Tuesday, December 20, 2011

What to get Your Favorite Artist for Christmas

Most of the artists who entertain our friends at the Nebraska Outback House Concert Series are independent, controlling their own music, lives and destiny. They can perform the music they want, nearly all of which they have written and arranged themselves.

Our audiences often leave a concert shaking their heads "why don't we hear them on the radio?" or "they are so much better than we hear on the radio all the time." I share our audience's frustration.

Most of the artists who perform on our living room stage are doing exactly what they want to do - connecting with people through the intimate setting of a House Concert. They wouldn't have it any other way.

However, the CD sales and the radio play (online or broadcast) is their bread and butter. Tours are so expensive, that often the donations from audiences barely cover expenses. It's connecting with new fans and selling CD's that make a tour profitable.

I personally believe that fans who have been entertained by an artist who has spent a lifetime honing their entertainment skills has a certain amount of responsibility, over and above dropping a donation in the jar and buying a CD.

If we want to consistently have the opportunity to hear great new independent music, WE have to be the PR arm of these amazing artists. They don't have the PR machine of a mega record label behind them - and this is a good thing, because they also don't have a mega record label telling them what to play and how to play it.

With the access we have on the Internet, we can be a partner in their careers and help them sell albums, and other fans discover them and start talking about them. Here are a few ideas to help you along:

  • First, go to the artist website at (www.MasonDouglasMusic.com, www.Neelymusic.com, www.BenBedford.com, www.jesseterrymusic.com, www.meganburtt.com, www.bethwoodmusic.com, www.kenomalley.com, www.thewaymores.net, www.marcgunn.com... there's so many more!) and sign up for their mailing list. You'll often get free music downloads, and you'll be notified of upcoming events - album releases, appearances, etc.

  • Go to the artist Facebook fan page and become a fan there too. You'll most likely find the information on their official website. And don't just leave it at that... don't become a stalker, but post on their walls if you see/hear something you like.

  • If you’re a twitterer, you can follow them there. Make a list of musicians you follow and check it regularly - retweet their interesting tweets, engage them in conversation. Recognize them on "#MusicMonday", "#NewMusicTuesday" and "#FollowFriday", tell your friends how much you like them.

  • Check out their albums available on Amazon.com. It’s best just to search for the name of the artist and/or the name of the album. Scroll down and leave your own review of their music. Don't just purchase their music and leave your enjoyment of it to yourself! Share with others how great it is and encourage them to purchase it or listen to it too. Activity here will help your artist be more easily found.

  • Do you have an iTunes account? You can find nearly all of the artists there as well, and it really helps their visibility if you “like” their music and leave reviews there too. Just search the store to find them, then poke around on your account until you find where you can leave reviews. It only takes a few minutes, and once you become a regular at it it'll take less time than that.

  • Are you hooked on YouTube? Most artists have a channel there, where they post videos of their own and favorites those others post. You can "favorite", “like” and comment on the individual videos, and you can also comment to the channel - all of this will help their be more popular and more easy to find. Of course, you can also share the videos on your Twitter feeds and Facebook walls and other places on the Internet.

  • Going a little further, you can go to the artist page on ReverbNation: You’ll have to register, but it’s free and gives you access to preview lots of great music. Become a fan of your favorite artists there, and you can check out their upcoming live appearance and other announcements.

  • Whether you listen to your local radio station, Internet radio or services like Pandora or Spotify, request their music! Create channels with their music. Share (there's almost always a "share" button) the same when you have the opportunity.

Don't let your admiration for an artists hide under a bushel! Let your light shine wherever you have an audience - readers of Amazon and iTunes reviews, your Twitter followers and Facebook friends, other fans of the artist.

Take your job as PR person seriously! We'll all thank you when we have the chance to turn on our local radio station and hear their music!

If anyone has any more suggestions on how we can help our favorite artists get the word out, be sure to post comments here.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Friday, December 9, 2011

North Platte Canteen Remembered

On a cold winter evening, December 17, 1941, a group of friends and family members from North Platte stood on the Union Pacific Depot staring with dismay at a troop of soldiers disembarking from the train. The parents, grandparents, children, sweethearts and friends had heard through the grapevine that their own soldiers, Company D of the Nebraska National Guard would be stopping on their way to war.

Only now, there wasn't a familiar face to be seen as the confused soldiers stared back at them in confusion. It was National Guard Company D all right, only the boys were from Kansas, not Nebraska.

One courageous young woman, Rae Wilson, stepped forward, declaring that these soldiers would enjoy the gifts she had brought. The rest of the crowd followed suit, passing out the home made foods and hand made gifts to the surprised and grateful soldiers.

Seventy years this month will have passed since that act of unparalleled generosity... what makes it unparalleled is that Rae Wilson spearheaded the effort to do the same thing EVERY TIME a troop train passed through town. On Christmas Day, the Canteen opened in the Union Pacific Depot and went on to operate for 54 months, meeting every single troop train until eventually 55,000 volunteers served more than six million service men and women.

To commemorate the anniversary, artist Denis Hurst penned and performed a tribute to the North Platte Canteen:

God bless our men and women in uniform, and those volunteers who showed them so much love so long ago.

Thanks for stopping by. As with the old-time signal of an approaching troop train "Put the coffee pot on!"

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Beautiful Home to Sell at Auction December 10

After literally years of wrangling with her former husband, , my sister's home in North Platte will sell at a real estate auction on December 10,2011 at 10:30 a.m.

Marvelous 3+ bedroom, 3 bath home
810 E. 4th St., North Platte
16' x 30' garage/workshop
Splendid decks

Grand three or more bedroom, two story manor with three baths, 16' x 30' detached garage and off-street parking for several vehicles. The home offers 2,252 sq. ft. of living area under composition shingled gable roof. The home has been tastefully updated with contemporary and fashionable decor. The open kitchen/dining area measures 13' x 22' and has abundance of new cabinetry and top of the line appliances. It is heated by forced air gas furnace and there is also central air conditioning.

There are marvelous decks and this home is situated near Memorial Park and along the NEBRASKAland DAYS parade route. A large tent is included for entertaining during that and other celebrations.
This home is a true people pleaser. Plus it's on a huge lot with alley access.
Legal Description: Lot 1 Melissa 1st Replat of Trustee's Addition to North Platte, Lincoln County Nebraska.

