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Cowboy Trail Tour Itinerary

The view from the bridge over Long Pine Creek.

Our tour is only 9 days away! For those joining us, we hope your training is going well and that you’re getting things together for this adventure. Jamie and I scouted out the trail on Monday, and we’re so glad we did because we’ve made one change: we are no longer stopping at Plum Creek Valley Wildlife Management Area on May 22. We found Plum Creek to be inadequate for camping, and it’s also difficult to get to by bike. Instead, we will bike to the town of Wood Lake, which has camping, water and food. This will also help make our last day shorter. Guided hike at Plum Creek WMA is cancelled; Project Wild activity will be available at Wood Lake city park on May 22.

For those interested in riding with us, meet us at Ta-Ha-Zouka Park in Norfolk at 8:00 AM on May 17. Send me an email at jenny.nguyen@nebraska.gov to let us know that we can expect you. Or give me a call at 402-992-0731.

Things to bring besides bike and camping gear: breakfasts, backup dinners (like freeze-dried backpacking food), snacks and energy bars, cathole trowel for places with no restrooms, toilet paper, portable camping stove, first-aid kit, pocket knife, flashlight/headlamp, batteries, enough water bottles and bladders (important!), cash for places in town that do not take credit cards, chamois butter to reduce saddle sores, sunscreen, rain gear, extra footwear for relaxing at camp.

May 17 (Saturday)Norfolk (Ta-Ha-Zouka Park) to Neligh35.8 miles total
– Rest stop in Battle Creek (10.5 miles from Norfolk), gas station available for water and snacks
Meadow Grove (7.5 miles from Battle Creek) – water available at gas station, if necessary
– Rest stop in Tilden – PDQ gas station (5.5 miles from Meadow Grove)
– Have lunch in Neligh (12.3 miles from Tilden) – Food: El Vallarta Mexican Restaurant, Daddy’s Country Cafe, White Spot Bar, Subway, Pizza Hut; Attractions: movie theater, Antelope County Museum, Neligh Mills Historical;  Other amenities: gas station, showers at park, library
– Camp at Neligh city park – showers, restrooms available

May 18 (Sunday)Neligh to O’Neill (Carney Park)- 40.7 miles total
– Bike to Red-Wing WMA (5 miles from Neligh) for a Project Wild event at 9:00 AM, then back on the road
-Rest stop in Clearwater (4.7 miles from Red-Wing WMA) – stock up on water and snacks at Shell Gas Station. Hop on Highway 20 after Clearwater because one of the bridges is broken.
Ewing (10.3 miles from Clearwater) – Dw’s Pub (111 Nebraska St.), library, city park, West End Mini Mart and Gas Station west of town
– Stock up on water in Ewing because there are no stores in Inman (12.9 miles from Ewing)
– Camp at Carney Park in O’Neill (7.8 miles from Inman) – showers, picnic tables, water, electric pads. Have lunch and dinner in town. Info: http://www.cityofoneill.com/carneypark.htm

May 19 (Monday)O’Neill (Carney Park) to Stuart28.6 miles total
– Stock up on water and snacks in O’Neill because there are no stores in Emmet (8.6 miles)
– Rest stop in Atkinson (10 miles from Emmet) – Stock up on water at First Stop Gas Station; Food: Michelle’s Restaurant and Lounge, Bakery and Deli, 2 grocery stores, library. Note: turn left on State Street to get into town
– Stop in Stuart (10 miles from Atkinson)- camp at city park (includes RV hookups), or stay at Sister’s House Bed and Breakfast (412 Garfield) (http://www.thesistershouse.com/) or Village Inn. Food: Central Grill and Bar, Cast Iron Bar and Grill, The Pit Stop Gas Station; Attractions: White House Heritage Village Museum, Murphy Theater and Media Center

May 20 (Tuesday) Stuart to Long Pine (Long Pine State Recreation Area) – 33 miles total
– Stock up on water in Stuart because Newport doesn’t have any (10.2 miles from Stuart)
– Rest stop in Bassett (11.4 miles from Newport) – Shell Gas Station; Food: The Basset Lodge Restaurant, Allen’s Pizza Place
– Go grocery shopping in the city of Long Pine for two-day camp at the State Recreation Area. (9.2 miles from Bassett) – Food: Anderson Market, Smoky’s Bar and Grill. Lodging: The Pines Resort.
– Travel north on Main Street from the trail then turn left on the road by “The Pines” sign to get to Long Pine SRA via blacktop road- hilly and steep here (2.1 miles from town) – pit toilets, no electric hook-ups

May 21 (Wednesday) – Camp at Long Pine a second night (no travel)
– Fishing and Dutch-oven demonstration at nearby Keller SRA from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. (OPEN TO THE PUBLIC- gear will be provided) – will have a van to shuttle cyclists from Long Pine SRA

May 22 (Thursday) – Long Pine SRA to Wood Lake – 30 miles total
– Rest stop in Ainsworth (8.7 miles from Long Pine SRA) – stock up on food and water. Note: exit on Pine Street to get into town from trail.
– Rest stop in Johnstown (10.3 miles from Ainsworth) – there may or may not be food, depending on whether the L-Bow Bar and Saloon is open.
– Camp at Wood Lake (10.7 miles from Johnstown) – Camp at city park (electric hookups available); Cafe will be open for food and water; Grandma’s Playhouse and Ice Cream Shop (hours unknown)

May 23 (Friday and LAST DAY!!!) – Wood Lake to Valentine – 26 miles total
– Breakfast at Wood Lake cafe. Stock up on water– there is no water between Wood Lake and Valentine.
– Get in a few pictures at the end of the trail in Valentine, have a bite to eat in town, hugs and head home (please arrange your own transportation back from Valentine)

About Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley

NEBRASKAland Associate Editor Jenny Nguyen-Wheatley was born in Nha Trang, Vietnam, and moved to the United States with her parents in 1992. She graduated from Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove, California, in 2008 and completed her bachelor’s degree at UCLA in 2012. Wheatley was editor-in-chief for her high school newspaper and continued to write in college, freelancing for various publications, the Tiger Woods Foundation and writing for her blog FoodForHunters.com. After graduating college, she moved to Nebraska in early 2013 to join the Commission as Regional Editor at NEBRASKAland Magazine. She then became associate editor in 2015. Wheatley enjoys hiking, camping, horseback riding, hunting, fishing and wild game cooking.

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