Last couple of times we came through Nebraska, I have to admit, I wasn’t being too fair. The first time we had just come out of Wyoming and by comparison, well there is none. The second time we were in and out so quickly that I just didn’t get to really see it.
But this time, we got to drive the entire length of it for our delivery. I got to really see it in the daylight and got to get a good feel for the state.
It bills itself as the Cowboy Capital. And judging by the scenery it surely could be. There are fields and fields and more fields which means, farming. And farming in the Midwest means cowboys. We saw so many cattle ranches and fields of cattle.
They also call themselves the Cornhuskers, and I could see why. The fields that aren’t cattle fields are cornfields. And we’re talking hundreds of miles, as far as you can see!
It was a warm, 77 degrees on this day and the clouds were the fluffy white ones. It was just a beautiful day.
Just before sunset we pulled into a rest area to walk the dogs and the fields behind were full of some kind of birds. We looked and looked but could not figure out what they were. They weren’t turkeys, they weren’t geese, what were they?
I grabbed my camera and tried to get a closer look. They were making a strange noise almost like a guinea hen, but not quite. They were gray and had really long necks and legs. I thought they resembled a flamingo.
We found out that they are Sandhill Cranes. There were thousands of them. If you have the time and the inclination, look them up on the internet. The migration was amazing.
Once we left the rest area we continued to see them in all of the fields and flying in the sky. It was a sight to behold for sure. The setting sun was making it look like the fields were ablaze and the birds flying across the horizon was a picture I will never forget.
Pops was driving and I was daydreaming about what the pioneers must have thought of this prairie. It is just so open with soft rolling hills in some places and other places as flat as can be. I could picture the Conestoga wagons traveling across here slowly heading west. I could see the women cooking over the fire and the children running along laughing and playing. I could see dogs barking and the men keeping watch out over everyone.
I imagined how hard the winters might be for the pioneers living on the open prairies. How hard wagon travel would be once they got to the mountains that they might not know were there. Wow, it must have been something.
Once it got dark my mind went elsewhere, to the cowboys that rode the plains. I could see them sleeping on the ground with their campfires nearby to ward off the coyotes. I could smell the coffee and beans that they had cooked for supper. I heard the horses stomping around in the dark. My imagination just ran on and on as the miles rolled by.
I saw a shooting star go by. And I made a wish.
We passed an exit that went off to Buffalo Bill’s ranch. I asked Pops who he was. I had heard of him but wasn’t real sure who he was. So I googled him and found out that he was a soldier and bison hunter and most famous for putting together “cowboy shows” in the Midwest. He was an early entertainer.
We slept at a rest area and got up around 5am to drive to make our delivery. When we woke up in was cold and WINDY. It was so very windy. And when the wind whips across the prairie it picks up speed and really packs a wallop. No joke at one point it blew our truck clear off the road and onto the shoulder. I was a nervous mess. My arms ached so bad til I was done driving.
Anyway, during our second day of driving back across the state, ( it is 455 miles across which takes about 7 ½ hours) I got to notice more things.
There was a dinosaur standing on a hill just along the roadside. It looked like it might run right out in front of me.
I passed a small place called Gothenburg, which is the place with the original Pony express station. Now that got my attention. The pony express was a fast mail service which used riders on fast ponies to carry mail across the plains, the Rockies and the high Sierras. They were the original expediters, haha.
Then I passed a place called Hastings. It is famous for being the place where Kool-aid was invented in 1927 by Edwin Perkins. Hmmm, the educational things I learn. And know you learn by reading this.
The sandhill cranes were still around today as well. I just cannot believe how many there are. And again the miles just rolled away until we were going past Lincoln, which is the state capital. It doesn’t seem very big but they do have one skyscraper. And then Omaha came into view with their 2 skyscrapers and several casinos. It looks much bigger at night when everything is lit up.
I truly enjoyed my visit through Nebraska this time around. It is a peaceful, content place. The kind of place where you could sit up on a knoll on a bright sunny day and feel the wind on your face as you sip your Kool-aid, ahhhhh.