How do you not spell relief?

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Postcard found in a Nebraska truck stop -- a beige relief map of Nebraska with the caption, "NEBRASKA: No Relief." On the back of the card: "There's a reason it's called a plain state. Road-weary pioneers just gave up and stayed. Their descendants are the counter clerks who sell these cards."

(The card is published by Ersatz Nebraska, 800-300-1050 x04.)


W. said:

It's a real shame that Nebraska has this image -- basically that of a flatness with nothing to see for miles around.

Thankfully, I know better. I once traveled from the Black Hills of South Dakota south to Alliance, Nebraska, home of the goofy and wonderful Carhenge (an automotive version of Stonehenge). Incidentally, the picturesque Black Hills extend several dozen miles into northwestern Nebraska.

But when I turned east on Nebraska Highway 2, that's when the real wonders began.

Highway 2 is listed as a scenic highway, but nothing quite prepares you for it. This is the Sand Hills area, a region which was created by a gigantic sand storm thousands of years ago. Here, you see rolling grassy hills, many spring-fed lakes, deer, and a set of train tracks that parallels the road. It's a most serene area, and the towns are so small and so far apart that you forget modern civilization exists. In one 40-mile stretch, I saw just one other vehicle -- a ranch hand in his pickup. That entire afternoon was one of the best drives I've ever had.

If you're ever in that part of the country, turn north from Grand Island. You won't forget it.

W., I've now seen the the Sand Hills, and you're right.

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This page contains a single entry by Michael Bates published on June 20, 2005 10:12 PM.

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