Day 4: Valentine, NE to Fort Robinson, NE

Hello, Corey here. Today was a most amazing road day, the exact reason we pack up our essential belongings each summer and hit the road.  We were up pretty early this morning, and heading out of Valentine, NE without coffee. So with a quick stop at a local store for provisions, and a quick hello to our campground owner (yep, in small towns it is very difficult to escape anyone) we continued our sojourn west. Below in bullet form…I love bullet points, gathers up some of what our day looked like.

  • Noel drove today due to a minor hip injury I acquired. Henna and I the read in the car caught up in our own two literary worlds as the southern badlands landscape passes by or window (hers fairies and mine embarrassingly 50 Shades of Gray).
  • We can definitely feel the cowboy vibe in these parts as everyone male is donning his cowboy Stetson hat and the old men are driving big Ford pickup excruciatingly slow. So it was fitting when we spied on our atlas that up ahead in a town called Gordon there was the Tri-State Old Time Cowboys Memorial Museum.  So after some searching, as gems like these are not always fitted with bright neon signs, we stumbled upon the city park for Gordon and the museum,  The only problem with our glorious stop is that the museum didn’t open until 1:00 and it was at that time only 10:00.  Ugh.  The best laid plans of improvising!  But wait, a note on the door providing three nice folks to call at a moment’s notice if you want an access to this small museum?  Sweet.  We called and 20 minutes later a nice old cowboy named Bud came to our rescue.  He was obliged to let us in to something he keeps so dear to his heart, being a cowboy.  He showed us graciously and proudly around these old relics of days gone by.  Saddles, rope, pictures of old cowboy’s.  We learned about him, his wife who lived in Chicago for 4 years, and the whereabouts of his five children (all living in various cities around the country).  He is quick to state that they all remember fondly growing up in this small Nebraska town.  My heart strings were tugged as I listened to this blue eyed old cowboy shared with strangers his personal information.  He let us in and I’m presuming that most folks in town (especially the young ones) have heard these old cowboy stories so many times, and are not impressed anymore.  He informed us that the countless windmill we’ve been seeing on the ranchlands are not turbines but instead wells pulling up water from sometimes as deeps as 200 feet below ground to keep the cattle hydrated.  He shared a sweet story about his Dad long ago picking up a solder on the highway, and how incredulous he was that the solider in need of water had no idea the water was fit to drink.
  • Our luck. Bud questioned our further travels and gave us a great tip of what we could do next, which are always the best tips the road can bring.  Godspell was playing at the Post Playhouse Theatre in the state park.  Thank you Bud!
  • Two hours down the road we entered the state park, bought our tickets for the 8 o’clock show, by a very friendly theatre major from Nebraska, and went for a swim.  The above mentioned theatre major was named John, a native of Nebraska and an ardent theatre buff.  He vows his love for this summer stock as it’s the closest folks in these parts can get to real theatre.  We wondered what it was like for him growing up in cowboy country when he appeared to be lifted from the set of Glee.  Thank goodness for him that this existed for him.  Make me glad we come from a big city in which cultural experiences are a short train trip away…might be why Bud’s kids all moved away.

Fare thee well for now.