Five Life Lessons Learned on my 1,700 mile #DetourNebraska

In anticipation of writing my book, Detour Nebraska: Historical Destinations and Natural Wonders, I set out on a solo trip across Nebraska.  For four days, I made lots of stops and spent long days in the car.  1,700 miles later, I arrived home with a memory card full of pictures, having had such an enjoyable time.  These are the five lessons that I learned along the way.

  1. 1. Our state's current slogan is "Visit Nebraska, Visit Nice."  Having traveled to almost every corner of the state, I can definitely confirm thatNebraskans are some of the friendliest people around.  Everywhere that I visited I was given such a warm welcome.

     2. Nebraska is not flat.  If anyone is driving through Nebraska, their route often follows Interstate 80.  That part of Nebraska does consist primarily of farm lands and the level ground.  But if you veer 30 minutes south or north of the interstate, you’re treated to rolling hills.  Bluffs abound in the Panhandle region in the west and along the Missouri River in the east.  Going across the state actually requires a bit of climb.  There is more of an elevation change traveling from east to west across Nebraska then there is for travelers heading east from Nebraska to the Atlantic Ocean.

    3.  Nebraska has a lot of history to explore.  Native Americans made their impact in the land, and that impact is seen at battle sites and even in the names of many Nebraska places.  We also have a museum celebrating the fur trade, which is the industry that impacted Nebraska long before it become a state.  Remnants of both the Mormon and Oregon Trails can still be seen.  Trains still follow the transcontinental railroad tracks from over one hundred and fifty years ago.  Almost all of the 93 Nebraska counties have their own museums to tell about local history as well.

4. Nebraska has some amazing natural wonders.  From Nebraska's largest ecosystem which is found in the Sandhills to the Wildcat Hills, Nebraska is beautiful.  The seventy foot high Smith Falls is one set of almost two hundred waterfalls found in the Niobrara River valley.  Nebraska actually has more miles of rivers than any other state. Prairies have been protected and preserved for generations to come.  Nebraska also happens to have the world's largest hand-planted forest.

5. The Detour Nebraska possibilities are endless.  To spend a few hours at all of the museums found across Nebraska would take a solid month or two.  To explore Nebraska's seventy-seven state parks and recreation areas would take at least that long.  Explore the state by region.  This is the direction that I followed in Detour Nebraska.  Seven regions covered in the seven chapters.  Plenty of possibilities to have your own adventures

Gretchen Garrison is a homeschooling mom of four that lives in Lincoln.  She helps her husband run their family business as well.  She writes regularly on her blog, Odyssey Through Nebraska.  The best type of travel for her includes her husband in the driver's seat, her kids in the back and a tall icy Dr. Pepper in the cup holder.