Friday, November 26, 2021

Headed East toward Omaha (4)

…continuing with our July road trip and our exploration of western Nebraska.  Two more posts including this one and we will have returned to our son’s family’s home in Omaha. 

Our next overnight stop was in North Platte Nebraska.  We didn’t explore the city as we’d visited here not too many years ago and we’d hit quite a few high points during that stay.

I’d researched the available restaurants in North Platte and Luigi’s Italian restaurant was very well rated so I decided that we’d give it a try.  This is a popular place to dine in town and we actually had to wait a few minutes to get a table.  North Platte did have some kind of automobile rally or gathering going on while we were in town.  Our table was next to a window and there were hot rods, sports cars, jacked-up trucks and motorcycles screaming up and down South Jeffers Street.  It was quite entertaining if not peaceful...

This photo featuring my better half also shows the interior of Luigi’s.  It was bright and cheerful…and that waiter in the photo is Kaden.  He was very friendly and helpful.  He was looking forward to the end of his shift though because, as he told us, he had a couple of hot cars that he wanted to cruise down the main drag with the others on display.

For our appetizer, we chose the Fried Calamari. ($7.95) The calamari were lightly dusted and served with a fresh marinara basil sauce.  They were tender and tasty…better than most!  We also noted that Luigi’s offered Fried Ravioli…something not seen too often outside of the St. Louis Missouri area. 

Our entrees included a small dinner salad.  The ingredients were fresh and they had my favorite combination of salad dressings.  When available I like to mix both blue cheese and French dressing.

Looking at Luigi’s on-line menu I couldn’t find our entrees listed.  In any case, Laurie ordered one of her favorites, the Lobster Ravioli. ($12.95) It was very good…in the league of the better versions of this dish that she’s had before.

I ordered one of my favorites as well.  This was my Shrimp Fra Diavolo. ($13.95) It was nice and spicy and there were plenty of shrimp too.  I’d made an excellent choice!

Luigi’s Italian Restaurant is located at 502 South Jeffers Street in North Platte Nebraska.  Phone: 308-221-2961.  Luigi’s website is at


         ·         If you love railroads and railroad equipment, North Platte is the place to visit.  This city of over 23,000 is home to Union Pacific Railroad’s Baily Yard…the world’s largest railroad classification yard.  Covering 2,850 acres and 8 miles long, it has 200 separate tracks and employees more than 2,600 people.  The Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center is an 8-story building or tower that overlooks the classification yard and engine facilities. 

         ·         North Platte is also home to the Cody Park Railroad Museum.  It has the only Challenger 3900 series steam locomotive on public display in the world and you can actually climb up into the cab.  In addition, there is a 6900 series diesel locomotive on display…the largest ever made.  Other rail cars are open to visitors and the old Hershey Nebraska depot is also located in the park.

We had lots of time to explore before we were expected at our son’s home in Omaha.  So, as usual I didn’t follow the shortest route or those that are heavily traveled.  We headed north on US Hwy 83 from North Platte.  Along the way we stopped to visit with these great looking horses…

Soon after entering Logan County Nebraska, we came to the towns of Gandy and Stapleton.  I borrowed both of these photos from the Internet.  Gandy, with a population of 31 residents, is situated about 2 miles east of Stapleton.  Gandy’s population has never been higher than 194 residents, and it used to be the county seat for Logan County.  But in 1912, a Union Pacific rail spur bypassed Gandy and arrived in Stapleton. 

In 1920, the county seat was moved from Gandy to Stapleton.  The latter has never been a big town either.  At its peak in 1930, Stapleton had a population of just 431…now its citizen’s only number 299.  Note the low lying tan building at the right of the second photo.  That’s the Logan County Courthouse…smallest county courthouse I’ve ever seen.

Logan County was founded in 1885 and it was named for General John A. Logan, an American Civil War general on the Union side.  He had a very distinguished career and when he died, he was well enough regarded that his body lied in state in the US Capitol rotunda.  Learn more about General Logan at John A. Logan - Wikipedia.


         ·         The total population of Logan County is roughly 760…down from 1,596 in 1920.  The county covers 571 square miles.  

         ·         There are 12 counties in Nebraska with populations of less than 1,000.  There are 5 with fewer residents than Logan County…Hooker, Grant, McPherson, Arthur and Blaine. 

         ·         The county in the USA with the fewest residents is Loving County Texas…population 134.  Kalawao County Hawaii is smaller but it’s not a true county.  It was Hawaii’s former leper colony.

And of course, the Logan County Fair and Rodeo grounds are located close to Stapleton along US Hwy 83.  The first annual Harvest Festival and Frontier Sports event was held here in September of 1912.  It is referred to as “Nebraska’s Biggest Little Rodeo”.  Lots of cowboys and cowgirls in attendance...

The annual Logan County Fair held here features 4-H and open class exhibits as well as horse, livestock and small animal shows.  On fair weekend, there is a parade down Main Street in town with a big pork breakfast on Saturday morning and free barbecue sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce later the same day.

I guess that that cowboy is giving the other fella a ride.  The rodeo and the western way of life is still alive in Logan County.  Their rodeo has continued to grow and expand over the years… This 2-day event in Stapleton features a 2-person ranch team ‘sort’, team roping, miniature pony races, a wild horse race, mutton bustin’, a chicken scramble and ranch rodeo.

FYI, ranch sorting or a ranch team sort is a western equestrian sport that pits a team of two riders on horseback against the clock.  The riders have to work efficiently to cut out the correct cattle from the herd and drive them into the pen while keeping the wrong numbered cattle out.  The team with the best time wins…

The Rodeo and Fairgrounds is also the traditional home for Logan-McPherson High School Rodeo and the Stapleton Junior Rodeo.

To learn more about Logan County’s “Biggest Little Rodeo”, you can go to

I thought that it would be appropriate to end this post with a couple more photos of horses relaxing in Nebraska’s grasslands.  The USA has about 9,200,000 horses.  We have around 206,000 in Tennessee…or 1 horse for every 33 people.  But Nebraska has 180,000 horses and a much smaller population…so they have a horse for every 11 people!

We sure took a lot of horse photos on this trip…which made Laurie a very happy wife!

Just click on any of the photos to enlarge them…

Thanks for stopping by for a visit!

Take Care, Big Daddy Dave