July 20, 2012

Western Travels and A Story of Devoted Friendship

in Illinois on Monday
 I snapped that picture just as we were leaving Illinois on our way west. Funny how sometimes my "quick snap it and cross your fingers" pictures turn out to be my favorites.

Right after that we crossed the mighty Mississippi River...
...and entered a very famous and historic town in Missouri.
Do you recognize the name of this town and why it's famous? Hannibal is the boyhood home of author Mark Twain, as well as the setting for two of his most famous novels, The Adventures of Tom Sawyer and Adventures of Huckleberry Finn! We didn't get to see much of the town, because it's not right on the main highway that we passed through on, but it was still neat to be in the area, and we did get a glimpse of town as we crossed the river.

We drove all night and all the next day and reached Reno by midnight Tuesday to deliver.

The next morning, we headed south into Nevada's vast and rustic wilderness. For a while we were on the main highway that cuts between Reno and Las Vegas, where we were traveling with other trucks and tourists, though not too many.
 After a hundred miles or so, we cut off onto a more obscure road and headed over towards a little place called Silver Peak.

Silver Peak is one of the oldest mining towns in Nevada. Silver was discovered in the area in 1863 and the town was established the following year. We didn't get to actually see the town, or what there may be of one still, because we had to leave the main road just north of town to go out to the Heart of Nature mine where we picked up a load of gypsum.

Of all the types of trucking you can do, I think maybe this one gives you the most diverse experiences and takes us to the most exotic places.
The mine wasn't an underground one. It was a big pit, with just two men there working.

They had a pile of pick axes and other debris they had gathered as they ran across it. The mine had been in operation since the 1800's so they were coming across lots of old and interesting things.

The gypsum went to Idaho, taking me on a long drive diagonally across Nevada's outback on highway 6. It was an awesome way to spend the day. I think I only passed 15-20 vehicles the entire day, and it was about 250 mile across there! I love driving around in Nevada's empty spaces!

love this! It's the never ending road!
We delivered in Soda Springs, ID the next morning,

I always admire this old homestead lost in a vast wheat field. Everytime we drive by it draws my attention.
 and from there we went to Pocatello and reloaded fertilizer. Then we headed north to Fort Benton, MT. We stopped last night in Great Falls and had dinner with Malcolm's sister and her husband. We hadn't seen them in almost a year and it was so much fun to get to catch up over pizza with lots of laughs and stories to share. Hope we can do that again soon.

After dinner, we drove the last 40 miles to Fort Benton, where we are unloading now.
The fertilizer place is up on one of the hills overlooking the town, so I've been enjoying the view, the cloudy weather (hope it rains for them!), and the cool breeze. It's in the mid-70's which is just comfortable enough to have the truck turned off and the windows open.

We are parked along the rail road tracks here...

 ...and across the tracks, as we pulled in last night, we noticed an odd monument on the hill, all lit up by spot lights and over looking the town.

it's over on the tip of the hill to the right

Malcolm asked about it this morning, while we were waiting our turn to unload, and then came back to tell me the story and have me look it up. Turns out the monument is the grave of a locally famous sheep dog.
a picture of Shep, from the website linked to below
I know many of my blog friends are animal loves, and there are many dog enthusiasts among you. I had to share this story with you because I was so touched by it. You simply must take the time to go read Shep's story here. There is also a statue in the town square that I would love to see, but we won't be able to. This truck enables me to see so many sights, and also restricts me in my touring. It's a bitter sweet thing for me! But maybe one day I can come back and go to the square so I can see the wonderful tribute this town has made to a good and faithful dog, as well as many others. And if you still have time, you also need to go read the Eulogy on the Dog that is on the website. I found it very touching and even almost teared up a bit, thinking of how every word of it is so true. God did an amazing thing when he created dogs and gave them a love for us. I think He knew there would be times when we would need a friendship that another human just couldn't provide.

We're reloading south of here. Another load of barley headed to Minnesota for the weekend. We're thinking we'll just take a lazy weekend to get across. A few miles one day, a few more the next, a trip to get groceries and supplies, and maybe dinner with Malcolm's other sister in Bismarck.


Pure Prairie Soap said...

Great post, Sarah!

MTWaggin said...

Glad you got to learn about Shep and your pictures and tales are as always great fun. So glad we get to go on your trips!

ACountryCowgirl said...

Wow what a story! I cried.. I know big baby but the animals stories they get me:)

thecrazysheeplady said...

Glad you found that and shared it. I didn't *almost* tear up. Good ole dogs...

Shirley said...

No one told him, That'll do Shep. He was still working until The Master told him, That'll do, Shep.

Michaele said...

Such a bitter sweet story of Shep. Too bad the humans didn't understand him enough to give him closure. Dogs understand death, but they need to be brought to their masters and see for themselves.

Dreaming said...

What a sweet story! Some day I'll have to share the story of the stray dog at the Poughkeepsie, NY RR station.
I love the picture of the incredibly straight road! It is rather fun to find those and travel on them! SC had a lot of straight, flat roads!