Lot Dimensions: 109.25 x 132

Real Estate Taxes: 2010 - $2,848.44, parcel number 4536500

For more information contact Bruce Richman, 308-530-0990 or Nancy Faulhaber, 308-530-1254

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Misguided Interference by Uncle Sam


America's rural lifestyle has long been under attack, whether from economic downturns, the weather, the EPA or animal rights group. Now we have to fight for our very future on another front - the Department of Labor.

Children are vital to the health of the rural economy, and our farm and ranch lifestyle is vital to raising intelligent, hard-working adults. Now proposed changes in the child labor laws is threatening our heritage.

In one of Nebraska's most rural counties, the Custer County Chief broke the story. According to the details printed there,
The changes are pointedly aimed at agriculture and would severely limit opportunities for young people on the farm or ranch, and in some cases eliminate them, until they are at least 16, or in some instances 18 years of age.

There is a partial exemption for kids working for their mom or dad. That exemption does not extend, however outside that narrow definition. Uncles, aunts, grandparents are not considered. Furthermore, if the teenager is paid then the parents are considered a business and the exemptions are no longer allowed. These rules would also most likely impact youth groups like 4-H and FFA.

Other proposed changes prohibit certain occupations involving working with or around animals including handling animals with known dangerous behaviors; assisting in animal husbandry practices that inflict pain upon animal or result in unpredictable behavior (such as branding, breeding, dehorning, vaccinating, castrating and treating sick or injured animals); poultry catching or cooping in preparation for market; working in a yard, pen or stall of an intact(non-castrated male animal or with female animals with suckling offspring or umbilical cords present; herding animals in confined spaces or on horseback, or using motorized vehicles such as trucks or all-terrain vehicles.

Several proposals are aimed specifically at tractor use.
Tractors operated by 14 and 15-year old youth must be equipped with approved Roll-Over Protective Structures (ROPS) and seatbelts; and that seatbelt use be mandated. This would prohibit the use of tractors of any horsepower, including small garden-tractors; whereby the training exemption will either be removed or changed to 90 hours of study.

It would prohibit the use of electronic devices, including communication devices, while operating tractors, power-driven equipment and motor vehicles and restrict use of all power-driven equipment (similar to that of non-agricultural industries). That would seem to be a very broad definition encompassing almost all equipment used on the farm.

Another proposal would restrict young people from working on elevated structures over six feet high. Most combine cabs are over six feet. There are question being asked. Are they not allowed to use ladders either? Do barn lofts fall under this ruling?

The Department of Labor seems to contrast sharply with the wishes of Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack who is looking for ways for more young people to get involved in farming and ranching.

Do any of these activities sound familiar to you? If you grew up on a farm or a ranch, they were all probably part of your chores or duties from the time you could toddle around the farm yard carrying a bucket.

Here's what to do:

To submit comments:

1. Log on to www.regulations.gov/#!submitComment;D=WHD-2011-0001-0001
2. Enter required information in section 1 including name and address
3. Type comment in section 2
4. Review your comments – the U.S. Department of Labor urges the commenter to carefully consider that their submissions are a matter of public record and will be publicly accessible on the internet
5. Submit

Comments must be submitted on or before December 1, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Occupy Black Friday

As a matter of fact, DON'T Occupy Black Friday - stay home, enjoy your family, watch some football, eat leftovers. Avoid the madness Black Friday brings.

But, when you do go shopping, ON SATURDAY, participate in SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY! Small business is the backbone of America and the key to economic recovery. Here are some important contributions of small business according to the SBA:
Small firms:
  • Represent 99.7 percent of all employer firms.

  • Employ half of all private sector employees.

  • Pay 44 percent of total U.S. private payroll.

  • Generated 65 percent of net new jobs over the past 17 years.

  • Create more than half of the nonfarm private GDP.

  • Hire 43 percent of high tech workers ( scientists, engineers, computer programmers, and others).

  • Are 52 percent home-based and 2 percent franchises.

  • Made up 97.5 percent of all identified exporters and produced 31 percent of export value in FY 2008.

  • Produce 13 times more patents per employee than large patenting firms.
And, when you spend locally, more of your dollars stay in your community:

Here are some great ideas to spend your money this Christmas - really, it's like giving three times or more - your spending is a gift to independent, locally owned business owners, who in turn spend your dollars in the community, AND you get to give great, thoughtful gifts to your loved ones.

Everything from soup to nuts: Grow Nebraska, online or at retail stores in Kearney, Grand Island and Lincoln.
5019 2nd Avenue, #20
Kearney, NE 68847
(308) 338-3520
Monday – Saturday: 10 am - 9 pm
Sunday: 12 noon - 6 pm

Grand Island
Conestoga Mall #144
3404 W 13th Street
Grand Island, NE 68803
(308) 382-1287
Monday – Saturday: 10 am - 9 pm
Sunday: 12 noon - 6 pm

6100 O Street, Bay #228
Westfield Gateway Mall
Lincoln, NE 68505
Store hours
Monday-Saturday: 10:00am – 9:00pm
Sunday: 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm
Please check Westfield Gateway Web site for specific holiday hours.
November 4 - December 24
Other ideas?

Give some locally brewed craft beers. You can find all of the Nebraska Brewers on the Nebraska Beer Blog.

Nebraska Wine - check out the Nebraska Wine and Grape Growers or your local retailers for selections.

Nebraska Music - you can find a lot of great artists at Hear Nebraska, check them out then buy their music directly from their websites, at Amazon or iTunes.

Make a REAL difference with your Christmas shopping this year! Buy local.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on (purchased from our local grocery store, Maline's Super Foods in Sutherland, Nebraska.)

Friday, November 18, 2011

There's no place like Nebraska

If you're a sports fan at all, you've probably already heard the story of Nebraska coach Ron Brown leading both Penn State and the Huskers in an on-field prayer before Saturday's game.

I was traveling en route from Memphis to Sutherland on game day, so I only heard reports from The Mister about it. According to him, prior to the teams running on to the field, fans from both teams were loudly cheering their teams on. The teams enter the stadium and make their way to the center of the field, no one, including the reporters in the press box knew what was going on. Slowly everyone began to take notice, the stadium growing quieter and quieter until coach Brown's voice could clearly be heard to the sidelines and up into the first few rows of the stadium. The crowd then begins to clap slowly, gaining momentum at the end of the prayer.

