How It's Done

A lot of our friends and family think we are crazy for hosting Couch Surfers. To them, it's a foreign concept to open your home to strangers traveling across the country. For the Nebraska Outback household, it's as natural as having our kids come home for the weekend (and sometimes a lot less work!

Many of the people who stay at our home are young people. Students traveling home from school or to an internship, volunteers for AmeriCorps and other service organizations, and even adventurers just on a walkabout. But every now and then, we host people who are able to spend a couple of days and get to know the area. Such were our guests this weekend, from Belgium.

Their goal is to sleep in each one of the lower 48 U.S. states. After this trip their count will be at 32. They arrived late Saturday afternoon and our adventures began with a steak dinner at Ole's in Paxton, followed by a cheesecake and glass of wine at 5 Trails Winery.

Their timing was perfect because our Lincoln County Historical Museum opened for the season on May 1, so we got to enjoy that as well.
Many European visitors aren't nearly as impressed with the story of the North Platte Canteen as we Americans are - their WWII hardships far outweigh ours, but I swear I saw a tear in Anne's eye as she read the story of the Bultophs (I might share that story with you some day. If you can't wait, go check out the Nebraska Public Television film "The Canteen Spirit").
There are a lot of great displays at the Lincoln County Historical Museum, including this one which is the historic Brady Union Pacific Railroad depot. Here Anne poses for a photograph waiting for a train.

From there it was on to the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center where Anne placed a sticker on the map, which pretty much covered the entire country of Belgium.

They lucked out again on their timing, as it was the annual Community Day and admission was free! I heard later that more than 1200 people attended the Community Day. It is great to know that so many had the chance to experience this wonderful attraction. The Mister spoke to a lot of people he knew - railroaders who were taking advantage of the free day to show their families where they work.

The eighth floor is great, being fully enclosed, but in my opinion, the best experience is the 7th floor, which is open air and you can hear the rumble of the locomotives, the squeal of the retarders and the clang of the freight cars crashing together.

Then it was off to the Sandhills! We headed up Highway 83, then took the left "fork in the road" to Tryon. From there we headed west on Highway 92 before turning back south on the dirt road through Tin Camp. Things aren't very green yet, but it was wonderful to be on a road trip to the Sandhills again.

Heading into my grandparents homestead, the cows have been returned to the pasture so opening and closing gates is a must. Poor Anne learned that the passenger gets the gates, and she was game, so she gave it her best shot. With a little instruction from The Mister, she opened and closed the next one with ease.

Rain showers were forming all around on our trip home. Honest, there is a rainbow in the picture below even though it is very faint.

Down on the Birdwood, we saw another of the many flocks of Turkeys that crossed our path this day. I would have thought this late in the spring hunting season that they would be a little more spooky, but they just went on about their business.

Do we know how to show folks a good time or what? I can attest to the fact that WE had a good time, whether or not our guests did, but at least they're leaving with a little more understanding of Nebraska, the Great Plains and the Sandhills.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.


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