Day 13- Gordon to Nenzel, around 63.35 miles (9-13-17)
We have been sporadically following the Cowboy Trail (rail-to-trail) since Chadron. (The Cowboy Trail runs 321 miles across northern Nebraska, following the old Chicago & Northwestern rail route. The railroad called this the “Cowboy Line.”)
We made it to today’s destination of Nenzel, (village in Cherry County, population 20). Vic and his brother (Father Art) made arrangements for us to stay in the rectory tat St. Mary’s Catholic Church. There is one bed at the rectory, which Vic will use. I will sleep on my air mattress on the floor. It is so nice to have a warm shower and a safe/dry/quiet place to sleep!
Our host, Father Lou Nollett, drove us to Kilgore (village in Cherry County, population 77) for dinner (8 miles east of Nenzel), as there was not place to eat in Nenzel. Interestingly, his great-great-great grandfather, George Nenzel, founded the town. The Nollett family has a winery here: the Niobrara Valley Vineyards on the Diamond Lazy J Ranch.
Father Lou’s brother (Father Neal Nollet) came in to meet us and chatted for awhile.
The radio indicates stormy weather conditions for the days to come.
6 hours, 5 minutes
Average speed: 10.4 mph
* Named for the “rail boss” in 1885, James Merriman.
* A newer attraction is the Bowring Ranch State Historical Park. Managed by the State Game and Parks Commission, it is a “working ranch,” a living memorial to ranching and the Bowrings.
* Cottonwood Lake State Recreation Area, east of town, provides recreational facilities for camping, fishing, boating, and a picnic area.
Learn more about Merriman
* Cody’s slogan: A Town Too Tough To Die!
* The village was named for Thomas Cody, a railroad foreman (NOT Buffalo Bill Cody, who stopped there once).
Learn more about Cody
* Kilgore has had several name changes: It was originally Boulware (1883). In 1885 it ws renamed Georgia. In 1904 it was changed to Kilgore, in honor of the pioneer family of Henry and Alice Kilgore.
Learn more about Kilgore
* Nenzel is only 5 miles from the South Dakota border.
* St. Mary’s Catholic Church is the hub of activity for Nenzel, and for surrounding towns of Kilgore and Cody.
* The first resident of the community was George Nenzel, who filed a homestead claim in the fall of 1885. He spent that winter in La Crosse, WI, but returned the following spring to build a house. This was the first building within the limits of the present village, named in his honor.
Learn more about Nenzel