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Back Roads

I bristle when someone refers to Nebraska as a “mid-western” state.

We are not “mid-western”.  We are Great Plains.

Mid-western states are to the east of us.  Frankly, I have not seen much in most of them with which I would like to associate.

Things are different once you get west of the Missouri.  Things are different once you advance west across Nebraska–the land, the sky, the sunrises and sunsets, the people.

I was reminded about this again last week.  My wife and I spent some time “out west”.  When we do that, and it is time to go back to our current residence, back to headquarters in Lincoln, we are never in a hurry.  Western parts of Nebraska are home, and we linger as long as we can.  I have lots of “scenic drives” I like to take on the way home, and have bragged that I can find my way all around Nebraska on county roads.  On this trip, we drove backroads for about a third of the way home.  Yep, we bounced along on wash-board gravel roads, mile after mile, for a couple of hours or more.

It was great.

We saw thousands of square miles of native prairie, sandhills, the heart of Nebraska.  We saw wetlands, lakes, rivers and streams.  We saw grasses, gnarly old cottonwoods, cedar tree windbreaks, willows, dried goldenrod, and soapweeds.  We saw ducks and geese, swans, deer, pheasants, grouse, turkeys, and a variety of other wildlife too numerous to mention.  We breathed clean air without a stupid mask, felt the warm sun from low on the horizon.

Our souls were restored.

I have shared this song on my blog before; do not care, I am going to share it again.  I have not been able to get it out of my head the past few days.

I am afraid too many Nebraskans know nothing about it:

And, I am afraid too many Nebraskans have not spent enough time on back roads to know what it means.

Have a great weekend.  Find a back road and go for a drive!


About daryl bauer

Daryl is a lifelong resident of Nebraska (except for a couple of years spent going to graduate school in South Dakota). He has been employed as a fisheries biologist for the Nebraska Game and Parks Commission for 25 years, and his current tour of duty is as the fisheries outreach program manager. Daryl loves to share his educational knowledge and is an avid multi-species angler. He holds more than 120 Nebraska Master Angler Awards for 14 different species and holds more than 30 In-Fisherman Master Angler Awards for eight different species. He loves to talk fishing and answer questions about fishing in Nebraska, be sure to check out his blog at outdoornebraska.org.

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