There has been a lot of discussion about the happenings at Penn State, and I agree with many who have voiced the opinion that the victims are being overlooked. The focus has been on the football program, coach Paterno, and how what happened affects THEM - let's focus on how what happened affects the young men who have to live with this abuse for the rest of their lives.

The Nebraska athletes, coaches, musicians, cheerleaders, fans and everyone else who made their way to Pennsylvania on Saturday represented our state in a way that can make every Nebraskan proud.

The University of Nebraska Daily Nebraskan posted a series of letters from Penn State fans attesting to how our representatives behaved:
"... you helped the healing process for so many Penn State fans who had absolutely nothing to do with this scandal. I'll always be a Nittany Lion, but from this day forward, I'm also a huge Husker fan. Thank you..."

"... (Saturday) was a beginning step toward redemption. Thanks...."

"... Your support — both implicit and explicit, intentional and incidental — made a world of difference for our entire community this weekend and will continue to allow us to pick ourselves up, to renew our commitments to the values and ideals we seek to uphold and to remember the victims and prevent future tragedies from ever taking place..."

"...Today you came back to Penn State and, in possibly the finest display of sportsmanship I have ever seen, joined in solidarity with us in our moment of excruciating pain..."

The letters go on and on. I encourage you to go read them. Appreciate how these fellow Nebraskans represented our state, and reflect on how you can become a better person in all aspects of your life.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Walking in Memphis

My travels this week have taken me to Tunica, MS to learn about using Social Media to promote our destination. While it's one of the most incredible conferences I've attended - great speakers, great workshops and great new colleagues that are new friends, one of the greatest things about attending a conference like this is getting to explore the area.

You all know of my love for music, and there is no better place for music than the Mississippi Delta. We had the good fortune to have dinner Wednesday night at the Hollywood, made famous in the Mark Cohn song "Walking in Memphis."

For those of you who know me "IRL" (I told you I'm learning a lot at this social media conference - that stands for "in real life"), my name is Muriel, and while I don't play the piano, being named Muriel means I don't get my name in a lot of songs, so I was happy to have the chance to visit this historic location.

Walking in Memphis has been covered by Lonestar and Cher (although she changes the lyrics to "Gabriel").

I really recommend a trip down here for the great people, music and history, although I don't necessarily recommend our accommodations - the Harrah's casino. Nice enough, but kind of in the middle of no where, so without a car it's a challenge to explore.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Veterans Day 2011

Home Free by Mason Douglas

I’m a soldier, that’s what I am
Maybe you don’t agree with me or just don’t understand
But just like you I’ve got a home and family
And I leave it all behind when you call on me.

And I will fight for what is right
For my country for my stars and my stripes
And I’ll stand tall till the day I die
If I fall I’ll have my brothers by my side

And I may come back home to a big parade or to my name carved in stone
But either way don’t shed a tear for me
Either way I’m coming home and I’m coming home free.

Well it’s an uphill battle all the time
But it’s what I do for you to sleep safely through the night
And I’ll be on my way home when the gun smoke clears
When we all live to love another day
It’s all downhill from there

And I will fight for what is right
For my country for my stars and my stripes
And I’ll stand tall until the day I die
If I fall I’ll have my brothers by my side

And I may come back home to a big parade or to myt name carved in stone
But either way don’t shed a tear for me
Either way I’m coming home and I’m coming free.
Yeah I may come back home to a big parade or to my name carved in stone
But either way don’t shed a tear for me
Yeah, either way I’m coming home and I’m coming home free.

Thank you and Happy Veterans Day to all of our Veterans

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Soddy

Late last summer, we embarked on an epic road trip that took us on asphalt, gravel and sand roads from Sutherland to Valentine. Only a few miles were spent on highways.

This is the first video from that trip. Unfortunately it has taken a long time to begin editing, but I hope to be adding more in the weeks ahead.

Growing up in rural McPherson County, talk often turned to the dances held at the "Soddy". Unfortunately, no mental images remain for me of the community center. This visit has spurred a desire to share more of the history of the early days of the Sandhills, and I have my McPherson County history book by my side today. I'll be sharing a few homesteader stories in the future.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Not enough time in the day, days in the week

Fortunately I've got more than a week worth of comp time hours built up as a result of spending waaaaay too much tim on the job. It helps that I love my work, but spending some time away helps rejuvenate the soul and make me more productive. On a rare Friday when both The Mister and I are off work together, naturally, we take a drive.

We start along the canal that supplies cooling water to the Sutherland Reservoir and the Gerald Gentleman power station operated by NPPD. One of our area's largest employers, we've grown used to the industrial view of the power plant as a backdrop to some of our prettiest views.
From there, a few jogs in the route around the Sutherland Reservoir and we're on State Farm Road south of Hershey. Here we found the Trinity Cemetery. The historic church that once graced this site has found a new home at the Lincoln County Historical Museum.
Many of the gravestones are weathered almost beyond readability, and we didn't have pencils and paper with us, so could only guess at some of the inscriptions. Reflecting our area's German heritage, many were written in that language.

In the Kossbau (Kosbau) plot, one can read a familiar story in the stone. Early immigrant families coming through Ellis Island found themselves passing through different lines to enter the U.S. Uninterested, overworked customs officials didn't take the time to learn the correct spelling of the foreign names. Whatever they wrote down became official.
So here, as in many historic cemeteries containing the graves of our immigrant ancestors, you find family members with names spelled differently.
Further to the east, we reach our true destination, the scenic Box Elder Canyon south of North Platte. We've waited too long for the fall colors to be at their peak, but it is still well worth the drive.
Turkeys thrive in these heavily wooded canyons. This is only one group of the half dozen or so large flocks we encountered. Looking in the background, you can see the cedar trees that the ranchers have to constantly battle as they encroach on grazing lands.
Headed back north, on either Effenbeck or Cottonwood Canyon Road, we find the marker commemorating the Larsen homestead. Seems like there are probably Norwegian (or would that be Swedish? I think Norwegian.) descendants in the region as well.
Less than ten miles south of the flat expanse of the Platte River Valley, these wooded canyons offer a hint of the diversity of Nebraska topography.
As always, we finish the day wishing we had more time to explore. One day, we'll get acquainted with the area landowners and get off road on foot or horseback to do some more exploring.
Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Scam "Survey" for XL Pipeline

Yesterday morning, The Mister answered the telephone to hear about a "survey" being conducted concerning the TransCanada XL Pipeline that is scheduled to be routed through the Nebraska Sandhills.

