We are now setting our sites on San Francisco by the more direct route of Interstate 80 westward. We are following in the footsteps of the Western Pioneers and the early Mormons as they trekked across this vast landscape on their way to Utah and California. It was a rough and difficult life crossing those plains and many died along the way. (It could have been from boredom, I felt the same way a couple times)
We knew we were in trouble when Ellen tried to find exciting things to do in Nebraska and the only thing that Google came up with was a trip to Runza. Yes, check it out, Runza is Nebraska’s version of McDonalds, and this is the big tourist draw.
As it turns out, we did find several small pieces of excitement in Nebraska.
Our first stop takes us to The SAC Aerospace Museum, a fabulous look into Air Force aircraft from the very beginning to present day with a focus on the Strategic Air Command and its role in the Cold War era. The museum houses two enormous hangars full of military aircraft and an outdoor display of additional aircraft and rocketry under the control of the SAC.
The Nebraska State Fair is going on right now so we put on our walking shoes and had a great time at the Fair. The fair also featured a High School and College Girls Volleyball Tournament which brought back a lot of old memories. While in town we also visited the Stuhr Museum and Railroad Town. This is a restored village much like Old Sturbridge Village, complete with working blacksmith and woodworking shops, an enjoyable step back in time and a great opportunity to talk to the blacksmith about some of the techniques he uses to create ornamental iron work.
Our next stop was the “The Great Platte River Road Archway”. This was a surprisingly interesting stop with a fun walk through museum of Pioneer life on the Great Plains.
One more stop before we leave the state. A Walmart overnight in North Platte which is home to Union Pacific’s Bailey Yard, The largest rail yard in the entire world. This place is so massive and interesting that you don’t even need to be a railroad buff to be impressed. The best part is you get to see it all from The Golden Spike Tower, an eight story observation tower overlooking the entire rail yard with displays telling the story of the railroad and its massive impact on settlement of the western territories.
Well, it turns out Nebraska isn’t as boring as it appears but with 400 and something miles of flat cornfields it sure comes close. Nebraska does offer one additional bonus, you can get a GREAT steak dinner here!