We planned 3 nights for the state of Nebraska to allow ample time to cover the width of the state from east to west. Imagine our joy when we discovered Nebraska to be a state rich in history and diverse in its geography.
Our first night was spent in Kearney, NE after our 349 mile drive from Kansas City, the longest yet. This is a wonderful little town off I-80 with a population of just over 30,000. Originating in the 1800’s as an army outpost along the Oregon Trail, it continued to grow as the railroad made its way west. Today it is home to the Museum of Nebraska Art, the University of Nebraska-Kearney, and most importantly (in Art’s book) two micro-breweries! We chose the Thunderhead Brewery as our dinner destination and because it advertised a beer fermented in whiskey barrels. Art was not disappointed in the brew and all of us enjoyed a meal of salads and pizza. We went back to our RV’s tired and full.
The next day we left for Gering, NE which sits at the base of the Scotts Bluff Monument. Our drive today was the first to take us off the highway and we were excited about the prospect. Exiting I-80 in Ogallala (rolls of the tongue nicely, doesn’t it?), we headed northwest on US Highway 26. A well-maintained two lane road that follows the path of the Oregon Trail, it was a pretty drive as we left the farmlands and entered prairies with bluffs rising in the distance. If you were ever wondering where “Smack Dab in the Middle of Nowhere” is let me say this just might qualify! There were a couple of “blink and you’ll miss it” burgs along the way but nothing of any size until we reached Gering. With a population of 8,500 this constitutes a big city in these parts!
We are staying in Robidoux RV Park, one of the nicest campgrounds thus far on our trip. With concrete pads, large grassy areas, views of the bluffs and $27/night rates we are well pleased. Sadie is as well!
Since we planned two nights here, our “down” day was spent exploring Scotts Bluff. These large rock formations served as navigational markers for the pioneers on their arduous journey West. For a little girl who grew up reading stories about the pioneers it was fascinating to imagine those brave souls who attempted it.
Today, Scotts Bluff enjoys national monument status and a stop at its visitor center offers a short movie explaining its history. A road to the top takes you to easily negotiated trails with spectacular views of the Platte River Valley below. Hold onto you hats though, up there is quite windy!
So, in closing, visit Nebraska! We sure are glad that we did!