Monday, September 29, 2008

Sanders Family History Trip - 2008 - Day 3

Day 3 (August 24 2008):

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Next day dawned and we were all off to breakfast to one of my favorite feeding places in Sterling - the J&L restaurant. Everyone who is anyone comes here for the excellent service, ample helpings, and wonderful flavorings. Tammy and Dad got the pancakes, Larry got some health food, Mom got the special, and I got the breakfast burrito (semi-healthy version). My plate was overflowing with spicy delights and of course my eyes were bigger than my stomach, but it was too good to pass.. soon it was gone. One of the best burritos in the USA.

The conversation was about the past (friends, family, things that happened, etc) and the present. We were all family, sharing the moment, which is all too few and far between, but it was good all the same.

We finished breakfast, said goodbye to Larry and Tammy, and headed out to the Foy homestead, north of Iliff. The goal was to survey the foundations and area to see if it was possible to reconstruct the original locations of the home, barn and other improvements. I had dragged along the metal detector just for this, along with a tape measure, and a shovel for any shallow digging that may be needed.

Original plan was to see the homestead before lunch then drive out have lunch with our cousin Bob McKenzie, who has a ranch just north of the Foy homestead. However, I called Bob and told him we were in the area just heading over to the Foy homestead. I asked him if he would like to join us and he said SURE... so we drove out to get him and in the process added 2 more people to the adventure - Bob and Laurie, his daughter. Bob even drove us back over to the homestead and we proceeded to "investigate" the area.

It was wonderful seeing the homestead again. This time the area was grown over a lot more with grass and weeds, which made it more difficult to locate foundations or previous markers. I took pictures, compass readings, physical measurements and actually did a little digging, but only to locate edges of the concrete foundation. Dad took the metal detector and headed "down the hill" in search of treasure. A previous visit yielded more metal since it was easier to see - to the south east we found fence wire, similar to what was used for chickens and a fence post/gate. To the east of the well, we found a few metal objects and even a red brick, which was possibly from the chimney.

All in all, a productive visit. We piled back into Bob's truck and meandered north to Peetz, but on the way, we stopped to see the windmills - giant electric wind generators that are producing energy for the area. After this, we headed to downtown Peetz. Went by the church that Pete and Verona were married in... Bob said that his sister Helen had a painting that was still hanging in the church. We didn't stop as it was Sunday and mass was in session. After a bit of reminiscing, Bob mentioned that he knew of another place that Edgar and Jennie had lived, which was not too far east. We drove out there and the building was still in use, but the porch area had been converted into a whole part of the house. This seems to have been a common theme I found along the way. Comparing the old pictures of this house to the present was fun (see images in my photo library).

Bob mentioned that he also knew roughly where the Poverty hill house was located and he explained where we could find it, as we would be heading east through that area and it would be easy to find. He also mentioned that if we were to go through Ogalala, Nebraska, that we should look up a Dr. Foy whom he met at a wedding recently. Turns out that this Dr. Foy had a father name Phil Foy... so how could that be? Note: later on, I was able to find Dr. Foy, a vet, and talked with him. Short story is that we are not related, but that is another story.

We returned back to the McKenzie farm and proceeded to take pictures of Verona nad Pete McKenzie photo albums. It was a treasure trove of images. Afterward, we enjoyed a wonderful meal prepared by Laurie. Sitting outside of the old farm home, we talked about the past and present - a wonderful time, but all too short. We finished up, said our goodbyes and headed on out toward Ovid, in search of the Smalley home on 6th street.

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Every time we have gone through Ovid, mom has told stories of who lived in which house, and how they were related, like it was yesterday. But unfortunately, I have not been able to record these stories (yet), but hopefully next chance we can do this. Certainly a video would go a long way...

After this, we proceeded onward to Curtis Nebraska. As it was getting late, we decided to stop in North Platte, Nebraska for Dinner at Applebees. Food was fairly good and was enough to tie us over. We jumped back into the car and proceeded onto our hotel in Curtis - the Hi Line hotel.

This hotel was rated a 3 star and it was ok, but lodging accommodations was always minimum for us... we were after all not living there, just sleeping.

See day 4 for more of what happened.

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