Nebraska is big. It's not quite the size of Montana, Texas or Alaska but it is certainly no slouch in the wide open spaces department. Most people not from the area tend to think of Omaha or the state capital, Lincoln where the Cornhusker Nation lives and breathes. I had never been to the state before and this day found myself in the far northwestern corner rolling south in my buggy on US Highway 385 through Chadron. The Black Hills of South Dakota were behind me as was my visit to both Mt. Rushmore and the Crazy Horse Monument near Keystone with my next destination a solid ten hours of driving in front of me, Lubbock, Texas. HIghway 385 would take me straight to Amarillo and from there the rest of the way in on I-27 to the home of Buddy Holly.
The four presidents of Mt. Rushmore gave me inspiration during this toughest period of my life, having recently been furloughed shortly after the World Trade Center fell on September 11, 2001. Crazy Horse showed me the truest face of resolve and personal sacrifice against impossible odds. Before that I found reason to look to the heavens for guidance after spending a day at the Devil's Tower National Monument. Well, truth be told I was looking more to see if the Mother Ship from "Close Encounters of the Third Kind" had actually been there or might one day actually pay a visit. After all that existential and spiritual musing the great plains of Western Nebraska worked their own special magic in helping me clear my mind for the drive ahead as well as the next round of ethereal events.
Neither prairie dog or buffalo made an appearance but I honestly felt it would have spoiled the truly unspoiled landscape all around me. If I had seen buffalo I would have wanted to see Kevin Costner and a tribe of Lakota Sioux pounding over the hills, guns, bows and arrows blazing and zinging through the air. The sky was royal blue, the long grass 24 karat gold and the air scented just slightly with natural pixie dust. There wasn't a soul around in the middle of the United States of America, something both rare to experience and worth every minute of preserving. When it did come, civilization came back in to focus in probably the quirkiest manner I'd yet come across.
Alliance, Nebraska is like any farming town, a gathering place for locals to do business when not tending the hundreds of square miles of the immediate area. Others in the area are either pure-dee-lost or on their way somewhere else, most likely Mt. Rushmore where I'd just come from. One farmer in the area like any typical farmer had a lot of junk cars and trucks on his property with no real purpose other than to rust back in to the ground and re-enrich the soil. Unlike any other farmer in the country, though, he drew inspiration from a famous international landmark in England and decided to recreate it as closely as possible with his collection of clunkers.
"Carhenge," just like the original Stonehenge, this one sits on the side of a two-lane road with little in the way of facilities or parking except this one is free of charge. Since I was the only one there none of those issues were a problem. I didn't have a lot of time to explore the homemade exhibit and there was zilch in the way of informational plaques and markers. Still, it was there, I felt quite confident I wouldn't be back anytime soon and it helped break up the long drive to Texas.
Mind cleared, somewhat, it was time to move on.