We are 2 days away from Kansas City in the very little town of Waco, Nebraska, having driven from South Dakota to North Platte, NE. On our way we drove through about 100 miles of Nebraska Sand Hills. This phenomenal land formation covers over 1/3 of the state. These are hills covered with prairie grasses that sit on top of shallow lakes. It is like the land has a water table of 3 feet. There is water everywhere. It is not ecologically suited for cultivation, only for cattle grazing. There are lots of black angus herds happily grazing these hills.
We were planning on just staying overnight in North Platte when we looked at all the neat sights to see beginning with the largest railroad yard in the United States, the Union Pacific Bailey Yard.
This yard has 315 miles of tracks, is 8 miles long, and handles 12,000 railroad cars daily. It builds 125 trains every day that average 110 cars each. We watched this panorama for over an hour; it almost looked like a toy train set, but it was real.
We tore ourselves away because there was more to see in North Platte. Next we went to the recommended Lincoln Co. Historical Museum and WWII Canteen Exhibit. We knew there had been lots of rain in this part of the country, but this was the first time we’ve experienced the sandbagging.
Even all the displays were up on blocks of concrete. They think they still might flood and the sandbags will be in place through the summer. Not since 1972 have they had this much rain and flooding.
I found most interesting exhibit was the WWII Canteen Exhibit. From 1942 to 1945 the people of North Platte volunteered time, money, baked goods and lots of food to 6,000 soldiers every day as they went to war on troop trains that stopped for only 10 minutes in North Platte. Sixty years later many returned for a reunion. Seeing a movie of these soldiers recalling how important those 10 minutes were brought tears to our eyes. Everything was free to the soldiers: coffee, sandwiches on home made bread, cookies, donuts, and even 20 birthday cakes were given away a day just because it was important to make these men and women going to war feel important (even if it wasn’t their birthday).
This was a drainage ditch plow used to move water from the Platte River to water the crops then when floods came the drainage ditches moved the water back to the river. It took 30 head of oxen to pull this.
We went to the Cody Park to get ice cream cones and do some people watching. Nebraska people watching is the best. Then we went to see the Challenger, the largest unarticulated steam engine Alco ever built. Why? Because there was a cache within 100 feet AND because we love trains.
We saw lots of swollen rivers, streams and canals. We were parked right next to the South Platte River which was not overflowing its banks. Even so it was very full.
This is the driveway leaving our RV park, Lakeside RV Park. It was a very nice PassPort America park and we will go back.
As we left this morning our destination was Waco, NE, but on the way we wanted to stop at the Buffalo Co. Fairgrounds in Kearney, NE. Remember this was where the tornado destroyed the Exposition Center only 3 days after we were thinking we were cozy and safe inside.
Then the tornado did this.
We have checked on the rebuilding progress as we have passed through Kearney for the past couple of years.
So when we came through Kearney and were shown the rebuilt Exposition Center by Margaret, the Buffalo Fair Office Manager, we were so impressed. What a grand job they have done in providing this community with a beautiful and huge multi-purpose Center.
This long exhibit area is where our RV was parked in 2008. Looking out these windows is the same view we saw out the big roll-up door. What a difference 3 years makes.
We are now settled in the friendly PassPort America RV Park, Double Nickels in Waco. Although the reviews of this park were not complementary, we found the staff, grounds, and price ($14.92 inc. tax) just perfect.
Maybe we’ll be On the road again, caching places that we’ve never been…. or ….. maybe not…. tune in.