Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Trip from Kearney

The trip from Kearney, NE, to North Platte was quiet and unremarkable. Rather than taking I-80, we followed the parallel and older US 30 through the small towns. It was only as we began coming into North Platte that we almost became part of a parade. This was the closing weekend of Nebraskaland Days, and the big parade was due to start in two hours, right along the route we followed into town. Folks had already set up their lawn chairs and taken their places on the curb. We felt like we should be waving and throwing out candy.
North Platte is proud of its heritage, both old west and railroad. (Remember, to see pictures in a larger size, left-click the picture once. Then to come back, click the "Back" or left arrow at the top of your screen.)
North Platte was the home of Buffalo Bill Cody, or at least for part of his life. He came to Nebraska in 1869 at the age of 23 as a guide and scout for the Cavalry. He went on stage in 1872 and formed his first “Wild West” show in 1883.
Scouts Rest Ranch and home were built for Buffalo Bill in 1886 as a place to rest and relax between show tours. Scouts Rest is now a tourist attraction. We didn’t take the tour.

North Platte is also home to Bailey Yard, the world’s largest railroad classifica-tion yard. The yard covers 2,850 acres and sorts 3.000 rail cars each day. There are 16 receiving tracks and 18 departure tracks.

The Union Pacific has one of its largest repair facilities here, with space to house 3 football fields.

The newest attraction here is the Golden Spike Tower, alongside Bailey Yard. The Tower was opened just a week before our visit, and everything was brand spanking new. The tower was originally intended to be 15 stories tall, but at 8 stories it’s tall enough to provide an amazing 360 degree view of the yard and the surrounding plains.

The tower was named Golden Spike Tower because it was designed to look like a huge railroad spike.

These last several days, ever since we got into Kansas, have had beautiful weather most of the time. The nights have been just right for sleeping, with open windows and a small fan. We certainly sympathize with folks on the west coast with all the heat, and the terrible fires. We’ll be moving soon into South Dakota (4th of July week at Sturgis). We’ve been in South Dakota in summer before, with both rain and heat. On our first visit to Mount Rushmore, it was raining and the four presidents looked as if they had been weeping.

Now we’re in Valentine, Nebraska. We’ll tell you about it next visit along … Our Life on Wheels.


  1. Jerry and Suzy - I very much enjoyed your description of your visit to North Platte and your wonderful pictures! Have a safe journey.

  2. There is a very good collection of 'stuff' at Pioneer Village in Minden, NE near Kearney. The collection shows how various things in our lives have 'progressed' over the years. Pioneer Village also has a RV Park and motel which makes it a good stopping point in western NE.


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