Nebraska Highway 2 is my favorite highway. The best stretch crosses from Grand Island to Alliance, traversing the Nebraska Sandhills, a rich grassland of rolling stabilized sand dunes and huge vistas. This is Nebraska’s beef growing region, and the cow population more than exceeds the humans.
Highway 2 is “the road less travelled” through Nebraska, one that people who fly over the state or cross on I-80 miss. This isn’t a flat state! I-80 follows the path of least resistance, the Platte River flood plain. Of course it’s flattish!
Not Highway 2. It winds, twists, climbs, disappears in the distance, reappears magically and without warning.
Along this highway are hamlets, small towns, small cities. People here wear a cowboy hat because, well, they are cowboys and ranchers! They probably use an ATV or small plane to manage their chores these days instead of a horse, but there are many ranchers, still, who rely on this basic tool of the trade. Nothing like a good cow pony to sort and separate cows from calves for branding!
This is the eastern end of the West, if you will, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
Please note that this is the section of Nebraska that includes the route of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline to transport Alberta tar sand oil to refineries in Texas for refining to sell to foreign markets. The Ogallala Aquifer is beneath the Sandhills, and is the source of water much of Nebraska for agriculture, industry, and people in this state, and the Great Plains. There are people in this state – running this state – who kiss Koch butt and want to risk contamination of this irreplaceable water resource. Oh, have you guessed I don’t support the pipeline?! If you want to see the other side of the story, it’s out there, just not here.