The excitement is building and you can feel it in the air. Anticipation is great for the total solar eclipse on August 21, 2017 and accompanying events. The path of totality crosses directly over a large portion of Nebraska Highway 2 and we could not be more excited for the visitors, the communities and the huge economic boost it will give our State of Nebraska.
In Ravenna, Nebraska, the totality is predicted to last 2 minutes and 38 seconds!!! The community of Ravenna, Nebraska has partnered with Kearney, Nebraska which will help with lodging and food. Most, if not all, motels and camping spots are already full but please contact the Visitors Bureau in Grand Island or Kearney or Broken Bow and they will try and help you find some place to stay. In the Grand Island and Ravenna areas, you can visit the website for more information at https://solareclipseravenna.com/. This is going to be a once in a lifetime event and the place to be a part of it is here!
Protection for your eyes is EXTREMELY IMPORTANT! Many businesses are selling the special glasses for as little as $2.00 a pair. Beware of fakes which will not offer the eye protection you will need. Looking directly at the sun can cause blindness spots on your eyes’ retinas which is not repairable. Please be especially vigilant with children and make sure they keep the glasses on while looking at the sun. The glasses can be removed during totality but that lasts only a short while (up to 2 minutes and 38 seconds) and the glasses should be put back on once the totality is complete and the partial eclipse resumes.
We are very excited for this big event and hope you will come and enjoy it with us!!!
My intent that Friday was to drive west on Nebraska Highway 2 to Broken Bow and take some good pictures to include on the webpage, www.nebraskahighway2.com/BrokenBow. Because there are small towns between Grand Island and Broken Bow I have to convince myself not to stop at any of them before getting to Broken Bow or I would lose my focus and time. It was overcast and raining when I started out and cloudy, grey skies are not what I wanted for my pictures representing Broken Bow. The earlier weather forcast and the skies told me that the storm would be moving out of the area at some point so knowing I had a bit of a delay, I drove right through Broken Bow and headed for Halsey National Forest so I could purchase a lifetime National Park Senior Pass before the price goes up this Fall.
Once at the forest, I spent some time in the Ranger’s office chatting with a knowledgeable ranger (whose name I did not remember… sorry fella) who answered my questions with relish. I found I should leave some www.nebraskahighway2.com information pamphlets there for travelers to pick up to learn what is available to them along the highway. I did spend a little time enjoying the forest and then was on my way back east towards Broken Bow and the clearing skies. But those small towns just draw me in and the next thing I know is I am turning into Dunning, Nebraska with thoughts of what I would create for the webpage for Dunning. I have visited the Sinclair Station at Dunning, many times before over the years (it is right along Nebraska Highway 2) and admired and purchased some of the pottery that is sold there. The pottery is created locally by Marlene Van Diest of Sandhills Pottery and each piece I viewed was unique.
I drove down main street Dunning and parked and decided to photograph some of the interesting buildings.
I spotted the Sandhills Heritage Museum which was open so I stepped in. The Sandhills Heritage Museum is located in an old bank building right on the main street of Dunning. And yes, that is a hitching post in front of the museum. It is a snapshot of life in the area and holds some interesting and surprising items from the Sandhills life from years gone by. The days and hours are Thursday, Friday and Saturday 10:00-12:00 and 1:00-4:00. It can be opened anytime by request and availability of board members.
Weather is a big BIG deal here in the midwest part of the United States. Here in Nebraska there are miles of open roadways that offer little to no protection from hail, wind, blazing sun or blizzards. In other words, know what to expect on your travels along Nebraska Highway 2 and be prepared!
Gas stations, motels and restaurants are also scarce in some parts of the State of Nebraska so prepare before you go! Our website www.nebraskahighway2.com offers you the information you will need before beginning your travels. The weather will be accessible on each community page. Each community page will offer information on motels, restaurants and fuel. Many communities also have auto repair shops, hardware stores, grocery stores and medical clinics. But not all of them do. And it can be a very long stretch between communities. Plan your drive!
April – beautiful month of early Spring and the welcome return of birds and flowers and leaves on trees. Motivation and new energies coming at us from all directions.
www.nebraskahighway2.com is undergoing a complete redesign of the website. We are making the website semantically correct — to aid those with visual disabilities and also making it responsive. Those visiting and traveling the highway and exploring the communities are relying on their smart phones and tablets for information on events and ammenities. Will they find you?
We are also updating the Farmer’s Markets page so the information is accurate and up to date. In anticipation of the thousands of visitors that Nebraska will play host to this August alone for the total solar eclipse and that huge economic stimulator we want your business to be found. The total solar eclipse alone will bring hundreds if not thousands of dollars into our communities and our businesses need to make the very most of it!
We are working towards the date of June 1st for our total renovation to be up and live including the webpages for the communities of Broken Bow and Lincoln! A big order but well worth the investment. Speaking of investments, will your business be found on the internet by visitors this summer? Place an ad on www.nebraskahighway2.com and reap the rewards of having an ad accessible 24 hours everyday by anyone in the world!
