxing and enjoying a couple of drink’s, we each had an atlas on our lap.  As we perused our route south, hubby noticed the little green marker on the map indicating a state park with camping.  Hmm, that was only twenty miles away from my must see target in Alliance, Nebraska.

Although I consider myself a planner, I do have my moments when I find it adventurous to wing it.  And the next few days of travel fell into the winging it category.

Nebraska State Park

camped near water at Box Butte

Box Butte Reservoir State Park was our stop for the evening.   While setting up camp near the shores of Box Butte Reservoir, the birds were chirping and the cackle of a Great Blue Heron was heard as he flew across the water.  Yes, we were off to a good start!

That evening the sky was wonderfully pitch black except for a crescent moon and stars.   We went to sleep to the sound of crickets and with the blinds left open.  It was so incredibly peaceful having this little slice of America’s heartland to ourselves.Falcon

The next morning we woke up to the glow of the rising sun and the sound of mooing cattle in the distance.  After a great rather a fantastic nights sleep, we both agreed this turned out to be such a wonderful and unexpected little find in western Nebraska.  Crickets, birds, water, mooing, and stars sums up our stay here perfectly.  And this is why we RV!

But what about that quirky must see stop, you ask?  I’m a little old school and maintain a three-ring binder which includes a calendar, info on our reservations, and travel ideas.  Oh, I have plenty of items bookmarked on my computer, but somehow I always forget to check the electronics (I did say old school, didn’t I).   That three-ring binder remains my favorite source of reminders.

Tucked in amongst some other Nebraska sights to see paperwork was information on Carhenge.  Turns out, the route I had chosen through Nebraska was taking us in the direction of this whimsical sight…… making it a must see.

Carhenge, Alliance

Since I figured I most likely would never visit the iconic Stonehenge in England, a site that has always fascinated me, I’d settle for the next best thing; a replica made from old cars.Alliance, Nebraska

Here’s what the Carhenge website has to say…..
  
   The artist of this unique car sculpture, Jim Reinders, experimented with unusual and interesting artistic creations throughout his life. While living in England, he had the opportunity to study the design and purpose of Stonehenge. His desire to copy Stonehenge in physical size and placement came to fruition in the summer of 1987 with the help of many family members.Stonehenge

    Thirty-nine automobiles were placed to assume the same proportions as Stonehenge with the circle measuring approximately 96 feet (29m) in diameter. Some autos are held upright Stonehengein pits five feet deep, trunk end down, while other cars are placed to form the arches and welded in place. All are covered with gray spray paint. The honor of depicting the heel stone goes to a 1962 Caddy.

    Carhenge was built as a memorial to Reinders’ father who once lived on the farm where Carhenge now stands. While relatives were gathered following the death of Reinders’ father in 1982, the discussion turned to a memorial and the idea of a Stonehenge replica was developed. The family agreed to gather in five years and build it. The clan, about 35 strong, gathered in June 1987 and went to work. According to Mr. Reinders, “It took a lot of work, sweat, and beers”.

Reinders donated the 10 acres of land where Carhenge is located to the Friends of Carhenge who have preserved it till 2013. On October 1, 2013, Friends of Carhenge gifted the site to the Citizens of Alliance. Stonehenge

While I was wandering the grounds with camera in hand, hubby stepped inside the Pitstop, aka gift shop, and started up a conversation with the gal manning the store.  I joined the conversation mid stream and talk about a small world.  We all lived in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the same time in the 1990’s, during the building boom, plus she was originally from Wisconsin; the same area where we visited just a few weeks earlier.

Carhenge

The conversation flowed freely and we discovered how she came to live in Alliance, Nebraska.  The short version:  Farmer from Nebraska goes to Las Vegas on vacation.  StonehengeFarmer meets cocktail waitress in Las Vegas.  A romance ensues followed by a marriage.  Cocktail waitress moves onto a farm in Nebraska and now works for the town of Alliance happily married to said farmer and loving life.

We’re always interested in the paths people choose and hearing those entertaining life stories.  It was a delight visiting with her.

Along with the mimicking Stonehenge, over the years other sculptures by various artists have been added to the grounds.

Carhenge

Toward the right; Fourd Seasons sculpture (Fourd seems to be a combo of the words four and Ford). On the left; guests are encouraged to leave a message on the white car.

CarhengeWhile most folks stop by Carhenge and spend about ten minutes strolling around, we found ourselves hanging around this novel site well over an hour.   Between the unique quirkiness of it and the engaging conversation inside the Pitstop, this was an amusing and worthwhile stop.Carhenge

Next up; more compelling sights in Nebraska 😉Carhenge

Technology is wonderful, but I still like having a backup in the form of a hard copy. So we keep a library of maps handy along with a daytimer that helps keep our travels organized. We don’t always have internet connection and occasionally my phone battery dies (when I least expect). Having a backup has saved our rears more than once.

DayTimer Essentials Monthly Planner 2016, 8.5 x 11 Inches Page Size (452221601)

 

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62 thoughts on “Crickets, Mooing & Stars

    • This was new territory for us as well and we weren’t expecting too much. We were pleasantly surprised with the quaint towns and unique sights as well as the pioneer history. America’s Heartland at it’s finest.

  1. “It took a lot of work, sweat, and beers,” haha! Indeed! That is a bizarre place. Great shot of Al in the midst of Carhenge. I also always love talking with locals and hearing their stories. Makes the travel experience all the richer.

    • We just arrived in Phx after caravanning with daughter and a U-Haul truck. We overnighted near the Petrified Forest and ran into a young couple with a toddler. My daughter loved visiting with them and finally understood why we enjoy this lifestyle so much. It’s a combination of scenery and engaging. The move went great, but I’m exhausted.

