Coal from Wyoming headed east.
Looking west on Rt. 2
Everybody welcome at the prom.
If you've ever driven across Nebraska on I-80 you know what a long and tedious ride that can be. Much of the interstate was built in the Platte Valley, which probably offers the least scenic view of the state. A much more pleasant trip can be had by getting off the interstate and driving through the Sandhills.
The Sandhills are the largest sand dunes in the western hemisphere. The Sandhills, which were formed during the last Ice Age, are a region of superlatives. The dunes cover an area of almost 20,000 square miles --roughly the size of Nova Scotia, or Vermont and New Hampshire combined. They reach a height of 400 feet in places and are up to 20 miles long. For the most part the dunes have been stabilized by the grass growing on top of them. There are many spring-fed lakes and streams in the Sandhills. The wetlands make the Sandhills an important stopover for migrating birds. There aren't too many people in the Sandhills, but there are over half a million cattle.
As we drove east along Route 2, Ann, Jeff and I stopped at Hyannis and Mullen. Not only is Mullen the "Biggest Little Town in Hooker County" it is also the "Littlest Big Town in Hooker County" and, well, the only town in Hooker County.
Mullen was a great place to stop. We met four friendly Shriners putting up posters for an upcoming Shrine Circus in North Platte. We loaded up on lunch supplies at Macke's Grocery, bought postcards and plastic animals and talked to Lucy at Lucy's Variety and Gifts, and found us some awesomely delicous peach cobbler at the Sandhills Coffee Mill.
All that in a town of less than 500 people! There are about 800 people living in Hooker County. To put that into perspective, Hooker County has more than twice the area of New York City.
Now that we had our lunch supplies it was time to head for a picnic in another unique Nebraska location.