After listening silently for a long time - during which the caller was touting all of the benefits of the pipeline, The Mister was asked if he would stay on the line while he was connected with Senator Tom Hansen's (Our state legislative representative) office so he could voice his support for the pipeline.

The Mister then asked the caller if it would be all right if he voiced his opposition for the pipeline when he was connected. After clarifying what he said to her several times (she was kind of dense... and seemed surprised that anyone would oppose the pipeline), the line went dead.

She hung up on him!

He tried recalling the number, but it constantly rang busy - guess they were on the phone a lot trying to dupe other Nebraska voters. We looked up the area code from the caller I.D. and found that the call originated in New York City.

We immediately called Senator Hansen's office in outrage of the tactics, plus to make sure he heard loud and clear our opposition to the pipeline. We were greeted with an obviously politically-trained receptionist who politely heard our complaints, then assured us that they had no idea who was making these calls.


We are to believe that?

I don't think so.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

A Lincoln Highway Drive

It was with the best intentions that I drove out of my driveway... the intentions to drive down one of the beautiful canyon roads in southeastern Lincoln County Nebraska. Box Elder Canyon Road, Cottonwood Canyon Road, Brady-Moorefield Road - any one would be an adventure in itself.

However, just having returned from the Nebraska Travel Conference and the Lincoln Highway Scenic and Historic Byway annual meeting, my thoughts turned to the byway and so I decided to follow the pre-1917 alignment through Lincoln County. As you can see from the map below (which is the closest approximation I can make to the route on Google Maps), it's not necessarily a straight-forward proposition!
Armed with Gregory Franzwa's excellent book "The Lincoln Highway: Nebraska", I took Highway 83 south out of North Platte and turned east on State Farm Road.

The first stop was the historic bridge that crosses the NPPD canal near the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission Fish Hatchery. According to the Nebraska Historic Buildings Survey for Lincoln County, this art-deco bridge was built in 1935, so wouldn't have been in place during the time Lincoln Highway travelers were using this route - but it is still interesting.
Despite the "closed" sign, Feather River Vineyards is very much open - on certain days of the week. As Nebraska's largest vineyard, it is a wonderful local asset, and the tasting room makes a great visit.
Around another bend or two in the road and in the distance you can see Sioux Lookout. Named for the assumption that the highest point along the Platte River Valley in this area would be used by Native Americans to spy approaching wagon trains, the hill was once the home of an iconic statue. The statue has been placed on the courthouse square in North Platte as it was nearly destroyed by vandalism while atop the hill. The deep ruts that can be seen are the results of thousands of visitor and subsequent erosion by wind and water.
In 2001, the Pony Express Association marked the locations of all of the stations along the route. Here is the Cottonwood Springs marker.
And the reverse, showing the justification for choosing the location and a little history.
Our rural cemeteries are history lessons in themselves, and there are many along this route. The first one, traveling west to east is the Plainview Cemetery.
Of course, Fort McPherson National Cemetery is a must-see. Fort McPherson was an important post along the westward migration trails, and when other frontier forts were decommissioned, their burials were moved here. It contains many historic graves, as well as being Nebraska's only National Cemetery with current burials.
A little further on is an historic statue commemorating the eastern boundary of the Fort reserve.
A forlorn historic marker of the Pony Express. I believe these types of markers were placed in the 1930's. There are many throughout Nebraska that are much better preserved.
From this close-up, the outline of the Pony Express rider is barely visible.
While I'm not big on trespassing, the signs along the main road pointing to "Conroy's Grave" seemed like an invitation not to be missed.
Down a dirt track (that might be impassable after rains) is the final resting spot (and I assume place of death) of A. Conroy, killed by Indians in September 1868 while cutting hay.
Further on, the Gaslin Cemetery dates from 1896. I didn't stop today, but wandering around historic cemeteries can be very thought-provoking.
In the middle of seemingly nowhere, a rural church stands proud. Who would have thought the Banner United Methodist Church would be active in social media? But there it was - on Facebook!
Just south of the church, again on a dirt track is the Peckham Cemetery. By this time in my journey, the day had warmed, so I did visit awhile. The earliest grave I could find dated from 1886. Interestingly, many of the names on the gravestones correlated with the names on the mailboxes along the road.
My trek ended on Highway 47 south of Gothenburg. This wooded lane is an actual remnant of the original pre-1917 Lincoln Highway and can be seen meandering off to the east from the Highway just south of the river bridge.
It was a beautiful drive, and except for the side trips, all on very well maintained paved roads. Well worth the trip!

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Opposing the XL Pipeline

Water isn't necessarily the first thing people think of when they hear "Nebraska". Most are surprised to hear that Nebraska, a land-locked state in the middle of America, actually has more miles of shoreline than any other state.

You can see the truth of that by looking at the map below. Besides the Missouri River on our eastern edge, dozens of rivers traverse the state nearly border to border.
Many of these rivers, and dozens more creeks and streams are spring-fed from the Ogallala Aquifer.
Not only is the aquifer important for Nebraska, you can see from the map that it is important for the entire Great Plains region.

It is no secret that I love Nebraska and especially the Nebraska Sandhills. They have figured prominently in many of my blog posts like "Nebraska Beautiful".

Here is one of my favorite views of the North Birdwood Creek area just north of Sutherland.Nebraska's incredible ranching industry, which supplies beef to the world would have never been possible without the windmill allowing access to the water of the Aquifer.Even in the dry conditions of late summer, when rain is badly needed, the Sandhills have their own stark beauty.There are a lot of opinions on the XL Pipeline. There are many extremist views on both sides, with a lot of rhetoric being thrown back and forth. While I don't believe everything I read, I believe enough of it to be afraid... very afraid of the ROUTE of the pipeline. I'm not opposed to the pipeline itself. I know I'm being a hypocrite about this. A pipeline came through this area a few years ago, west to east, and I didn't give it a second thought. Until the Gulf disaster, I never thought to question what was flowing through the pipeline.

