Sunday – October 12, 2014
Union Pacific Brady Yard
North Platte, Nebraska
We awoke to an overcast sky with the temperature in the middle forties. A cold front is approaching out of the north so the temperature will remain in the low fifties today. During breakfast a flock of wild turkeys entertained us as they wandered through the campground.
We visited the Golden Spike Tower and Visitors Center. The visitor center, eight stories high, provides a panoramic view of the Union Pacific Railroad’s Bailey Yard in North Platte, Nebraska.
The Bailey Yard is considered the world’s largest train yard. Whether you are a railroad buff or not, this is a fascinating place to visit. Admission fees are $7.00 for adults, $6.00 for senior citizens and $5.00 for children. This was our second visit to the Bailey Yard. Click here to view the video of our first visit on August 26, 2013.
On this visit we were fortunate to observe a pumpkin festival taking place October 4 through 26 on the visitor center premises. Large round bales of hay were stacked and strategically placed to form a maze. It was quite funny to watch visitors negotiating their way through the maze from our vantage point on the eighth floor observation area in the visitors center. They also had a petting zoo, pony rides, horse drawn wagon ride and pickup truck rides. Quite a spectacle to see!
After completing our visit to the Union Pacific Railroad Bailey Yard we visited the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park. This park is a tribute to William Frederick Cody (1846 – 1917) known to the world as "Buffalo Bill," was the noted Nebraskan of his day. The many national and European tours of his various "Wild West" exhibitions made him the living symbol of the American West.
Cody came to Nebraska in 1869 as a guide and scout for the 5th Calvary at nearby Fort McPherson. He also served as guide for the wealthy and famous on buffalo hunts. Buffalo Bill first went on the stage in 1872, and he formed his first "Wild West" in 1883. He was also involved in ranching and farming, and he was a pioneer in the development of irrigation in both Nebraska and Wyoming. This frontiersman was named to the Nebraska Hall of Fame 1967.
Scout’s Rest was built for Buffalo Bill in 1886 as a place to relax between show tours. The two-story, nine room house is in Second Empire style with Italianate and Eastlake features: it cost $3,900. The rear addition was added in 1909. Here he entertained in elaborate style his famous contemporaries as well as his old friends of frontier days. Scout’s Rest was named to the National Register of Historic Places on January 30, 1978.
The park is a delightful place to visit. It is open daily and in addition to the house; there is a pond, Cody cabin, horse barn and a few buffalo. Tours of the house are available Monday through Friday.
The barn built in 1887, is 148 feet long, 70 feet wide, 40 feet high. It required seven railroad cars of lumber for construction. Annie Oakley’s trademark, the Ace of Hearts with a bullet hole in the middle, is at the peak of the roof. This was a horse barn that housed the stock needed for working the ranch.
Arriving back at the campground, the wind speed was picking up as it approached from the north, bringing with it colder temperatures. We will hunker down for the night in the comfort of our Casita trailer.
Tomorrow another adventure begins.