Gothenburg and North Platte, NE

Ryan and I decided to trade cars because of the lack of Saturn support up here, so we met half way, which ended up being Gothenburg, NE.  I took US 83 down through the Nebraskan Sand Hills, and by George, they are made of sand!  It would be a rather difficult journey across them in a wagon or by foot.  It’s like walking across dry beach sand.  There were a lot of flowers in them though.

Plains Prickly Poppy

Showy Milkweed

In Gothenburg, there isn’t a whole lot to see, but there was a Pony Express buildling, taken from the old McPherson Fort to the west.  It’s only the top half of the two story building, but it’s pretty interesting history.  The Pony Express only lasted 18 months!  I bet the horses were thankful for that!

In North Platte, we went to the biggest train yard in the world.  More technically, it’s the biggest classification yard in the world, where they sort cars and send them in the right direction, run by UP.  They built an observation tower about a year ago, called the Golden Spike, and even if you don’t really like trains, it’s definately worth the visit!

This is just the view of the east-bound side of the yard.

We then went to the McPherson National Cemetary.  Very well kept.

This fellow must have worked for the National Park Service.

Unfortunately, it was only two days of hanging around in Nebraska.  On the way back, I stopped a couple of times in the Valentine National Wildlife Refuge.  The sky was pretty darn amazing.  I used to not like seeing so much of the sky since I had grown up in the dark understory of dense trees, but I have grown used to it, and often look up now instead of down.  There is quite a lot of expression in the sky at times.

The prairie is a tough book to read some days.  You really can’t get a hold of any meaning while driving through it.  There are some days where the sky is overpowering and then there are some that you can make it more than two feet without stopping to look at something at your feet.  It is a subtle place, but a treeless plain it is no more.  I still am amazed at the amount of trees down by the Platte River.  When you read accounts from Oregon Trail travelers that say that there were no trees to been seen for days and days, you can’t hardly imagine it with the virtual forest that is growing there currently. 

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