However, I am of the opinion that there are better routes for the pipeline than through the heart of the Nebraska Sandhills, directly on top of the largest body of fresh water in the world.

Here are some sources of the information I used to formulate my opinion:
Dirty Oil Sands
Save our Sandhills
The Center for Rural Affairs
And a great, even-handed guest opinion on the Nebraska.StatePaper.com.

Now Nebraska Governor Heineman has called a special session of the Nebraska Legislature. Many say it's too late, and that blocking the pipeline or rerouting it could open Nebraska up to lawsuits.

A colleague commented on a completely unrelated topic we were discussing "The best time to plant a tree is ten years ago... the next best time is today." We were working on a community redevelopment project, but the concept holds true here as well. Even if Nebraska can't do anything about the XL Pipeline (and I don't think that's a given), it shouldn't stop us from taking over the authority of the pipeline routing process in the future. It's our state... our natural resources... our Sandhills, and we are the caretakers of the Ogallala Aquifer for the entire Great Plains.

Bottom line for me is:
Big Business (and especially Big Oil) can't be trusted. Can you say BP? Or ExxonMobile?

Big Government can't be trusted (meaning no disrespect to the colleagues I have been working with over the past few days). Think of "cash for clunkers", TARP, auto industry bailouts, and the fallacy of "shovel ready" construction projects. All of these were to be the "magic bullet" that rocketed the U.S. out of the economic downturn. Do we really trust the geniuses behind these programs with something as basic as the water supply for millions of people?

There I've said it. Agree or disagree, it's my opinion.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on (being from a small town, I believe most issues can be settled over coffee at the local cafe).

Monday, October 24, 2011

Platte River Valley Autumn Drive

After a cool and drizzly start, Saturday turned into a beautiful autumn day in the Outback. What an autumn it's been too - we hosted a backyard bbq before a House Concert in late September, had one final kayak/tanking trip and attended an outdoor wedding in early October. Unfortunately, this being Nebraska, winter could appear with a vengeance at any time.Now is not the time to waste beautiful days sitting indoors, so a quick road trip before the Nebraska Cornhuskers game was definitely in order. On our trip north, we surprised a flock of turkeys crossing the historic bridge across the North Platte River.
This one straggler is wondering why his friends left him behind to face the oncoming traffic alone.
After a summer of record high water and lots of flooding of the low lying areas near the river, the water has finally receded. A picture taken from this vantage point earlier in the summer would have been one solid water-scape of flowing water. Now the river is nearly back to its trademark braided-channel appearance.
Further on, there is evidence that the wet meadows bordering the river dried out enough that farmers could get in and harvest the abundant hay.
Due to the severe drought south of us in parts of Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, the price of hay is ranging from $185 a ton to $330 a ton, which is astronomical. It's all about supply and demand, but I feel sorry for the ranchers who have to buy hay at those prices to keep their cattle alive.

A couple of weeks ago there was a huge prairie fire north of us in the Sandhills near Stapleton, Nebraska that burned several thousand acres. It destroyed at least one home, lots of outbuildings and equipment, crops and many stack yards where the ranchers had stockpiled hay for winter use. It is going to be hard to replace it at today's prices.
All the plants propagated by seeds are in full distribution mode, counting on the wind and critters to distribute seed to fertile ground, including the Milk Weed above and the Cattails below.
You know how often The Mister and I take road trips exploring the local area, but there are still countless roads we have yet to make our way down. Today was a new one for us, and we came across something we just don't see every day - didn't even know was here, as a matter of fact.
At first I estimated that there must be 50 or so buffalo on this ranch, but on closer inspection of the picture, it's obvious that there are less than 20 - they just take up a LOT of room. You just never know what you're going to find when you take the time to explore.
Until the weather turns, I encourage you to get out and explore!

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

O! Omaha

I just returned from the Nebraska Travel Conference, hosted by the Nebraska Division of Travel and Tourism. I conducted a workshop on Social Media 101, and one of the things I emphasized was that people need to start blogging, and they need to do it consistently! Seeing as how I haven't blogged since September 22, and only had one post in September, I think I had better follow my own advice and get to posting!

The Travel Conference was held in Omaha, and the community did a FANTASTIC job of hosting! I got to town early on Tuesday, with intentions of walking across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge, but wimped out because of the chilly breeze. So I opted to have lunch in the Old Market, at Trini's in the passageway. it was FANTASTIC!

My colleagues from North Platte joined me later that evening, and we drove out to Village Pointe to meet up with the director from Gering and enjoyed a delicious meal at the Kona Grill. Judging from the shopping bags that filled our SUV on the way back to the hotel, Omaha enjoyed quite an economic boost from hosting the conference.

After a full day of meetings, we were treated to Blazing Pianos at DJ's Dugout. What a fantastic choice of entertainment to get us all in the spirit to engage in some quality networking. Knowing tourism peeps like to par-tay, Omaha arranged for buses to pick up the last guests exploring the Old Market at 11:00pm.

Thursday night is the big awards banquet, and due to a slightly under-the-weather Governor Heineman, we were out of there early, which was fine with me because we were headed downtown to the Slowdown to catch the Take Cover benefit for Hear Nebraska.

An early morning Friday meeting and a long drive back to North Platte ensured that we didn't stay late, but we really enjoyed the music while we were there.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Rural Post Office Dilemma

Throughout the history of the U.S., the first thing that happened in a small town was that someone made themselves postmaster and established a post office. It might be in a one-room dugout, log cabin or sod house, or in a corner of the dry-goods store or saloon, but a post office was what put the town on the map.

Historic maps are dotted with towns that no longer exist on modern maps because they don't have a post office. Some of the towns themselves remain, others are still hanging on but without a name and no real identity, possibly not even a dot on a map, because they have no post office.

We all know the United States Post Office is the poster child for mismanagement and inefficiency. Now in their infinite wisdom, the powers-that-be have decided that to save money and streamline the operation, what is needed is to close rural post offices and mail sorting centers, and reduce mail delivery from six days a week to five or less. This last isn't anything new... there are many remote rural locations which only receive mail a couple of days a week or fewer.

