Here’s how it works.  Sometime in January my wife informs me that we need to start planning what we’re going to do for a summer vacation.  I wholeheartedly agree by mumbling “…okay…whatever…let me know what you decide…”.  She then plans our vacation, making reservations, setting up an itinerary, researching points of interest, restaurants and letting me know what dates to block off for said vacation.  I’m only in charge of my own packing and driving us to and from places.  It works out best this way since I don’t really care to travel but for the sake of keeping my bride happy I look for things along the way to keep me interested AND I always enjoy myself.  Its kind of an adventure.

This years vacation coincided with our nieces wedding in northwest Nebraska.  For those unfamiliar with the state of Nebraska, and all that it has to offer, its greatest resource are its people.  They’re nice, just like Iowans.  Iowa and Nebraska’s sister states Illinois, Wisconsin, Missouri and Minnesota all have sexy attractions like: Chicago, The Dells, The Ozarks,  National Forests, Door County, The Great Lakes, The Packers, Bears, Cubs, Royals, Cardinals, Vikings, Twins, Chiefs, White Sox, Bulls, The Twin Cities, Kansas City and St. Louis just to mention a few.  In Iowa we have the Amana Colonies where the Amish settled AND really, really kickass rest areas along the interstate highways.  If you’re from Iowa you really can’t look down your nose at Nebraska…especially when you’re known for being a leader in the production of: corn, eggs, chickens, milk and hogs….all of which are just dandy but not sexy nor attractive (actually…YOU’RE WELCOME AMERICA…while the rest of you are having a blast we’re just toiling away in America’s Heartland, listening to the corn grow and tending to the millions of chickens and hogs that reside with us between the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers).  But tirades aside…we were destined for the northwest corner of Nebraska and my wife decided to take us westward from there to Colorado after the wedding.  A great thing happened along the way….all three of our daughters would be joining us.  Ages 25, 23 and 20, it’d been years since we could all vacation together and we were looking forward to it, and truth be told….I like Nebraska.  Dead serious.  The state and its folks are fine with me…just don’t get them started on the Huskers unless you’ve got HOURS to listen to how terrific they are…er used to be.

The drive across Iowa and Nebraska is breathtakingly beautiful if you enjoy lush green rolling hills and plains chock-full of corn and soybeans, interspersed with hay, hogs and cattle in various states of growth.  Dead serious…hour upon hour of green…until you get to central Nebraska then its drier and less green.  To my point…not much going on until you exit I-80 at Ogallala and head north.  You don’t realize it while its happening, but we had climbed from 800 feet above sea level (where we live in Iowa) to 3280 at Ogallala.  It has BLUFFS that dive deep to Lake McConaughy (not affiliated with the actor) and rolling, far as the eye can see, prairie.  Its beautiful. 

Here’s a reenactment of our 2007 trip to Colorado.

At a rest area in Nebraska 2007.  Throwing away an ornery Macy. (try not to stare at those sexy denim shorts and mid-calf white socks...LADIES!!)
At a rest area in Nebraska 2007. Throwing away an ornery Macy. (try not to stare at those sexy denim shorts and mid-calf white socks…LADIES!!)
Nine years later...she's still sassy, a little heavier but I have the situation under control...sans the sexy denim shorts.
Nine years later…she’s still sassy, a little heavier but I have the situation under control…sans the sexy denim shorts.
Uh oh.  Fortunately they only got me six inches off of the ground.  I was thinking "if they drop me...how can I drive with broken ribs...?"  This was Connie's idea BTW.
Uh oh. Fortunately they only got me six inches off of the ground. I was thinking “if they drop me…how can I drive with broken ribs…?” This was Connie’s idea BTW.

We arrived at Scottsbluff the day before the wedding and went about investigating the locale and took the following photos over the next two days.  It was a really nice town out in the middle of nowhere.

Amazingly beautiful.  Scottsbluff National Monument was a great place to visit.  The Oregon Trail passed through it.
Amazingly beautiful. Scottsbluff National Monument was a great place to visit. The Oregon Trail passed through it.
Pondering my next move...
Pondering my next move…
...and suffering the consequences.
…and suffering the consequences.

Having a little fun with the pano setting on my phones camera and its filters.

A beautiful day.
A beautiful day.

Family fun…

Karalee and Macy hamming it up for the camera
Karalee and Macy hamming it up for the camera
So many cool views...this doesn't do them justice.
So many cool views…this doesn’t do them justice.

We had lunch in Scottsbluff at a Mexican restaurant that received good reviews on Yelp but wasn’t much bigger than a two car garage.  It was authentic and tasty.

Are the bars on the windows to keep folks out...or in?  Regardless...I was too hungry to ponder this question for very long
Are the bars on the windows to keep folks out…or in? Regardless…I was too hungry to ponder this question for very long

We went to the wedding, held outside on a high hill overlooking the surrounding plains.  Definitely “country-western” themed.  It was beautiful.  God.  Family.  Friends.  Food.

The bride and one of the groomsmen.
The bride and one of the groomsmen.

A storm had rolled in the previous night and I got a few shots of it.  That’s one thing that I really like about being in the country…seeing the sky.

Top to bottom...blue, white and pink.  Strong winds didn't keep the mosquitoes from harassing me between gusts.
Top to bottom…blue, white and pink. Strong winds didn’t keep the mosquitoes from harassing me between gusts.

IMG_0980

 

Together again…the RIPLEYS ARE GOING TO COLORADO!!! (via Nebraska and Wyoming).

Connie, Karalee, Jordan, Macy and me.
Connie, Karalee, Jordan, Macy and me.

The ride gets wilder as we enter a state that offers legalized fireworks, marijuana, scenic mountain views, critters that can eat you and a speed limit bordering on insane down 5% grades.   Thanks for tagging along!  More to come.

God bless,

R

 

 

 

 

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