[8/50] Nebraska

I’ve traveled across the state of Nebraska several times, and all but one of those times I was bored out of my gourd. But the last time was different. When Les and I were moving from New York to Oregon, we stayed on U.S. Route 20 the entire way.  There were parts of the way that were as insanely boring as Nebraska usually was, Iowa, for example, was a 2-lane divided highway the entire state (because there is no reason to slow down for anything in Iowa, like hills or slight curves in the road). But taking 20 through Nebraska showed me a whole different state than I’d ever seen before.

Since it was the back road, we slowed down for all the small towns.

Royal, NE population 81, a booming metropolis if ever there was one.

In between each town was not the endless stretches of corn and/or wheat fields that I’d been expecting, but wild prairie.

Wildflowers and natural grasslands, there is definitely something to be said for wild, untamed prairie.
The northern part of Nebraska isn’t as flat as you might think. We passed an extensive Bridges to Buttes system. In fact, a large portion of US Route 20 is called the Bridges to Buttes Byway. http://visitnebraska.com/trips/bridges-to-buttes-byway

I was amazed by the wildflowers and open grasslands, it was so much better than the farms you pass on the southern route. That wasn’t to say there wasn’t some of what you expect from small town Nebraska.

While it wasn’t as flat as Iowa, the skyline was still interrupted by silos and grain elevators.
This was the only gas station in Merriman, NE, at least as far as I could tell. The population of the town is about 130, and a good 20 percent of them were hanging out at Buckles.
This was the sign on the ladies’ room at Buckles, I didn’t see what the men’s was called, but I bet it wasn’t this bad.
We spotted this parked at a gas station in one of the larger towns we passed through in northern Nebraska, Gordon, population about 1,600. It might not have been the only sight, but there was definitely some hay production going on somewhere.

I will admit to having low expectations of the Cornhusker State, but maybe those low expectations made the reality better.


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