It’s all still there!


    Derusha photographing OLD HWY 83, Nebraska, Latitude 42.1773 Longitude 100.5291, June 2015.

I had always thought of Nebraska as flat, but I was flat out wrong!  Nebraska was named by The Otoe People “Nebraskier” meaning flat water.  Its lush green hills are really sand dunes and waters flow from fresh springs and ponds around them. 

The first time I photographed the old highway 83, I was cutting my way through Nebraska heading north from North Platte to get to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to see family and friends.  I found this road in the drizzling rain and I spent hours photographing while hooded up and without GPS.

In June when I went back to reshoot the road with a different camera, I didn’t have the right location and my stubbornness told me I didn’t need it, I actually ended up going 1000 miles out of my way to find it.

The colors of the road on HWY 83 change every few miles. It’s a beautiful drive heading south from Murdo, South Dakota HWY 90. The hilly Rosebud Reservation offers views above the green hills that flow like the sea without billboards. Every up, down, and turn on the road, I saw something stunning.  From South Dakota into Nebraska while driving on the blue black almost purple tarred road, I see on my left a secluded pond between the wind swept shiny grass hills, a lean, strong, shirtless torso in jeans, with long black hair flowing, and an arm casting a line out into the water. HAHAHA, thinking back I’m surprised a fish didn’t pop out and grab it!  Turning along the next bend the road shifts into another color, soft dun grey, then to my left another sweet vision, two tail swishing horses leaning into one another on top of a hill, framed by two other hills. I laugh! I shake my head, as the road now starts to turn a pink strawberry ice-cream color with bright yellow lines, I see the hills bending towards a stream with a few fat cattle and a young calf splashing in towards its mother. WOW! WOW! WOW! I say out loud. 

Moving along further south of 83 from Valentine, Nebraska on the soundless smooth pavement, I suddenly see broken pieces of a road piled up on what appears to be on the old Highway 83 on the West side and my heart sinks, I wonder is my favorite part of the road GONE?!  I think to myself and why not?! It wasn’t really used for driving anymore, just paint testing for the road lines.  I begin to see piles of black, pink, and grey sand on the old highway.  I continue to drive while accepting the fate that it was too late and pacifying myself into thinking well…. it was once in a lifetime, it’s all fine, I have good shots already, at least I can get the proper GPS.  After a few more rounding curves, suddenly the road bends right and my eyes start to refocus and I start to see the old 83 unveiling itself like scaly dinosaur.  I start holding my breath, and suddenly the old highway 83 starts to appear weaving in and out of the ground, disappearing then reappearing and flashing painted lines start to appear, and my heart starts beating faster, I slowly breath out.  I say out loud it’s all still there!

I pull the car over in the hot sun.  No traffic, no worries, no hurries, and I begin to search for familiar compositions. Just when I think, where is that one? I laugh out loud to find it right under my feet! HAHAHAHA, GPS, Check!

 If you would like to know more about this road see my series called Culture and See Life 


   OLD HWY 83 Nebraska view of the landscape, June 2015.