Thursday, July 13, 2017

Say Hello To The Byway

^ The sand hill country of Nebraska has an other-worldly beauty. 
I feel like I was moving through a sea of pale green waves. 

If you've ever considered traveling through Nebraska - and really, you should - please do yourself a favor and take US Highway 20.

Oh sure, you can opt for Interstate 80 that bombs east and west along its concrete corridor in the lower part of the state. But Route 20 is the road less traveled and all the more glorious for its isolation.

^ In our family's childhood tradition, cows are horses and horses are cows. 
This is definitely a field full of open range horses. 

We picked her up westbound in Iowa, just north of Des Moines, and enjoyed a day of rambling through small towns, grain elevators, and cornfields. But the real fun began on a stretch of the road in the northwest Nebraska panhandle that goes by the fancy moniker of Bridges to Buttes Byway.

Now, truth be told, I slept through the scenic bridges. I woke up as we rolled through the eastern end of the byway near Valentine, and later my husband reported to me with unaccustomed enthusiasm the gorgeous structures I'd missed during my nap.

Sigh.

^ There are a few signs of human existence in this gorgeous corner of the world. Very few.
And in their rarity, they take on a new shade of beauty. 

But the next six hours redeemed my losses as a wild landscape of sand hills, pine ridges, and rocky buttes passed before my eyes like a dream. Underneath a huge blue sky full of rolling clouds, this place shone like an unassuming jewel. Antelope bounded through the open range, old school windmills spun in the snapping breeze, and time stood still.

My pictures don't do it justice. And honestly, I was so caught up in the kaleidoscope of ever-changing sights that I didn't really try. My whole brain was focused on soaking up the entire experience, rather than slicing individual images to examine later.

^ Taking photos through the windshield is never a good idea. 
But I could not resist a capture of this adorable tree. 

So let these few photographs serve not as a travelogue but simply a temptation.

Come to northwest Nebraska and see this amazing place for yourself.

P.S. If you like to drive fast, the Bridges to Buttes Byway is a dream. Two straight lines of clean, smooth pavement and next to no traffic. Even in my clunky U-Haul van, I took it at 75 mph all day long.

* * * * *

A summer road trip across America - read more:

Off Again

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