Monday, April 14, 2014

Western Nebraska Tour (Part 2)

The second day of our western Nebraska trip (see part 1) was filled with snow. I had a grand ol' plan of running 10 miles or so. I was pretty excited about the run because it was going to be on back country roads with views of the bluffs. I managed to make it 2 miles in the blowing snow and called it quits.

Once back in the warmth of the B&B we had a delicious breakfast served in their sun room.

It was then time to get underway for our day of sightseeing. First up was Scotts Bluff (after grabbing more coffee in town). The bluffs had high potential for good hiking, but the snow ruined that for us. Additionally, the road to the top was closed, so we couldn't even drive to the top. So, we poked around in the museum a bit and learned about the settlers and the trails that ran through here.

Next up was Chimney Rock. Thankfully, we drove by this the day before because it was essentially completely obscured by the snow. If you stared long enough, you could barely make out the outline.

Treat it like a magic-eye, just stare long enough and you'll see it.
Chimney Rock is such a great symbol for Nebraska (it's even on the state quarter). Honestly, it is a super boring and unimpressive site. The only reason it has significance is because everything east of there is utterly desolate. So, as settlers were headed west, anything beyond flat plains was exciting as the Blue Angels dive bombing some Apache helicopters (I couldn't think of a better analogy). Once again, we checked out the museum and learned even more about the trails and settlers that came through these parts.

Our final site of the trip was Carhenge. For those of you who don't know what Carhenge is, it's exactly what it sounds like. A replica of Stonehenge made out of cars. As I parked I started giggling at the absurdity of the site. One, how laughable Carhenge itself is. Two, we drove about 1.5 hours through a snowstorm to see it. We didn't spend much time here due to the snow and wind and there's not much else to say about it.

Who knew they had a problem with the world's fastest hedgehog around here...
We then drove to the Roadside Inn in Thedford, NE. When we originally planned this trip, we thought we were going to get to the hotel at around 8:00pm since we thought we were going to be hiking and whatnot at the various sites. But, because of the snow, we ended up getting to the hotel at 4:30. Instead of recognizing our sunk costs and just heading home that night, we stayed in Thedford and increased the town's population by over 1% (Thedford's population as of 2010 was 188). The restaurant next door to the hotel was closed, so we asked the woman at the front if there was any other place to eat dinner in town and she suggested the two gas stations or the bar. We decided to just eat the food we brought with us.

Cool pattern of ice that developed on the wheels while we were driving.
I was then planning on running 20 miles in the forest nearby in the morning, but wussed out due to the cold and wind. And we just drove back a bit earlier than we planned.

Overall, it was a fun trip. It was good to see some of the better parts of Nebraska since I pretty much had only seen the I-80 corridor. We will definitely be doing this type of trip again in the future as it was fairly low key and relaxing.

Cold sunrise in Thedford

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