>Why North Platte?

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No point in spending idle hours in Denver when we have many miles to go till John’s next reading in Minneapolis, May 31. That’s what I was thinking when I planned this trip way back in April, and I’m glad since Denver seems hot after all the cool weather and it’s good to wake up in North Platte, 4 hours further down the road-in Nebraska! John runs and I take a walk along the Platte, right by our hotel.


Walking across the bridge we disturb a giant flock of swallows. Somehow the camera can’t pick them up. Can you tell it’s already getting hot here, and it’s windy? We’ve been following the terrible tornadoes east of us in Missouri and we are impressed to find this laminated card in our hotel room:TORNADO WATCH AND WARNING PROCEDURES


The day is hot and already windy. We hear that Omaha, our destination for today, may receive the tail end of storms headed for Minnesota. We’ll keep an eye out and listen to the radio if the sky turns strange. We travel on old Rte 30 through North Platte.



This is a road whose time is past , and we are driving to the past, to visit Scout’s Rest Ranch, the home of a great figure from the past, Buffalo Bill Cody.



This is where Buffalo Bill came home to when he was on the road. It’s a wonderful house, perfectly maintained, with a great collection of memorabilia. I am going to give you a quick tour of the rooms.


On the first floor, there’s Bill himself in the parlor by the dining room, and the kitchen below with all the modern conveniences- for 1866.


The wallpaper is cowboy motif (of course) and you see it here by the finial of a most beautiful wood stove.


And of course the parlor has a piano.


Bill and his wife Louisa Federici had three daughters and one son and many visitors came to stay, so the house is big with many bedrooms.




There is a warren of rooms filled with artifacts from Cody’s great career.




This card is about the horse who belonged to Sitting Bull. Worth reading if you click on it to enlarge. The house and 4000 acres plus barns and stables for 150 horses were assembled when Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show was the rage and Cody was making money.




How do you spell “corral”?


With John Sayles for scale, imagine the size of this buffalo when he was in his skin. The museum does present facts concerning the appalling slaughter of the buffalo.


And this wooden gadget, on a replica of a Mormon horse drawn wagon, is a kind of odometer to measure the many miles travelled. Way easier in the Prius.


I didn’t know Annie Oakley was beautiful.


I wish I had been alive to see Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show. The grounds are beautifully maintained.


The elderly volunteer in the barn is welcoming and informative when we ask her questions. The guide in the house is no guide at all. My hat is off to the State Parks of Nebraska for maintaining this wonderful property to such a high standard, but a great museum is interpreted and the Buffalo Bill State Historical Park is hardly interpreted at all.


We drive back through the town of North Platte, right past silos of grain. Wheat?


Cross the river again and we are on our way across Nebraska. Oregon Trail

We stop for the snack we have been learning about at Runza in Kearney.



It’s a stuffed sandwich of spiced meat with optional mushrooms, possibly Czech in origin. Too cheesy and salty but worth trying. Really strong, hot wind and it takes a little muscle to keep the car on the road all the way to Omaha where we arrive in mid-afternoon.




We are glad to be out of the car and settle in happily to the Magnolia Hotel, downtown Omaha, with time to catch up. Pictures of the Magnolia to come.

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