Recent news told of the possibility of both the North Platte and Grand Island mail sorting centers being closed. What this means for residents of central, west central and western Nebraska is that our mail would go from our mail boxes to either Cheyenne or Omaha to be sorted before returning to it's destination - even if that destination is across town.

Already, when we put in a change-of-address order, all of our mail must be collected and sent to Omaha to have those little yellow stickers put on it before being forwarded to us. It is the only post office in the area with that capability.

Rural postmasters are BREAKING THE RULES if they receive a letter addressed to another recipient in their same small town and they simply walk over and put it into the correct box. Why? Because a 44 cent stamp doesn't pay for OVERNIGHT DELIVERY! The P.O. has decreed that these letters must be sent away and sorted before being delivered simply because if they are put in the right box it will get there TOO SOON!

Just how much extra expense is entailed in shipping our local letters hundreds of miles round-trip before delivering them? Is that efficient?

Post Office employees aren't exempt from this stupidity either. Employees at sorting facilities file grievances through their union if a "casual" worker (seasonal, someone borrowed for busy times) gets overtime - even though they don't want to work overtime and didn't work overtime, union workers will get additional money added to their check if someone else works overtime! Make sense? I didn't think so. And if a supervisor happens to touch a piece of mail - a grievance is filed because it isn't in the supervisor's job description to touch mail.

The answer from my point of view is to close post offices and mail sorting centers in urban areas and reduce the frequency of their mail delivery. Urban neighborhoods identities aren't tied to their post office. The towns and neighborhoods will still exist if the mail is sorted a few blocks further away.

Rural areas are also much more highly likely to have poor Internet service. Urban areas can do their banking, purchasing and lots of other activities on the Internet that rural residents rely on the postal service for. Reduce mail delivery to urban areas where they are in much closer contact with the needed services from other sources.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on... have a cup while we check my mail.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Making Music

I have a confession to make... I have no musical talent whatsoever. Many years ago, when I was a regular churchgoer, I organized a praise choir at our church... recruiting, scheduling, promoting... the things I AM good at. Because the church was grateful for my efforts, they allowed me to participate in the choir, even giving me a little egg to shake in the rhythm section. Then one day, I got to practice and both my microphone and eggie were gone... I could still participate, but just so no one would hear me! Since I was well aware of my shortcomings, even though I did enjoy the experience, I wasn't sad not to be making a spectacle of myself on the Sundays when we performed.

Now, I don't sing out loud, unless of course, the Guinness is flowing and there are Irish Drinking Songs being played... then I'll belt them out along with the rest of the bar crowd. Pitch and key don't count there.

However, I am a strong believer in being part of the music industry. AND I HOPE YOU WILL JOIN ME! I host regular House Concerts, bringing nationally touring bands and singer/songwriters into my home for the enjoyment of my friends and neighbors and hopefully to the financial benefit of the artists. I've been working with an organization called NRoute Entertainment to do the same in listening room environments in North Platte. Everyone can participate by attending these live music shows and supporting the artists and the venues.

However, we all can take it one step further. In this day and age of independent musicians and grass-roots social media, we fans are the major record labels. We are the public relations arms promoting our artists - posting about their upcoming shows, links to their websites, pushing mp3 downloads and album sales. Now on the backside, we can actually help them produce the music.

I have two artist friends, whom I've hosted in my home and I highly recommend who are asking their fans to help them get their next album projects off the ground.

First is NEELY, made up of the husband and wife duo Jeremy and Kaci Neely. You can find their project on Kickstarter. At $2,155 pledged, they are at 61% of their goal with six days left! It would be a shame if a fabulous project like this didn't get off the ground because of funding. It takes a lot of money to make an album, and the artists invest a large part themselves, in addition to the blood, sweat and tears it takes to make the music.

Second is Jesse Terry. This incredible singer/songwriter is using Pledge Music to finance his project. He's only just begun and is 11% toward his goal.

The music industry is a cut-throat business. The mega record labels and the big radio conglomerates have it sewn up neatly, with little room for independent music to make its way to our ears. We can find it on live shows and streaming on independent internet radio stations, neither of which are very lucrative for the artists. If we want to continue to have great independent music available to us, we have to get in on the ground floor and actually have a financial stake in making it happen.

Oh, and I should tell you, the artists have offered great swag if you pledge! So check out their music, then check out their projects, then pledge. It only takes a few clicks of the mouse button!

Thanks for stopping by. For the price of a few cups of coffee, you can help finance these great music projects!

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Third Places in North Platte

The community in which I work, North Platte, Nebraska is embarking on a "Community Branding" process. As part of the development of our brand, we were encouraged to cultivate "Third Places." We all have our homes, which are our first places. Our place of work is our second place. Our third place is where we go to hang out with our friends. Strong, growing, vibrant communities are all characterized by the variety of activity at their third places.

I am fortunate enough to be a part of the committee working on developing those third places. We have many other projects, but one highly visible and nominally successful one is the NRoute Entertainment Fort Cody Music Series.

NRoute Entertainment has three goals:

  • Provide Third Places for residents of North Platte - and help going to those third places become a habit.

  • Provide quality "listening room" type venues for traveling artists "nroute" between more major gigs.

  • Provide quality entertainment for travelers "nroute" to their homes or final destinations.

We chose the iconic Fort Cody Trading Post for our series which began in June and finished up in August. As you can see from the credits that roll at the end of the second video, we had amazing artists grace our stage.

We are looking to build on this series next year. All of these artists deserve to have packed houses enjoying their music, and it will be our goal to provide it for them.

Thanks for stopping by. Make plans to join us next year for this series... the coffee will be on.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Nebraska Cowboy Poetry

I love Cowboy Poetry! You may recall that I have posted in 2009 about our trip up to the annual Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Festival held annually in October. You can find those posts here - "So Many Wranglers, so Little Time" (I also appreciate men in wranglers...) and "You Call These Guys Amateurs?

You'll notice that Nebraska Cowboy Poet RP Smith features prominently in those blog posts. I recently had the opportunity to enjoy his poetry again, this time at the 2011 Heritage Day celebration at the Lincoln County Historical Museum.

