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.
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.
The new beginnings of the year 2015 resonate with positive feelings and great hope of what is to come. No resolutions this year only a more enlightened way of thinking and dreaming of traveling the roads of Nebraska. When the roads are clear and free of ice. I am thinking a lot about the weather and those travelers on the roads that will be controlled by it. I hope everyone checks the different weather forecast sources and looks ahead to their travel ways and how it will intersect with wintery mother nature.
We had our own encounter with wintery mother nature last weekend when what usually is an hour and 1/2 drive turned into an overnight stay only 40 miles from our home. I did not check the weather forecast, only the darkening skies, and we headed out into the dry late afternoon. Soon there were little drops of moisture on the windshield and the drivers on the opposite side of the interstate were creeping along at a very slow pace. Soon an suv pulled up on our left to pass and then —- zing!!! across the road right in front of us and off to our right he or she slid……. made me think of the Wizard of Oz and the house inside the tornado and different creatures flitting by. Then a second vehicle… only this one spun around and was facing us and then … zing… off the side of the road he (or she) went. Thankfully the cooler headed driver was at the wheel and we were able to creep to the next off-ramp which happened to be a town with motels and such. We crept crept crept off the road and slid against the curbs like a pong game. I YELPED and found a motel directly across the road from where we were and yes they did take dogs… We were landed for the night.