For the return leg of my NC-Montana-and-back July 2010 RoadTrip, I've decided upon a 2-3 day diagonal traverse of Nebraska, through Sandhill country, entering on US 20, through Chadron, then E and S towards Grand Island. I once worked with a fellow geologist who'd grown up there and have seen the grassed-over dune fields from commercial airliners for many years flying to and from Salt Lake City. Last night I did some Internet browsing and decided: Yeah, this is the place to get lost for a couple or three days on the way home.

The M. O. will involve self-contained camping in the back of the F350, a full tank of diesel, a DeLorme, a copy of Roadside Geology of Nebraska, and a rough idea of where I want to go. So far I've sketched out a 30-40 mile gravel road run south from Rushville to Smith Lake, thence east on gravel to NE 27, a visit to the Mari Sandoz gravesite, then a full-on bushwhack to the county highpoints of both Sheridan and Cherry Counties, thence E-SE on county roads back to NE 2. A County Fair & rodeo awaits me farther east before I get back to I-80.

Has anybody spent time in the Sandhills? Any suggestions for long segments of very lightly used county roads? I can go practically across the entire state on a tank of diesel. One-horse towns? Scenic vistas? I may have to go see Carhenge near Alliance. I've also got to decide on which of Sandoz's books to read before setting out.

Any suggestions greatly appreciated.