The kids have been hearing me talk about the Sand Hills for years, and they were anxious to see the place where I grew up. I told them how my ancestors homesteaded the country, described by some as the great American desert, after the Civil War. The ranchers built windmills to pull water up from the Ogalala aquifer to water their cattle. With the introduction of the center pivot sprinkler in the 50s, which allowed crop irrigation, ranchers have been turning the prairie and farming some of the land.
Julya captured the stark beauty of the Sand Hills in a remarkable windmill photo.
Travel Tip: Think twice about using Priceline for booking motels. The fine print states that they do not guarantee a non-smoking room. Motel Super 8 has lots of smoking rooms, and twice we got put in one, to our great chagrin. If you check in late, you’re likely going to get one of these rooms, and they are truly wretched in those low budget hotels. Also, if you call the motel directly and tell them the Priceline price, they will often match it, and then you can select your room.