When I first moved back to Nebraska in 1993, I hoped to do some freelance writing, but with my kids in 5th, 3rd and kindergarten, it just didn't happen. My aspirations did, however, give me the opportunity to spend the day on R.P.'s Custer County ranch, when his kids were just a little younger than described in the video below.

R.P., his wife Beth and their children are truly Nebraska icons - wonderful examples of the men and women who make this state great. I hope there's a lot more "Dinosaur Eggs" like them in the works.

Keep checking out my YouTube Channel as I'll be posting more of his Heritage Day performances there.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

North Platte Canteen Memories

This is a short video I made yesterday at the Lincoln County Historical Museum Heritage Festival. Even hearing short snippets of the North Platte Canteen stories can give me goosebumps.

You'll be able to find out a lot more about the North Platte Canteen at this year's North Platte Rail Fest.

The North Platte Community Playhouse will host "The Canteen Spirit Experience".
The North Platte Community Playhouse will present the “Canteen Spirit Experience,” in conjunction with the Original Town Association and Railfest 2011 in North Platte, NE.

During the “Canteen Spirit Experience,” patrons will be treated to a viewing of the “Canteen Spirit” film, a panel discussion with former North Platte Canteen volunteers and soldiers, vendors and an authentic Canteen meal, all taking place in the historic North Platte Community Playhouse at the Neville Center for the Performing Arts.
Also during Rail Fest, the North Platte Public Library Foundation will host the "Canteen Memories" Cemetery Tour.
Canteen Memories is the title of this year's cemetery tour hosted by the North Platte Public Library Foundation. The tour will pay tribute to World War II soldiers and the women who volunteered to help with the Canteen effort.

"It's the 70th anniversary of the Canteen, so that's primarily why we chose that theme," said Kaycee Anderson, library researcher. "But, we also wanted to honor the men who lost their lives, not just the women who served. All the soldiers featured were North Platte boys, and all died in action."

Each will be portrayed by local actors and actresses who will dress in costumes from the period and deliver 10 to 15-minute performances while standing next to the headstones of the characters they represent. (Courtesy of the North Platte Telegraph)
Spend some time in North Platte this year during Rail Fest and you'll fall in love with this heartwarming story.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


The call came in at 12:30. Our oldest daughter was in labor with our first grandchild. Even though my head told me that the baby would be a long time in coming, I couldn’t convince my heart, so instead of getting a good night’s sleep and making the drive to Lincoln in the morning, I grabbed my things and began the road trip by 1:00.

Naturally, my head was correct, and Finley Elsie was born at 3:11 in the afternoon.

Throughout my life I have often joked with my children that the only reason I had kids was so that I could get grandchildren, and I’ve often chided them that I had yet to be presented with a single one! I can’t say that now. But I will tell you that I haven’t faced the prospect of becoming a grandmother without some major trepidation.

I began my journey to fulfillment when I married The Mister, which will be nine years ago later this month. After that, I became a better mom and a better person, with the example, love and support that he provides. I went so far as to attend sporting events, which I really don’t understand and like even less than I understand, but with him by my side it became at least tolerable.

When our last child left home in 2009, one transformation occurred and we began to really have fun – hosting House Concerts, Couch Surfers, becoming river rats and traveling wherever and whenever we had the chance.

And so, with the birth of the granddaughter, our lives go through another transformation. She is, I’m sure, the first of many, and I’m hoping for some word from our other daughter within the year, and who knows after that? Now we have to consider how to make sure we stay connected to Finley and all the babies to come. Perhaps travel will be less about us and more about connecting with family? Scheduling less events at home so we can be available when we’re needed to babysit?

It’s hard to say how the future will shape up, but one thing I can say for certain: It will be FUN!

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


An interesting thing happened at 2am this morning. I woke up at my usual time, with everything that needed to be done the next day - or hadn't gotten done the previous day - running through my head.

I suddenly realized that a decision had been made for me. Must have happened in my sleep. I decided to de-commit to a lot of stuff. I got up, logged onto www.concertsinyourhome.com and changed my status to "not booking", logged onto www.couchsurfing.org and changed my status to "no couch available", and felt much better.

Now don't get me wrong, we're still going to host some house concerts and "dinner and song" events, but I have already made contact with enough artists to fill the next year, and we already have a few couch surfers scheduled for the future, but I just don't want anything more to do right now.

I think it has to do with the mountain of paperwork that has resulted in the theft of our truck - who knew you had to do this much paperwork to deal with the insurance companies? Just a little overwhelmed, and taking these two projects off my plate is really doing to help.

Thanks for stopping by... the coffee is always on.

Monday, July 11, 2011


The post about our truck being stolen is starting to sound too whiney to me. In the grand scheme of human suffering, a stolen vehicle is pretty insignificant, plus I'm getting super discouraged trying to remember what all was in the truck and attempt to put a value on it, so I'm going to change gears and count my blessings for awhile. Here, in no particular order, are just a few of them:
  • Prosperity - We are prosperous enough to have just purchased a new pickup truck, plus afford to travel.

  • Family and friends - we wanted the crew cab pickup because of the new grandbaby we're expecting in August, plus all of the great friends we go road tripping with. Both wonderful blessings to be thankful for.

  • Memories - Yes, I may have lost my cameras and the pictures and video on the computer and other storage devices, but we have had a great time making all those memories those images represent. That doesn't go away with the loss of a device.

  • People - just one single person stole our vehicle, but we have met HUNDREDS of fantastic people on our travels, including this trip. From the homeowner whose house we had parked in front of, to the clerks at the hotel, the owner of the convenience store where our stolen credit card was used and the person who called to say they found our check books - everyone helped where they could and offered encouraging words to uplift our spirits. This includes all of my amazing friends in cyber space, some whom I've met in person and some not.

  • Technology - A large part of our losses were technology related, but thank goodness for technology - We had cell phones to call the police, insurance, banks and credit card companies; Google to find the phone numbers we needed; I've blogged and posted many pictures and videos on the Internet, so these memories are safe; thanks to the video cameras at the convenience store, we have a picture of the thief; borrowed computers make it possible to keep in touch online. It does make everything easier, and if we had had the right app installed on the phone that was stolen along with the truck, we probably would have located it by now!

