May, 2014

Rose, Nebraska is in the eastern Sand Hills.  I had no expectation that anything would remain of the town, but it seemed worth a ride, to see.  There are two stretches of highway in that area that I've not ridden: US-183 through Rose and NE-11, which is just to the east.  This would be a good opportunity.


Breakfast at the Sunshine Cafe in Nickerson.  I'll start the bike when that slow-moving train rolls past the crossing.

Frederick, Kansas.  I turned off the highway looking for the town, but the town (whatever it once was) is gone, leaving just the elevator.

I wonder if this has been done?  There are hundreds of elevators such as this one across Kansas.  You could fill a pickup bed with the loose grain that has been left in small piles near the loading and unloading points.  Eventually, it'll just blow away.  But, if a person had the capability of grinding their own flour...

Russell, Kansas, the hometown of senators Bob Dole and Arlen Spector (which fact you will quickly learn if you ever are in Russell).

Waldo, Kansas invites a question that I'm sure the locals are quite tired of hearing.

The weather for these three days is just about perfect for riding: low to mid 60s.

When the first settlers arrived, there were no trees make fence posts in order to keep out the cattle (another problem).  The solution?  Cut your fence posts in the quarry.  This area is sometimes called 'post-rock' country.  These fence posts will outlast everything else.

Portis, Kansas.

Just south of the Nebraska line (at the end of this unpaved road) is the cabin of Dr. Brewster Higley. 

Who is Dr. Brewster Higley?  In 1873 he wrote the words to the song now known as "Home on the Range."

My Western Home

Oh, give me a home
Where the buffalo roam
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard
A discouraging word,
And the sky is not cloudy all day.

A home, a home
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where never is heard a discouraging word
And the sky is not cloudy all day.

--1873, Brewster Higley

It continues in a similar vein for several versus more.

The cabin has recently (2014) been restored and rebuilt.  There has been some controversy that the restoration was taken too far and the original character of the cabin has been lost.  But, in thirty years it will be weathered enough to look proper, once again.



Loup City, Nebraska.

I stopped for breakfast at The Frederick Hotel.  It's nice to come across these old places when they're still open for business.  The orange slice and the two strawberries are a nice touch; a recommended cafe.


Elyria, Nebraska.

Fort Hartsuff was an Army cavalry outpost from 1874 to 1881.  The original buildings were very-well constructed and much remained from the original.  Beyond that, the volunteers and the state have done a terrific job of restoring the fort.

The soldiers had to drag the original flag pole all the way from the Niobrara River (where the nearest trees grew).


Army barracks.


Officers family quarters then and now.





Animals of the post.




Burwell, Nebraska.

The Burwell soda fountain.  That's a Bratwurst-chili hotdog: Nebraska's German heritage has changed over the years.


Riding north on NE-11.  I'd hit some areas of very heavy rain, but soon enough, the sun would come out.  Mostly, the weather was ideal.

Amelia, Nebraska is a few miles off the highway.  There's not much here, but it's a larger place than I expected.


The animals of Amelia.  This dog was happy to have somebody new to play with (he'd sneak up behind me and grab my hand in his mouth).


The distinctively choppy grasslands of the Sand Hills.

Atkinson, Nebraska.

Crossing over the Niobrara River.

Butte, Nebraska.

As I rode past this cemetery near Naper I saw a glimpse of three flag poles and a monument.  Let's turn around and find out more...

In 1944 a C-47 crashed not far from here, killing all twenty-eight aboard.  This monument was established in 2004 through the work of Dale Hueske and the Naper 28 Project.  Well done.


Crossing over the Niobrara River, once again.

Bassett, Nebraska.

The Sand Hills are speckled with small lakes.  Not surprisingly, this is an important stop for migrating birds.

Rose, Nebraska.  I doubt that Rose was ever all that much, but it did have a fairly good sized trading post at one time.  Today, there's little reason to slow down.

One of my favorite places to ride.

Broken Bow, Nebraska.

I stayed at the Arrow Hotel.  You've got to like these old 1920s  commercial hotels.


Yes; I'd say this room was big enough (the bedroom was separate from the living room and kitchen).  I'm on the third floor.


Walking around Broken Bow.



There's a nice restaurant in the hotel, but I ate in the bar (same menu, of course).


Miller, Nebraska.

Elm Creek for breakfast.  I've had this same breakfast on several earlier visits to "Mom's Cafe".



Plainville, Kansas.

Liebenthal, Kansas.

La Crosse, Kansas.

Rush Center, Kansas.

This season's wheat isn't very high.

Alden, Kansas.

Turning left and right on back country roads.  The trick is to string paved roads together and keep heading (mostly) in the right direction.


last edit: 5/15/2014