Holdrege NE 4/15/06 Report
See the Sandhill Dancers - Wray, CO Greater Prairie Chicken Viewing Tours

4/15/06 Nebraska Report back

After leaving the Holdrege Library we headed East toward Beatrice. It was extremely windy, and there was so much particulate matter in the air the sky was brown. When we did manage to see the real sky all we saw was blue sky and a few high clouds.
We made some fundamental strategic errors that made this chase a bust for us. We did not do our analysis correctly, we made conclusions ahead of the data (always a bad sign) and we got distracted. Distracted! I hear you wail. How could you!!
I know. But we did, and what do we have to show for it? A bust.
But it wasn't all bad. We got to see some really interesting sites: There is Eustis the Sausage Capital of the World which lured Kevin in with the promise of home made pie, and sausages. We were out of luck on that one as all the shops closed at 12 and we missed them. Then there was Red Cloud home of writer Willa Cather. You must visit the Red Cloud Opera House - it has been beautifully restored. They have some interesting exhibitions. We saw a photo exhibition of Afghanistan. For more about the writer go here.
Then we drove on old byways past small prairie towns, and abandoned farms. There were lots of interesting old barns. Everywhere, over rolling hills we were overcome with green- here in Colorado we are still starved for green. We stopped to take photos of interesting old barns, and the most beautiful prairie church outside Gilead which gleamed in the golden sun.
We spent the most amount of time in Fairbury NE.
If you are in that part of the world do yourself a favor and visit Fairbury. Drive immediately to the town square- the City Hall/ Court Building is gorgeous. Off one of the side roads is the most beautiful wall mural (a recent 1994 addition) which is truly amazing. Go to Doozys and have a sub (a choice of three sizes) great value, and great home cooked food.
We reluctantly left Fairbury and headed for Beatrice where we planned to spend Saturday night. We spotted puddles along the way - could it be? Could there have been rain while we were enjoying our spring day? We arrived at the Super 8 Motel in Beatrice to be told by the desk clerk that their wifi wasn't working due to the storm, and that there had been a tornado warning posted.
We felt extremely silly, foolish, embarrassed etc etc (you get the idea.) What a silly pair of gooses we are!
We found out from the Weather Channel about a nice tornado spotted just outside Beatrice, and after the fact read all the great chase accounts written by motivated, real storm chasers (who don't let things like the light shining on a barn distract them from what really matters...)

I try and comfort myself in thinking that maybe I wouldn't have made the Beatrice storm (bad Friday getaway decision, we were too far west blah blah blah) But I'll never know because we did not try.
As punishment for being so lazy at stormchasing we are on a self imposed ban - no chasing for the next 2 weeks!