The museum outside of Chadron was our impetus for this trip. We’d both written about the place in the past year, and about Jim Hansen -- the son of one of its founders -- and were intrigued enough to want to check the museum out for ourselves.
We’re glad we did. The museum’s world-class collection of traps, knives, firearms, wares and clothing dates back centuries, and it tells the history of an important international economy -- with an emphasis on the role by Natives on both sides of the fur trade. (When the producers of “The Revenant” needed historically accurate props, it found them here, on the east edge of Chadron.)
Check out Fur Trade Days, if you can. We hear it’s a blast, especially if you’re into buffalo chip-throwing contests. This year’s festivities run July 6-10. Toss your buffalo chips on Saturday: furtradedays.com/events.html
Eating on the Road: We are calling our trip the Pizza Tour: Three pies in three days. Start with The Wave Pizza Company in Grand Island (a boogie board pie is plenty for one; two, if you add an appetizer). Not many places have a VW bus in its dining room.
For a culinary change, the aforementioned Range Cafe in Bassett is open for breakfast and lunch daily and for dinner on Fridays. (Listen to your mother and don’t skip breakfast.)
Farther west, we can recommend a woodfired pizza at the Twisted Turtle Pub in Rushville -- a warm oasis of hip and craft beer in cow country -- as well as the nightly special at the Sand Hills Lounge in Long Pine (be sure to snag one of owner Lisa Dillon’s fresh-baked cookies).
In Chadron, the Bean Broker Coffee House & Pub features much more than coffee -- although, sadly no pizza. Give the fritatta of the day a try; it comes with a hearty slice of homemade toast that will steal your gluten-loving heart. As you head home, swing by Loup City Lanes for another pizza -- loaded with cheese and bowling alley ambiance.