Easyjet changes their hold bag rules

EasyJet’s new rules means that if you can pack up...

Cruises of a Lifetime You Can Actually Afford!

Whether you’re an experienced cruiser or a newbie,...

What’s Your Island IQ?

The Caribbean brings to mind azure waters and postcard-perfect...

Europe’s Coolest Cycling Tour

Terroir. Spend any time in one of the world’s...

10 Beautiful Beach Town Bargains for Fall

To tell the truth, here at Budget Travel we’ve...

8 Great Labor Day Weekend Getaways

Labor Day weekend may be just around the corner, but...

The Right—and Wrong—Way to Pay for Your Dream Trip

I’m short on cash. Should I put my vacation on...

Insiders’ Guide to the Caribbean

ST. MARTIN If there’s any complaint about this...

8 Mistakes That Will RUIN Your Weekend Getaway!

When Budget Travel asked whether it would be worth...

Upgrade Secrets from the Experts!

I have a long, transcontinental flight coming up. I...

«
»
  1. Destinations
  2. More News
  3. Featured
  4. Travel tips
  5. Trip ideas

Paris, Air, 6 Nights, From $1,199

The Real Deal Vacation package to Paris includes airfare...

‘Fast & Furious’ will be a ride at Universal Studios

Universal is turning Fast & Furious into a theme...

Tuscany, Castle Hotel, Car, 7 Nights, From $484

The Real Deal This land only vacation package includes...

Upgrade Secrets from the Experts!

I have a long, transcontinental flight coming up. I...

A Drive Through Southeast Washington’s Wine Country

You’d think that a guy like actor Kyle MacLachlan...

10 things Mexico does better than anywhere else

(CNN) — Icy beers, empty beaches. It’s...

Levant Hotel

Price From $105 The Doukakis family can’t take...

Willis Tower cracks frighten tourists, but officials say no one was in danger

A protective coating on a glass sightseeing box that...

10 things Mexico does better than anywhere else

(CNN) — Icy beers, empty beaches. It’s...

Ireland, Air, Car, 7 Nights, From $1,102

The Real Deal This vacation package gives you round-trip...

A Florida Dream Trip You Can Take NOW

It was my second day at the Orlando theme parks, and...

15 Incredible Things to Do in Iceland

The average person probably knows one of three things...

In Search of the Loch Ness Monster—and Other U.K. Pop-Culture Icons!

It’s fair to say the United Kingdom has produced...

18 dead in Nepal plane crash

Kathmandu, Nepal (CNN) — A small passenger plane...

L’Hotel Sous les Figuiers

Price From $150 This low-key lodging is in a residential...

5 Awesome & Affordable American Drives

some other elaborate, pricey conveyance, such as a...

North Korea app opens country to armchair travelers

Ten years ago, the number of Western visitors to North...

Le Cadran Solaire

Price From $93 Once a postal-relay inn, this old stone...

Paliokaliva Village

Price From $126 Talk about underselling your appeal;...

Seoul unveils $451 million ‘spaceship’ landmark

In yet another display of the city’s commitment...

Take a Heartland Road Trip! «

Take a Heartland Road Trip!

His great-great-grandfather founded the town in the late 1880s. At its pre-WWII peak, the population of Nenzel, Nebraska, reached 125. Today, it’s got all of 13 people. But that hasn’t stopped Neal Nollette, a Roman Catholic priest, from launching an outfitting company, 2 the Ends of the Earth, which runs river trips down a cliff-lined stretch of the Niobrara that’s often short of—well, water.

SEE OUR HEARTLAND ROAD TRIP!
To bypass that inconvenient truth, Nollette invented the sport of “nyobrafting,” which he defines as navigating a waterway by any method necessary, though in practice it means repeatedly climbing out of your kayak and dragging it across the river’s many sandbars. As Father Neal says, “If you have a little bit of imagination and creativity, you can turn almost anything into a business.”

SEE THE ROAD TRIP!

