Arriving in Nebraska was definitely a turning point of our trip. The rolling hills of Kansas disappeared and were replaced by treeless prairies. The humid air disappeared and the temperature dropped in the evenings reminiscent of the mountain climate of the Southwest. To further confuse me, there were patches of cacti at one of our campsites.
While camped by a group of small lakes I made another discovery. Apparently Nebraska has a LARGE skunk population. We spotted two within 50 yards when we were walking one evening along the edge of a tall, grassy area of the woods. I thought skunks were nocturnal, but apparently not in Nebraska. So needless to say, when I went for a run the next morning (I could no longer use the hot, humid weather as an excuse not to), I was on edge and screamed like a banshee when a skunk came out of the tall grass and startled me. Turns out, it was a bird but how was I to know?
The next night in Nebraska we were trying to pick a camping spot by another lake as a massive thunderstorm was heading our way. All the camping spots were beneath large trees. Because we are camping in a big metal box, we were not comforted by this fact. Going with the theory that Ã¢â‚¬Å“lightning never strikes the same place twiceÃ¢â‚¬Â we camped next to a tree that had been hit many, many years ago. I’m happy to report we rode out the thunderstorm unscathed.
The highlight of our time in Nebraska was a tour of one of the original Pony Express Stations. This short-lived, privately-owned mail delivery system (existing for only 18 months) from Missouri to California is iconic in American history but like our current mail delivery system was not a profitable enterprise.
While touring the Pony Express Station, we met Mike and Wanda Shaughnessy from Indiana who were traveling back home from California in a beautiful 1940’s Ford coupe. Safe travels Mike and Wanda!
Back on the road we abruptly came upon a much welcomed terrain change and found ourselves in an area of rugged hills and large pine trees. The area is known asPine RidgeÂ and lasted all of 10 minutes at best and then we were back to the treeless prairie. We will not reach the Black Hills of South Dakota soon enough!