Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Road Trip through Nebraska's Heartland.

It's been a long, cold, windy winter. To say we are suffering from cabin fever would be an understatement! It's also been an extremely busy winter, with lots of travel for me, which hasn't left as much time as we would like for doing some fun travel adventures together. To remedy that, on a recent Saturday, we decided to take a road trip to Ord - of course, by the back roads. Here is a map of our route.
The back roads from Arnold to Callaway, then on to Broken Bow are filled with beautiful bluffs and scenic canyons surrounding fertile fields and pastures. This is a photo of one of the first bluffs we came to on that route.
Nebraska established a county-coding system for its passenger plates in 1922. These one- or two-digit prefixes were assigned based on the number of registered vehicles per county in that year. Custer County, though roughly the size of Lincoln County, is very rural. In 1922, the license plates for Custer County received a "4". Today the population of Custer County is 10,939, while Lincoln County ("15" by the 1922 numbering system) is 36,099, showing you the plight of our rural counties.

Custer County's former prosperity is seen by numerous abandoned homes.
And barns.
However - there is new construction, as can be seen in the wind turbines below. There is a large wind farm just north of Broken Bow. I know they are extremely controversial, but I don't mind them.
I think they add a stark beauty to the landscape. Maybe I would feel differently if was my view of my beloved Sandhills that was being covered with them.
I love the juxtaposition of the old and the new, and you see it a lot throughout the whole wind farm project.
Past Sargent, Nebraska, on the road to Ord is a beautiful rural church.
Another juxtaposition of the old and the new. Old barns nestled in among state-of-the-art grain storage bins.
South and east of Ord (still in Valley County) is the tiny community of Arcadia. When the congregation of their Congregational Church dwindled to almost nothing, the congregation voted to donate it to the community. It is now known as "The Gathering Place". How appropriate for a church building.
Further on the road, back into Custer County sits the community of Westerville, which is the oldest settlement in Custer County.
There's not much left in Westerville, except the opportunity for some great pictures.
Just east of Broken Bow, on our return trip, we found another sign of the times. We noticed it first by the smell. Though it was far away, it was quite unmistakable. This is a hog confinement operation, with the wind turbines of the wind farm in the background.
Three hundred miles and six hours later, we were back at home, with a greater appreciation of Nebraska's diverse scenery. We hope to make the trip again when we can do it more leisurely and it's a little greener.

ShareThis