The weather in Nebraska is always varied. The saying “if you don’t like the weather just a wait a few days” is well known around our State. This week – In FEBRUARY – we are enjoying warm, sunny 70 degree temperatures. And in two days we will have a winter storm watch bringing a possible foot of snow for the northern and western sections of our State. What? Yes, say the weather predictors. Oh, okay.
I have been attending the Nebraska Agri-Tourism Conference in beautiful Broken Bow, Nebraska this week. Yesterday, we traveled a few miles out of Broken Bow into the Sandhills and visited the Kinkaiders Brewery. What a lovely day it was. The business owners shared their stories of how they came to start their business, the support from the community they received and their hopes for the future of their business. We then broke into groups and toured the buildings and the taproom and enjoyed a cool beverage outside on the deck.
Supper was deliciously provided by Kinkaider’s restaurant chef, MIchelle Paris, a longtime chef from Portland, Oregon.
The first day of the Nebraska Agri-Tourism Conference was full of information, lots of laughs, great food and drink and the opportunity to meet many new and familiar faces from around our State. Looking forward to today’s full schedule!
January 2017 is almost behind us in the rear view mirror. Closer and closer to Spring we are coming. I am beginning to shake off the lethargy of winter and its grey, cold days and dream of new, young green sprouts poking up from newly turned earth. Green buds on the trees and the early flowers; tulips, crocus, daffodils. The Sandhill cranes and snow geese will be circling overhead their distinctive cries filling the skies as they make their way home northbound.
The Crane Center near Alda, Nebraska is just a very short way from Nebraska Highway 2 as it passes through Grand Island, Nebraska. The Center offers early morning and early evening viewing but you need to reserve a place soon as they sell out quickly. The experience of the thousands of cranes in the Platte River and flying overhead is something that will stir your inner soul and will leave your spirit forever changed. Find it on the internet here: https://cranetrust.org.
There was a time when I was an absolute news junky. Read newspapers, listened to morning and evening news shows… no longer. Now I want to shut out the nonsense, the ugliness, the tradgedies happening here at home and abroad. The best way to do this? Get out there on the highway and drive. My favorite drive is on Nebraska highway 2 of course. Westward bound. Up to Halsey National Forest. On to Mullen. Maybe out to Crawford and the beauty of the Pine Ridge area of Northwest Nebraska. Open spaces. Big skies. The feeling that you can go forever into solitude and nature. And escape the noise of the civilized world that’s not so civil these days. How about you? Where is your favorite drive?
It seems looking back that Nebraska highway 2 has been my mother… she raised me… sent me soaring to the faraway horizons…
We grew up not far from the farmer immigrant germans who settled near the mighty Missouri river where the roads rolled up and down over hill after hill. Our lives were in the city but our center was a small town in southeast Nebraska and we traveled that highway 2 almost every weekend. We were going “downhome” as my father said. Downhome was a small farm on the outskirts of a small town. We could walk into town as we grew old enough. Grampa was the town barber and for a few years he and Gramma owned and operated the town hatchery and the town Variety store. We also rode our bikes back and forth from the farm to town when we were permitted. There were no worries about child kidnappings or busy roads. We enjoyed a freedom children today have no idea of. Even the city life we lived was one without fear. Playing outside after dark, taking the bus downtown alone, walking or riding our bicycles anywhere in the neighborhood. Now, we keep a close eye on our children at all times, accompanying them on their neighborhood journeys, having them check in consistently, it is a different world then what we grew up in.
Family vacation times are important for ourselves and our children. Exploring our home state or traveling to places farther away, experiencing new horizons and meeting the great people living in the small communities is so important in developing a sense of place for our families. The world is out there to be explored and for memories to be made to take back home and relived.
Each of the communities along Nebraska Highway 2 are planning events for you to share in. Visit the community pages on www.nebraskahighway2.com to help you plan your travels along the highway and make some memories!
Things have changed. That seems an obvious statement but really, things have changed. In the past it was expected that once the farmer’s child graduated from high school they went on to college or university and settled in a large town or city to make their way. Few returned to the farm or small town where they were raised. There weren’t enough opportunities to make a living for themselves and their young families. But now! There are so many opportunities to work from home via the internet and to live in rural areas and on farms or ranches. And where there are young families there are opportunities for other businesses to grow and thrive to meet the needs and wants of these young families. Have you considered moving to a small community. A peaceful, clean, community focused home town? And just why not?
The summer has whispered good-bye and brilliant golden October is upon us. I hope you took the opportunity to travel our place in the world, so much to see and so many people to meet here in Nebraska.
The weekend of October 16th through the 18th will be the annual Sandhills Journey Byway “Follow the Rails Art Trail”. Visit the website at http://followtherailsarttrail.com. Meet artists and the communities that support them. The weather looks promising and will be a work of art itself.