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Old 02-16-2009, 11:06 AM
 
Location: Bennington NE
119 posts, read 385,795 times
Reputation: 70

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My fiance and I did this trip about a year ago and it was a lot of fun. Some of the highlights:

If you are into astronomy or just like to look at the night sky, camp in Nebraska National Forest near Halsey. There is a fire lookout tower with an amazing view in all directions (the tower was closed at the time due to out of date railings on the stairs) but the view from the top of the hill is very good. It is the darkest sky you will see in Nebraska. It is pretty awe-inspiring looking out over nothing but trees and hills as far as the eye can see, and not a road or light or city glow on the horizon.

Toadstool Park - you'll drive 15 miles on a gravel road and start to wonder if you are lost... and then you'll hit the badlands. Its very remote, only a handful of people were there at the time. We had to hurry up our hike due to an oncoming storm, and did not want to be caught in a flash flood!

Chimney Rock - we thought the visitor center was very well done and interesting. If you like history it is worth the admission.

Courthouse and Jail Rock - watch out for rattlesnakes, but don't be afraid to get out of the car to hike a bit closer for some great photos. We didn't see a single snake during our trip.

Windlass Hill (Ash Hollow) - this is a hill along the Oregon trail in which the settlers had to go down. To get an idea of how difficult it would be to navigate down the hill with animals and loaded wagons, try walking UP to the summit. Unless you are in excellent cardiovascular health, it will probably be a challenge as it is very steep (we had to stop several times to catch our breath) but the view is rewarding (not to mention working off all the travel snacks you consumed that day)

Fort Robinson - great facilities in this park, and no crowds like you have at Mahoney State Park. Take a horseback trail ride. We did the shorter one that stays on easier terrain, but I wish we had done the other. It was still very nice.

One place I wished we had time for was Scottsbluff Monument. I have a feeling I would have loved the scenery there.

Other pointers, like other said, avoid interstate, take scenic routes when you can. And keep your itenerary flexible so you can spend more time in places you end up loving.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:16 AM
 
Location: Grand Island, Nebraska
736 posts, read 1,663,742 times
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I would like to add, do not eat at any fast food joints, MCdon, BK's Wendy.

Try to only eat at local small town dinners and cafe's. You'll love what you find.
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Old 02-18-2009, 05:48 PM
 
Location: Papillion
2,585 posts, read 9,528,090 times
Reputation: 890
Quote:
Originally Posted by Happygolucky View Post
I would like to add, do not eat at any fast food joints, MCdon, BK's Wendy.

Try to only eat at local small town dinners and cafe's. You'll love what you find.
Stop and eat at the RangeLand cafe in Bassett... food is nothing special, but the place has not changed since 1950 - literally... I remember as a kid we'd go in there and just recently have been back a few times - nothing changed! I still love the large picture of the cattle.
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Old 02-18-2009, 09:40 PM
 
Location: Grand Island, Nebraska
736 posts, read 1,663,742 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave1215 View Post
Stop and eat at the RangeLand cafe in Bassett... food is nothing special, but the place has not changed since 1950 - literally... I remember as a kid we'd go in there and just recently have been back a few times - nothing changed! I still love the large picture of the cattle.
Yes that place is great make sure you go through the lobby of the Hotel
and look at all the artifacts.

They have the best Hot roast beef sandwich, with mashed potatoes and the gravy smooooothered all over the top.

be sure to bring a pocket knife and go down stairs to the restroom and carve you name in the door of one of the stalls.

It's a Nebraska tradition!!!
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Old 02-19-2009, 10:09 PM
 
Location: Sandhills
2,177 posts, read 3,168,635 times
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I spent many a night in the hotel years ago in when stranded in town due to weather.
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Old 02-24-2009, 02:47 PM
 
Location: Northeast Nebraska
9 posts, read 21,998 times
Reputation: 13
You could camp at Fritz Campground in Sparks, NE near Valentine. They have a shuttle that takes you to the top of the river and you tube all the way back to your campground. It's beautiful.
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Old 02-24-2009, 06:31 PM
 
Location: Nebraska
4,231 posts, read 7,242,465 times
Reputation: 6680
You might want to check out NEBRASKA LIFE and NEBRASKALAND magazines for advertisements for B&B's. Some of the larger cities in the state may have back issues in their archives you could read through. A good online source for information might be the Nebraska Game & Parks Commission website.

GL2
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Old 03-04-2009, 08:35 AM
 
Location: Omaha, NE
193 posts, read 590,297 times
Reputation: 58
Wow, thanks again for all of your help! I'll definitely have this thread available when I get into more detailed planning. Thanks again!
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Old 03-04-2009, 01:18 PM
 
Location: Omaha
481 posts, read 1,150,522 times
Reputation: 211
Two things that I try to hit every time I head out west are Ollies in Paxton and Pioneer Village.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:53 PM
 
Location: Papillion
2,585 posts, read 9,528,090 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by laserdisque View Post
Two things that I try to hit every time I head out west are Ollies in Paxton and Pioneer Village.
Agree, and I add Chimney Rock to it - not a lot to see, but go thru the little visitor center and read some of the stories, really helps get a little insight to what it took to move west and what that little rock meant.
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