Trains and Ponies on the way to the Ranch

We’re slowly making our way back to Indiana. After spending the night in Sidney, NE, it’s all about making miles by pounding down the interstate. I don’t think this is the preferred method of seeing the country.. That applies to our entire group. We do have some stops planned so let’s see what we can get into.

Our first stop is at Bailey Yard in North Platte, NE. Our previous trip to this location was problematic in that there are no signs pointing the way. I was trying to navigate there using my not-so-trusty Garmin. If I would have had steel wheels from one of the trains I wouldn’t have had any issues. All the rails lead to this yard and the incredible Golden Spike Tower. After ignoring Garmin’s repeated attempts to get me to drive through a farmers wheat field, we discovered the actual street we needed.

Bailey Yard is the largest railroad switching yard in the world. I don’t have any info that disputes that claim. It is a “double-hump” yard which has nothing to do with camels. It is fascinating to watch them move train cars to the top of the hump then release then one or two at a tine to free-wheel down the incline. Computer control the switching and the retarding (slowing) of the cars. Union Pacific retirees serve as hosts and supply a lot of information, most of which is accurate. When one host told me they load 30 pickup trucks on a single rail car, I was skeptical. This is a must-see spot if you love trains.

From the Bailey Yard, it’s a short gallop to one of the last remaining Pony Express Stations left in the world. It is currently sitting in a small park in Gothenburg, NE. The original site of this particular building is on private property so it was moved to the town square. It really is just a gift shop but tells enough of the short-lived Pony Express so that you understand how hard those young men worked and how risky their job was.

The final stop of the day was in Hastings, NE at the Hastings Museum. It is a diverse museum with a large display of exotic animals (stuffed, of course). It does boast an area dedicated to Kool Ade. In fact, outside the doors of the museum is what is reported to be the Kool Ade Man’s actual foot prints.

We ended the day at a Holiday Inn Express on the east side of Lincoln, NE. Our route covered about 400 miles today. I really am feeling the urge to get to our home ranch. It’s hard to focus on much else.

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