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July 21-22 West Nebraska

Travel log

July 21-22 West Nebraska

Jesse Attanasio

Panhandle Cruise

After a good couple hour nap I decided it was a good idea to get out of that area and find a place with some shade and trees for my hammock since the temperature was reaching 100 degrees again that day.

I ended up fixing my shelving unit and a hobo shower in the public park that Crawford, NE offers. The only problem I had was there was a swarm of flies that wouldn't leave me and my hammock alone for a nap.

Finally I left from there and remembered seeing a little coffee shop in town that I was hopeful had wifi and would allow me to sit down to download content to listen to. The name of the coffee shop was Perennial Haus and it not only offered free wifi, but delicious coffee and A/C to sit in.

Finally I decided I overstayed the amount of time one person should probably sit in a coffee shop and I hit the road to head towards Scottsbluff National Monument. I saw a weak storm on radar to the SouthWest of there that I hoped would make for a good sunset with the bluffs. 

Unfortunately the monument park was closed by the time I got there, the storm was much further South and I decided to take off further south to Chimney Rock in hopes of capturing that with the storm at sunset. Sure enough, the storm fell apart and I was left on the side of the highway with no idea what to do. 

Eventually I started just driving down as many dirt roads as possible looking for some abandon homesteads or interesting scenes. Apparently I was in the 20x10 mile radius area that didn't have anything really interesting. I did jump out as soon as I saw a rainbow coming down from the storm in the distance. 

After that I was amped to shoot the sunset because I could tell that it was going to produce some nice colors and really didn't want to drive all the way down there for nothing.

I drove for so long trying to find a vantage point of the area or some sort of foreground to make for a good shot but couldn't spot anything that wasn't on someone's property. I am not a fan of trespassing farmers land. I grew up with family running farms and understand what goes through a landowners head when they see a strange vehicle driving around on their land.

So I did the only thing I could think to do. I pulled over last second and jumped a ditch to take a couple photos of the cornfield with the beautiful sunset unfolding. It was too far into the sunset by then to timelapse so a panorama had to suffice.

The decision to fill up my tank and drive back towards Crawford was not my idea of a good time. But I had to go that way eventually anyways and I figured I could pass out in that public park for the night. By the time I reached Crawford it was about 11pm. I pulled in the public park but had a weird feeling about a creepy black truck parked in the darkness. Traveling alone I tend to avoid any of those scenarios you see in the movies.

It dawned on me that it had been a couple months since my last visit so they surely had to of finished the closed bridge that leads to Toadstool Geological Park. It is a place to stay and I had perfectly clear skies which I haven't really had when I've stayed there before. There was a lightning storm in the distance but nothing threatening. 

This was probably my clearest, darkest night of my entire trip, and my first time being to toadstool under nearly perfect conditions. It wasn't hot, it wasn't windy, The only problem I had was of course the trains that pass through every 30-40 minutes that stops me from timelapsing anything there. I had some fun timelapsing my basecamp but decided I should probably pack up a camera and hike out to shoot  a few panoramas and even take probably my sketchiest selfie yet.


In the morning (a couple hours after I went to bed)… I was craving another latte from Perennial Haus so I parked out front and reorganized my car while I waited for them to open. The owner of Perennial Haus is an incredibly nice lady and ended up being a fan of my work. I spent a couple of hours there emailing and checking weather reports for the area until I finally decided I should make my next stop be Chadron State park so I could recharge my deep cycle battery and stock up on food.