I used to be like a lot of you out there in the US who had stereotypes about Nebraska. I always made the joke “Do you want to drive Nebraska by day to see how boring it is, or do you want to drive Nebraska at night to smell how boring it is?”
I can’t say that anymore. I saw stuff in Western Nebraska that was amazing, and all I had to do was leave the interstate and drive the Lincoln Highway. As Kevin Patrick noted at the LHA conference, “Friends don’t let friends drive the Interstate,” and I think I’ll start to embrace that motto after this tour is over.
The main people I have to thank for this part of my journey are Muriel (Nebraska Outback is her blog), her husband Mark, and Rob with N Route Entertainment (Muriel helps with this organization as well). They opened my eyes to seeing the beauty of their area, and they support live music and musicians with a passion I haven’t seen anywhere else so far. I left Western Nebraska with a whole other state of mind, and ready for what lies ahead.
I have to admit that the road caught up with me after my performances on the 4th of July. I was a little under the weather for a few days at this point of the tour with a sore throat and ear/sinus pressure. Luckily, it was all caught in time, and I was able to sing for a group of touring Norwegians, Swedish and Danish folks driving across the country.
There’s around 70 pictures in this post (get comfy), but here’s a few highlights of the area that I want to write about before you see the pictures:
1) While this is not directly on the Lincoln Highway, the Sandhills are truly a magnificent experience that’s close to the route. It is a region of mixed-grass prairie/grass-stabilized sand dunes in north-central Nebraska, covering just over one quarter of the state! You can pretty much Google and see several websites to learn more about it. Muriel has strong family ties to this area, so my driving tour both her and Mark took me on was made that much more magical.
2) If you’re a fan of anything of the Old West, definitely take the time to stop in North Platte. You’ll find plenty of things to do and see there, and you won’t be bored!
3) You’ll cross into Mountain Time Zone west of Sutherland, NE (my favorite time zone). I noticed on some of the original routes as well as some auxiliary roads you’ll see the sign “Minimum Maintenance Road”. Believe what they say! I wanted to go see some old wagon ruts on “California Hill” and my car got stuck in mud right off of the paved main route. Luckily I wasn’t in too deep and could back myself out of the mud by myself, but this warning as well as a few others is a note of caution for anyone driving the Lincoln solo. When in doubt, don’t drive it!
I hope you enjoyed the pictures! Up next I’ll talk about the infamous “Colorado Loop”. Until then, enjoy your week!