Thursday’s Iowa-Nebraska men’s basketball game in Lincoln has been rescheduled for this Saturday afternoon.
That’s fine with me. But I wasn’t planning on making that trip from Cedar Rapids anyway. For a basketball game? In winter???
Until 2011, I had never driven across Nebraska. I’d heard the horror stories since I was a wee lad. It’s like driving on the moon, I heard. There is nothing out there, I was warned.
Frankly, it terrified me.
But then it was time to drive to Colorado, and the most-direct route there is by going through Nebraska. Now, I had driven as far west in Nebraska as Lincoln on two occasions before that, for Iowa-Nebraska and Iowa State-Nebraska football games. But whatever was west of Lincoln, I didn’t know. I hadn’t wanted to know.
Then I made the trip all the way past Ogallala, and into Colorado. It wasn’t as bad as I feared. But we weren’t in a hurry, and we listened to a Sunday-full of Howard Stern interviewing people who are now dead. They weren’t at the time they were on Stern’s radio show, and Stern had a whole weekend of Stern’s “From the Grave.” Captivating stuff, especially his interview with Rodney Dangerfield, who was not a funny person in real life. He sounded pretty miserable, actually. He did not have a happy existence.
Anyway, eastern Colorado all the way until you get near Denver was pretty dry toast, too. We pulled off in a town called Brush.
Brush High School’s teams are called the Beetdiggers. You think I’m kidding?
The Brush Beetdiggers play in Beetdigger Stadium. The Beetdiggers are 31-7 in football since the start of the 2010 season. You’ve got to be tough to live in Brush.
We stayed in North Platte, Neb. both going to Colorado and coming home. North Platte has several museums. We didn’t go there. We did hit the Fort Cody Trading Post, though. What a scene that is.
It has a gift shop with sock monkeys, Guatemalan jewelry, and Nebraska hot sauce.
Outside the Trading Post, you can find a 25-foot Native American.
Blizzards are nothing new in Nebraska. They had a whopper in 1888.
It’s known as the Schoolhouse Blizzard because teachers had to keep schoolchildren in schools for several days. The death toll from that blizzard was 235.
Another vicious Nebraska blizzard was in mid-November of 1949. Hartington and Bloomfield in northeast Nebraska recorded two feet of snow.
Which is why the headline of this blog post is “Rule of thumb: Avoid Nebraska blizzards.”
There is an upside to the nasty-sounding storm headed eastern Nebraska’s way Thursday, according to this USA Today story:
“We’ll put up with a blizzard to get this critical moisture rather than the alternative of no blizzard — as we aren’t in a position to be too choosy about how we get that moisture!” said climatologist Mark Svoboda of the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb.
I don’t know which of the following would be more depressing: A blizzard, a drought, or working for the National Drought Mitigation Center in Lincoln, Neb.