Launch the Slide Show
Welcome to the Sandhills, home to whooping cranes and prairie chickens, cowboys and cattle, plus some of the more ingenious tourism attractions either side of the Mississippi. Like much of the nation, these remote, sparsely settled grasslands—rolling some 19,000 square miles across north central Nebraska and reaching as high as 400 feet—have been hit by economic tough times. But the can-do spirit that built this country runs deep in these parts. Ever been to a 300-mile-long yard sale (known as the annual Junk Jaunt)? Or an art show that makes a stop at the Sinclair gas station in Dunning, where hand-crafted pottery shares the shelves with the Hamburger Helper and pickles? In a word: delicious.

DAY 1
Omaha to Burwell
193 miles
“Where the West begins and the East peters out,” reads the restaurant sign my son and I spy in Burwell, home to Nebraska’s Big Rodeo. After a four-hour drive from Omaha, we’re ready for some cowpoke action. At the Northside Bar and Cafe, around the corner from the Dry Creek Western Wear store and saddle shop, a man in a white cowboy hat plays gin rummy with his buddies at a corner table (223 Grand Ave., Burwell, 308/346-5474). We’ve dropped by to see the hundreds of photos, posters, and other memorabilia decorating the walls of the pub’s rodeo museum. Perhaps other picture galleries double as a saloon, but surely this is the only one serving bull calf testicles. “Last Friday, we sold a whole case,” says Tammy Miller, waitress, bartender, and occasional curator. “Breaded and deep fried.” Thankfully, my son is hankering for something sweet. We’re directed to the Sandstone Grill in the old tin-ceilinged Burwell Hotel, where two foodies—sisters who moved here from Seattle and Kansas City—serve a long list of salads (Caesar, Asian, “sweet blue,” etc.) along with Nebraskan classics like sour cream raisin pie, which we order à la mode (416 Grand Ave., Burwell, 308/346-4582, sandstone grill.com).

Sunlight is starting to wane as we reach Calamus Outfitters, near Nebraska’s third-largest swimming hole, Calamus Reservoir. We toss our bags into our rustic lodge room on the grounds of the Switzer Ranch, then hightail it outside for a sunset Jeep tour of 12,000 acres of grazing cattle (83720 Valleyview Ave., Burwell, 308/346-4697, calamusoutfitters.com).

Lying on the central flyway of some 500,000 cranes and 10 million other migratory water fowl, these are the Sandhills at their prettiest, dipping and rising like a roller coaster, blanketed with bluestems and tall bunchgrasses. In spring, you can watch the sharp-tailed grouse strut their stuff during their elaborate predawn mating dance. In summertime, there’s tubing and horseback riding. In the morning when I ask what we can do to help around the ranch, we’re told to saddle up and spend the next several hours rounding up stray cattle.

DAY 2
Burwell to Mullen
112 miles
The late Charles “On the Road” Kuralt counted Highway 2, running alongside the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Railroad and a seemingly endless row of black-eyed susans and golden sunflowers, among America’s 10 most beautiful routes. We pick it up in Dunning and follow it west through what was once the Pawnee and Sioux tribes’ bison-hunting range. In Mullen, we have a date with Glidden Canoe Rental to go “tanking”—a popular Nebraskan sport that consists of floating down a river in a livestock watering tank. Some tanks come with picnic tables and lawn chairs. Ours is nine feet in diameter, made of galvanized tin, and outfitted with benches. Even with paddles, we’re at the Middle Loup River’s mercy. A red-tailed hawk soars overhead as the current crashes us into the bank, tangling us up in fallen branches. Eventually I learn it’s less jarring if I sit upright, not touching the sides of the tank. My son does just the opposite, naturally. Apparently what I call whiplash, he calls fun (Off Highway 2, Mullen, 308/546-2206, gliddencanoe rental.com).

Read more: http://www.budgettravel.com/feature/heartland-road-trip,8863/#ixzz33Azaaupg

Destinations

Hotels

Real deals

Travel News

Travel tips

Trip ideas