Thursday, August 19, 2010

Crazy Daisy Tour Day 35: Ogallala, NE to Columbus, NE

Another theme of our trip has been railroads. In Trains magazine, we read about the largest train yard in the world at North Platte, Nebraska and knew we'd have to top at the Golden Spike Tower & Visitor's Centre while on tour (above). It's hard to come to grips with the magnitude of Union Pacific's Bailey yard. Imagine being on the eighth storey of a tower overlooking a 2,850 acre yard where 10,000 railway cars are handled daily. "The idea of the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center was first conceived in the mid-1990s as Union Pacific's viewing platform was falling into disrepair. Community leaders thought it a good idea to erect a tower that would allow visitors to get a birds-eye view of Bailey Yard. The Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center opened on June 26, 2008." Source: official website.
Travelling eastbound on highway 30, there is a constant flow of railway traffic easily viewed from the road.
We stop for a picnic lunch at Ehman Park in Gothenburg, NE, which is named for the city in Sweden where the town's early settlers hail from. In the park we visit an original Pony Express Station, moved 20 miles to this site in 1931 which now houses artifacts, tourist info and a gift shop. Across the street is the Gothenburg Historical Museum where we discuss war time ration books, Canada's medicare system and the joys of travelling off the interstate with long time residents (below). Neither site charges admission but donations are gratefully accepted.

Daily Distance: 442km Fuel Cost: $ 19

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