Friday, July 18, 2014

Across Nebraska

Leaving North Platte, we continued east on our own 'road less traveled' US 30.  I checked for things to do along the way, using the AAA book which has served me well in the past.  In Gothenburg we stopped at the Sod House Museum, just because.

Why did the pioneers build sod houses, you ask?  Well it's hard to imagine, but the midwest had no trees back then.  They used what was available.

Obviously, this is a reproduction, built in 1969 by a man who wanted his children to appreciate what their ancestors lived through.

The thick walls were mudded with sand and clay, then white-washed with 4-5 coats of lime and water to keep the bugs out.

 Imagine - the ceiling was covered with cotton muslin to keep the dirt from falling in the house.

The museum had some interesting old pictures and memorabilia, as well as a very informative volunteer.  This buffalo coat impressed me.

Someone had way too much time on their hands to create this sculpture out of barbed wire.

After spending one night in the parking lot of the Kearney Cabelas (quiet, except for the trains that passed by every 15 minutes), we continued to follow US 30 to Columbus.  The power company created several parks around town and we headed for Loup Park - free camping and 30 amp electric.  You can tell by the size of the trees that it's been around awhile.

There were a lot of these little guys around.  We identified them as Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrels.

Driving across Nebraska, the corn seemed to grow by leaps and bounds as we went.  In Columbus it was six feet tall on July 2!

We took advantage of the bike path around Lake Babcock.  It was a bit warm, but at only about six miles, we thought we could make it.

The lake was pretty unusual in that it had a road separating it into two halves.

Susan commented on a previous post to recommend the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument which spans I 80 near Kearney.  That started me thinking (always dangerous) that I should probably at least mention a couple of interesting things we had seen on a  previous trip across Nebraska.  One is the monument which is very well done and filled with life-sized dioramas.  The other is the most amazing 'museum' I've ever seen.  Harold Warp Pioneer Village is 13 miles south of the interstate in Minden.  Displays in 28 buildings depict America's progress since 1830.  I always tell the story that Ron mentioned to the lady at the ticket counter that his father had showed him a semi-automated sock knitter and she said, "Oh, yes, we have one of those in building (something), in a glass case in the back."  We looked and there it was!  They have everything.
Sock Knitter


  1. We lived many years in Eastern Nebraska, but never got to North Platte. I've heard it's a pretty area, so maybe one day we'll have to visit. That sod house was interesting.

  2. We've traveled Rt 30 a couple of times, too. Too bad we missed that sod house, it looked interesting. Makes you appreciate stix-n-brix houses. ;c)

  3. Fascinating stuff! I think I drove that road in the lake during a nightmare, so that's where I was!

    What I recall is that the region is awesome to watch Sand Hill cranes! On my list of gotta do's.

  4. It sounds like there are real advantages to traveling at your slow pace. You see so many interesting places.

  5. Very interesting about the sod house ... the whitewash probably had the added advantage of making the house seem brighter.