Biggest Ball of String

Our road trip adventures, quirky roadside attractions, generally in the United States or Canada (and with occasional travel off the mainland into Hawaii, Alaska, Caribbean and Europe – so far)

Chimney Rock, Car Henge, and Mexican “food” in Alliance

on December 4, 2012

So, last post (December 2), I interrupted our Big Ball of String roadtrip to go see ZooLights Calgary! But, the post before that (November 28), I was trying to get to Chimney Rock, Nebraska…

Chimney Rock was a landmark along the Oregon Trail (also The Mormon Trail and the California Trail.)

Back in the Pioneer days, they say the Spire could be seen for approximately 40 miles. Since the people had been travelling who-knows-how long, over flat, flat ground, it was probably a huge relief to see Chimney Rock! At least, they’d know that they weren’t going in circles!! (Or, I suppose, they’d know they WERE going in circles, if they passed it more than once…)From a distanceChimney Rock info

There is discrepancy about the height, and it seems to depend on who measures it, and when, due to, in part, erosion.  The marker says that it’s 470 feet above the North Platte River Valley and 325 feet from tip to base, and another report also includes that it’s 120 feet for the spire.
http://www.historyglobe.com/ot/chimneyrock.htm

Many 19th century accounts stated that Chimney Rock was losing its height due to erosion. But some measurements recorded back then are very close to the modern measurement of 325 feet from tip to base and 120 feet for the spire.

You can visit the Chimney Rock National Historic Site & Visitor Center – the information is found at http://www.nebraskahistory.org/sites/rock/. (I recommend you also go to the “More Information on Chimney Rock” link once you are in the link I’ve included…for additional information…)
chimney rock

I can’t find anything about rules about hiking up to Chimney Rock…either rules against, or information for.. I suppose if you go to the Visitor Center, you can ask there!

We left there, and headed north towards Alliance. (The decision to go north to Alliance instead of east towards Cheyenne was confirmed when we found out that 1) Cheyenne had a weather warnings – hail & flooding, and 2) Alliance has Car Henge!)

Alliance turned out to be a very interesting town, full of character people (approximately 8500, according to the 2010 census.)

For example, we went for Mexican food (I’ve decided not to tell where…If ever you go to Alliance, and want to know where not to go, you can email me privately. I wasn’t going to talk about it at all, except that it really was part of the experience!)  We asked around and were recommended this place and we were excited!  You may recall (blog November 11, 2012) – we are always searching for the best Mexican food.  This was not it.

Margarita MenuFor starters, almost the entire back page of the menu was different kinds of yummy drinks, but when I ordered a margarita, it turns out that they didn’t have a liquor license…

Also, my enchiladas had what, I can only guess, might be melted processed cheese…and Peter’s chili relleno was a burrito, with something kind of runny and brown…

I would’ve been horribly disappointed, BUT, THEN! The man from the table beside us (probably about 30-35 years old), finished his dinner, took out his teeth and wiped them on his jeans! YES HE DID!!   You can’t beat that for ambiance!!! It was so gross and so intriguing at the same time! that I felt the entire experience was a success!!

(Speaking of Mexican food – in the November 11th blog, I did mention Paloma, as far as Mexican food in Calgary and we did go and it was pretty yummy!!! I had chicken enchiladas with mole.

Also, I remembered that I actually really enjoyed the enchiladas and ambiance at Salt & Peppers, La Cantina, in Inglewood, in Calgary – I forgot about it (I’m sorry!!) but I was there on a cool but sunny day in the May or June, and it was great! Also, they supplied Mexican blankets for those of us that insisted on sitting on the patio.

The biggest claim-to-fame, as far as I’m concerned, for Alliance was Car Henge.  Apparently, Car Henge has been voted the “No. 2 Wackiest Attraction” in the United States (http://www.1011now.com/news/headlines/64481802.html). Yes, it did make me instantly wonder what was the first wackiest – by this report, it’s in San Antonio, Texas.
Car Henge Car Henge Car Henge

Car Henge is a 38 car replica of Stone Henge…I guess it claims to be similar dimensions, but I will have to take their word for it, since I’ve yet to go to Stone Henge.. This was a cool sight, though.

AND, apparently, if you want to, you can plant your own car on the Car Art Reserve area… hmmmmm…
Art Reserve?

The history of Alliance is pretty interesting!  Apparently, it was founded in 1888, and it’s growth was partly due to the railroads coming in, and partly settled because land was free. They also gave land away to soldiers who’d served in the Civil War.  Alot of history followed (you can read all about it at http://www.cityofalliance.net/DocumentView.aspx?DID=128) and it seems to be summed up in a “slow but sure” sort of way…always steady. 

One of my favorite parts of the article is when it talks about needing school teachers – so, what was happening is – actually, here’s the quote from the article – no sense in summarizing it: “The schools and churches started in Grand Lake were continued in Alliance and were joined by more. One of the areas worst problems was created with the need for teachers. The school board  soon discovered any young female was quickly married. For a time, school boards even publicized in Eastern newspapers for young women of plain and homely countenance to come West and teach. But even the less beautiful married quickly. Frustrated school boards then hit upon another solution. Contracts often included a clause preventing a teacher from marrying for two years. For its time, a restrictive but necessary clause.”

…To quote Forrest Gump: “That’s all I have to say about that.”  (Not true – I have so much more to say, but probably you are all thinking anything I could say anyway…and if you aren’t, you would be thinking it, if you’d been to Alliance.)

Speaking of “characters” – on to Crazy Horse Monument on Sunday!!

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2 responses to “Chimney Rock, Car Henge, and Mexican “food” in Alliance

  1. Shannan says:

    Took his teeth out????? I almost gagged reading that. Sooo gross!

    • 4mygypsysoul says:

      Well, it was gross! (By total good timing, I did happen to get a picture of it – I meant to take a picture of the restaurant sign, so I would remember where we’d been – but got that instead!!)

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