Our trip down to Nebraska was about 21 hours driving - pretty much like taking a road trip to Brisbane, except that we actually stopped for the night in a hotel just over the border instead of sleeping at the side of the road. Berry, Sam's other evil twin would have driven through the night as well but they decided to be kind to me so we found a room about 1.30 am and slept until 9.00 ready for breakfast. Unfortunately, we didn't allow for the time zone difference so missed the free breakfast. Drove through North and South Dakota and into Nebraska. Arrived at Loomis about 11.00 pm, visited with Raye and Betty Johnston - Raye runs the TradNDays and organized the link with Berry - and then went to the hotel we had booked into for the weekend and got our room for the extra 2 nights we needed. Room great - King Size bed, cable TV, free cookies at night, coffee machine in room, breakfast includes make your own waffles - cool - a bit different to the usual Thomson road trip style!!!
Got picked up early next morning and taken to Cozy Inn Café for breakfast and then visited Raye's Dog Farm - just what it is - acres of dog runs full of hunting dogs. After that we were going to go to Kearney - a larger town nearby, but Berry was tired and decided to have a nap before going so we visited with Betty for a while and then went back to the hotel to wait for Berry. He slept longer so at 5.00 we went for a walk through the metropolis of Holdrege. The main street is like many towns in Australia - shops and businesses closed down as people become more mobile and go to bigger towns for their needs, but walked through the back streets where there were some really nice houses, couple of big churches, large school and Performing Arts Centre. We also found a large general store and few restaurants and walked back to the hotel. Bought some rolls and fillings for tea, which we ate in our room.
Thursday was my down day. Berry took us to Kearney where we visited a big outdoor outfitter. When we walked in, a couple came up to us and said "Rob?". It was just like being home!!! You can't go anywhere without someone knowing Sam!!. They were friends of Rayes who had been to Adelaide a few times to stay with an MP for Stuart whose daughter had been an exchange student with them and Raye told them we were going to be at the store!!! By the time we had talked to them and got the addresses of a couple of Op Shops in Kearney, Berry was ready to go and having met up with fellow hunters, was heading straight back to the dog farm so the shopping trip was over and it was back to the dogs again. It has been so cold with icy winds here so I sat in the car sending messages home, waking dad up in the middle of the night!!! and writing in my journal. Raye then took us back to the hotel so we hung around there and had tea at a diner next to the hotel. I have never eaten so much fast food in my life as I have lately.
Friday, I was over my miseries, and we walked to the showgrounds and spent about 5 hours walking around, meeting people with hunting dogs and trying to stand up against the wind!!! Had to use a portaloo and thought the thing was going to blow over with me in it - A Kenny episode in the making!!! One group of hunting dog traders turned up in a limousine towing a dog trailer!!! Met lots of different people from all over the place. Raye picked us up later for tea at the Elk Lodge - bit like Rotary but have to be member to go to Club - had pig roast - all you can eat. Got introduced to everyone as Australians and had some great conversations with local people.
Saturday was the dog races. We walked back to the Showgrounds - this time the sun was out and the wind down. I sat with Betty and Janet, kinda helped out with the recording and saw a few races. That evening Raye took us out to a Tepee restaurant that used to be a souvenir shop before the main highway was re-routed.
As I write this, we have been to church at the Holdrege AOG, had lunch at a Mexican restaurant, swam in the hotel pool and are sitting in the lobby waiting for Raye and Barry to pick us up sometime to catch up for the last time and then go to the station to wait for the train at 2.30 am.