  • Insurance - though it's a hassle to go through everything, we do have full coverage on the vehicle, plus homeowners insurance to cover our belongings. All in all, we aren't going to take much of a financial hit from the experience.

  • Each other - Relationships aren't just strengthened through the good times, but also how you pull together during the adversities. Standing together, we can get through anything, and this is a chance to help each other through a tough time.

The list could go on and on, and it's helpful just to begin thinking about everything that is good in our lives. Having gone through some of life's upheavals before, I know that the days go by and you just work through each challenge as it comes up. Pretty soon you emerge on the other side and you've survived!

What ever you're going through today - something much worse than this or just a bad day... count your blessings. You'll find that they are many!

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

An Unexpected End to Our Vacation

In this blog post I had expected to tell you about the wonderful time we had at the quirky Wayne Chicken Days, and how great The George's Bed and Breakfast in Dixon is. Unfortunately, we didn't get to experience either of those great Nebraska places.

We left the concert at the historic Sokol Auditorium on Thursday night flying high. The Tossers and the Dropkick Murphys had put on a great show, The Mister had experienced his first mosh pit and we had all come away relatively unscathed (why do 300 lb guys always mosh the most boisterously?), overall the crowd was extremely well behaved and it was a good time.

With everything we had to fit into our day on Thursday, we had arrived just as the local opener finished up their first song. The sold out concert was already pretty packed, and parking, already at a premium around the Sokol, was filled. We circled until we reached 16th Street and parked under a street lamp in front of a neat row of houses. It was quite a walk back to 13th, but not too bad as everyone we met was in a good mood anticipating a fun evening of music. There were kids playing in the front yards, and while definitely working-class and a little run down, we didn't think it was unsafe.

Imagine our surprise then, when rounding the corner of 16th at 11pm to find only a pile of broken window glass where we had parked the truck... Our brand new 2011 Ford F150 crew cab that The Mister had purchased less than a week previously, with right at 1000 miles on the odometer, I might add. Hoping that somehow we had overlooked the broken glass when we parked and that the Omaha Police had for some reason towed it, we began making phone calls.

No luck... No reports of towed vehicles. By 2 am, we had called our insurance agent (at home... Gotta love Nebraska), filled out the police report and taken a cab back to out hotel downtown. After a sleepless night, we started doing everything else that needed to be done. At thisnpoint, I should tell you that, because we were running late, we had only made a brief stop at the hotel on the way to the concert. A quick change of clothes and we had been on our way... We didn't unload ANYTHING from the truck... Canon SLR camera, Flip video camera, computer, external drive, a half-dozen USB drives, iPod with several dozen audio books and about 6000 songs, my purse, The Mister's wallet... Everything except our clothes had been left in the truck... Stupid us.

The Mister's cell phone and all of our chargers had also gone, and by this time there was no power left on mine. The front desk clerk at the downtown Econo Lodge was very helpful. He loaned us a charger, and when the computer in the business center didn't work properly, even loaned us his laptop. After googling all of the numbers we needed, we began making all the calls to cancel the various credit cards that had been stolen.

The U.S. Bank customer service representative told us that there had been an unsuccessful cash advance attempt at around 9 pm the previous evening, and was even able to give us the address of the ATM. I called the police with that information, but was told that the report wouldn't be available until Monday, so I should call back then. Dissatisfied with the delay, when our daughter arrived from Lincoln, we made our way to the convenience store. The ATM vendor happened to be servicing the machine while we were there and was able to provide us with the exact time of the failed transaction, and we watched as the owner pulled up all the images on the store's surveillance cameras. While we didn't see any sign of the truck, we did get to see the miscreant attempt to use our stolen cards. A quick trip to Walgreens for a USB and we now have our own copies of the video as well, for what it's worth.

A trip to Verizon to replace the stolen cell phone, arrangements to borrow a vehicle to get home, and now we wait... Wait for the truck to be found, wait for the auto and home insurance to kick in, wait for life to get back to normal. The Mister still isn't speaking to me any more than necessary, and has vowed never to travel again (I did point out that several years ago my brother had his truck stolen from his front yard right in Sutherland, but that didn't make him feel any better).

Ah well, not all learning experiences are pleasant.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Two Rivers State Recreation Area

THANK YOU to the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission which donated a two-night stay in a restored Union Pacific Caboose cabin at the Two Rivers SRA to the 2010 Nebraska Travel Conference in October last year. I was the high bidder, and we just enjoyed our stay there. Two Rivers is just about twenty minutes outside of Omaha, and only about 50 miles from Lincoln, so it’s convenient to everywhere. There are ten U.P. Caboose cabins, and a couple hundred camping spots on 644 acres of land, plus 320 acres of water in seven small lakes. One includes a swimming beach, and there’s even a dedicated trout fishing lake.

The Platte River borders the SRA on the west, and the Elkhorn on the east – hence the “two rivers”. We kayaked a couple of the lakes, but the water is so high and fast in the rivers that we didn’t attempt it. The Platte River might be high in our neck of the woods in western Nebraska, but nothing like this just a few miles before it dumps into the Missouri.

The Caboose cabins are totally cute. The historical integrity of the cabooses was retained in the process, including the steel grate platform (wear your sandals stepping out of the door in the morning!) and the 25” steel doors. The clearance above the rail is still the standard 30”, so they aren’t handicap accessible. Each has an attached deck with a picnic table, and there’s a charcoal grill and fire ring nearby. The fireflies and locusts were outdoing themselves with the light show and the serenade.

They are air conditioned and sleep six with two bunk beds in the back and a double bed in the cupola. This is where we slept, and it was all good except the trip down the ladder in the morning! If you stay here, just remember that it is simply a housekeeping cabin, so you have to bring everything you need – bedding, towels, cooking and eating utensils, lawn chairs, etc.

The steel exteriors of the cabooses block cell phone service inside the cabins, so any data, phone calls, messages have to be made from outside. Plus, your phone is going to be searching for signals the entire time you’re inside the cabin, so your battery is going to drain fast.

There is a great concessionaire on site, with cooked-to-order meals, and just about anything you might have forgotten in your trip planning.

You can make reservations 24/7 at www.outdoornebraska.org up to a year in advance for two-night stays. Walk-ins may be available for one night. You can also call 402-471-1414. They are also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/tworiverssra.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.