As we drive across the vast expanse of America, we gaze out of our windows, interested, but growing more and more detached. The sights are splendid and awesome, but so much at once can become overwhelming. It becomes difficult to recall towns or cities, or even what state we are in.
Then, through the fog of a thousand and more miles, there appears on the horizon a clear speck, beckoning like a lighthouse. Nearly 1500 miles from home, we come across a familiar harbor; a place of friends in an indifferent territory.
Two years ago, we knew of Thedford, NE only as it was reported to us: "the most boring place in the world." It is true that Thedford is sixty miles from the nearest town with a Wal-mart, and that it lacks some of the attractions of larger cities, but it is a far cry from dull. During our first three week stay, our time was stretched between the Art Gallery, the historical museum, the county fair (which included a parade, a root beer float social and a bull riding competition besides the usual fair fare) Nebraska National Forest Bessey Division .We didn't have a dull moment.
The inhabitants of Thedford are far more welcoming than we have found almost anywhere else in our travels. The city has only 243 residents, so they make up for it by being incredibly memorable. The Sheriff, for instance, can be found patrolling the highways, or he might be found waiting tables in the Arrowhead Cafe, working as a paramedic at a local bull riding competition, helping locals out with water pressure issues, or helping out in the grocery store.
Athough it's been two years since our three week stay in Thedford, and our visits back have been few and far between, the owners of the Arrowhead Lodge, the hotel where we stayed that summer, have welcomed us back every time, whether we are staying over or just dropping in for lunch.
The Boys and the dog and the Arrowhead Sign.
The art gallery is a small building, but it is chock full of beautiful paintings, drawings, sculptures, and photographs. The volunteers who run, as well as contribute to the gallery are generally ready to chat about the Sandhills, the art in the gallery, and whatever else, as long as they receive a signature in their guest book in return. I attended an art workshop there, and the Commodore, after spending two and a half weeks looking for a painting that she wanted to buy, fell in love with a painting that another artist, Dawn E. Bryant was working on and bought it on the spot. It was a rare experience, so she remembered us when we saw her in the gallery on Wednesday and mentioned it . This is the painting the Commodore has.
The Art Gallery
The museum is a similar endeavor, with plenty of information and history rolled up in a very tiny exterior. The museum includes some very unique items and collections, such as their display of all of the few hundred types of barbed wire. Before we visited the museum, we didn't even know that there was more than one type of barbed wire.
Then there's the library, where the boys were welcomed into children's hour, and got to make kaleidoscopes.
And of course, there are the miscellaneous attractions and plagues.
Above: Horses we spotted while walking to the store.
Below: A locust the compared to a tennis ball. Sandspurs stuck to my feet.
Thedford does have a major drawback. Pizza. It seems a little absurd that that should even matter. When one really, really wants pizza, however, and there is no oven available, and no place to get pizza for sixty miles....
We have discovered 2 fail fail proof solutions: the cheap way, and the expensive way.
Expensive= Buy an RV. Then, you can make your own pizza whenever you want.
Cheap= Buy a frozen pizza. Go to the Thedford City Park, where they have grills and plenty of trees that provide wood for a fire. Build a fire and let the flames die down and the wood begin to smolder. Place pizza on the grill. Wrap everything up with aluminum foil. When it is finished, the result is very close to a brick oven pizza. Thus, the only major fault to be found in Thedford is negated.
We think that we will be moving westward tomorrow or the day after. We will move on to Alliance, where we have been, and then on to Wyoming. I can't wait to see what actually happens.