    • It does appear there were several of us traveling this route within days of each other. I started playing around with some of the settings in Picasa and one result was that photo of Al. I did get Lightroom, but we’ve been a little too busy for me to dive into it. Hopefully, this winter when we’re more stationary, I’ll start playing with it.

  2. Carhenge is the place to visit this season! I’m sorry we didn’t make the hour drive over to see it. But we could only get reservations for a few days so I had to pick and choose our activities. Carhenge got the boot. Next time we will have to stop.

    • Isn’t it funny how you, me, Mona, and Nina were all in the same area within days of each other? (not sure Carhenge is worth a special trip) What’s so awesome is reading each others posts on the same general area …. very diverse styles of writing, different photographic angles, and experiences. Another wonderful aspect to the blogosphere and developing friendships.

    • I just signed up for Amazon Prime thanks to your post. I think I’ll be downloading a bunch of things. Yep, I’m with you and enjoy the technology, but don’t trust it. Thus, I always have a backup.

  3. I am older school than you..I keep a spiral notebook with our travel..where we stayed, where we shopped, places to eat, things to see…everywhere we RV..That sure helps when we revisit spots and cannot remember (I DID say “older” school) where the WalMart (or the nearest saloon) were…Nebraska is teeming with history too!!!

    • Haha… remember, I’m married to an “older” school. I’ll jot down notes on the printed paperwork as well. And like you, it serves as a reminder especially if we plan on returning. We barely touched on the history in NE due to time constraints 😦

    • I’m not sure we would’ve gone far out of our way to visit Carhenge, but considering it was near our route, it quickly became a ‘must see’.

    • I know I won’t ever visit Stonehenge, so this quirky spot was perfect. It was great that we didn’t have to drive much out of our way to see it 🙂

    • We loved driving Highway 385 through NE instead of taking Interstate 25. It was so much more relaxing and enjoyable. With that in mind, if you’re moving around from Colorado/Wyoming to South Dakota, this would be a great route and Carhenge a fun stop.

  4. Sometimes the unplanned turns out to be the best activities or places. I always found this to be true in my classroom. I really struggled with making the move from paper and pencil to the computer. But our daughter got me all set up with a Pinterest account. Boy, it sure did make saving blog posts and recipes a whole easier. But, I must admit…I still have a three ring binder where I put recipes:)

    • Perhaps I should use Pinterest more often. I guess I didn’t think to use the boards as reminders, but I have to have recipes written down on paper and I too have a 3 ring binder filled with recipes. Once we’re settled in Phoenix I’ll be reorganizing that and perhaps reevaluating Pinterest. The big move is Monday!

  5. I’m writing up our very own stop here as we speak. Totally enjoyed the attraction, same as you. Loved the background story on the romance!
    Nina

  6. Dreamy stop in NE….I could feel the silence in the evenings and beauty of the area. Locking down out cabinets from any breakage and got my maps marked up…just secured a state park stop!!!! Two long days to work and out of here bright & early Monday! Love the glow of Al’s green in the last shot…cool!

    • Box Butte SP was such a pleasant surprise. You’d enjoy it as well. We’ll be hitting the road Monday too heading south. Safe travels to you and enjoy that freedom 🙂

  7. Carhenge is neat. This is the first time I’ve heard of it. I love the pictures.
    I’m a fan of sculpture gardens and this look like a good one.
    I have paper maps and written journals too.

  8. Very cool and interesting stop!
    I plan everything on line now and rarely look at books, maps, etc. We just don’t have the storage to keep all that paper. It does get us in trouble sometimes if we unexpectedly don’t have an internet connection, though.

    • We have about 8 different atlas’ and they fit jammed along our couch and the wall. Space is always an issue but I don’t trust having the connection when I need it most. OR our GPS that likes taking us down gravel roads… grrr!

  9. Ingrid I love this! I have seen photos of it but never a full tour. What a riot and i can see why you wanted to stop to visit. Love the conversation with the gift shop gal. So many interesting stories to hear.
    Your description of the wing it pace sounds wonderful. I hope we can travel one day like that.

    • I could definitely see you and Dave enjoying the RV lifestyle on a part-time basis. Load up those bikes and explore away. Plus you have tons of blogging friends that are more than happy to share in the adventures and show you the ropes.
      It’s fun seeing all the beautiful and quirky places, but engaging with a variety of people is right up there – the cherry on the sundae so to speak 🙂

      • Ingrid in all honesty I was referring more to the pace than the actual RV. 🙂 You never know once we have time who knows what new chapters await? It does seem like the RV community is very friendly and connected. We would need all the advice we could get! 🙂

        • It’s the RV that allows the pace. RVing certainly isn’t for everyone, but as most folks find out, it provides endless options and there’s always someone willing to lend a hand 🙂

  10. Love the kitschy roadside attractions! They remind me of the old Route 66 stops of a bygone era. I too keep (excessive) travel files. My husband makes fun of my doing so (all in good humor though). When I know I’m going to travel to a specific state, I plot out all the “must sees” on my atlas & try to plan our route around them. Half the fun for me is the planning. By the way, I do so enjoy your posts & writing style Ingrid. I look forward to reading each one.

    • Awe, thank you so much for the kind comment. Writing does not come easily to me, so I appreciate.
      Route 66 has been reinvented so to speak and still offers up all those quirky roadside attractions. Perhaps it’s our age group (dare I say) that we like to keep those hard copies. Look forward to seeing some of your interesting finds in the south.

  11. Great Captures – love art like this – there is a lizard made from recycled car parts reaching its tongue out for a dragonfly on one of the buildings here – love!!! Happy Weekend – Enjoy 🙂

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