Ogallala, NE

I’m biking east along I-80 and today I’m in Ogallala, Nebraska.

This weekend I racked up almost 60km and so I feel like I’m making a lot of progress, but when I map it to the size of Nebraska, it’s really not much. Maybe I’m 20% in?

One thing I learned when I moved to California is how water truly shapes human lives here. In cities, it’s less pronounced, but when you fly and watch the land from the sky, you can’t miss it. Picture below is the mountain range near San Jose. North is left. Notice how you only see trees in slopes facing north where sunlight is limited, or irrigated farmlands.

That the entire California central valley had become a productive farmland is a testament to the incredible work by … whom, I don’t know.

If you are interested in more about the epic battle between the mankind and water in this part of the world, I highly recommend Cadillac Desert:

Looking at the map, apparently that is also largely true in this part of Nebraska, too. This 500km/300mi section of I-80 runs along a small river, not because a highway needed a river, but because a river attracted settlers 200 years ago, which gave birth to towns, and a highway does need to go through towns. That’s how water still controls us.

From here to Omaha, the land appears to gradually become wet. Green starts to spread beyond the narrow river band, and eventually dominates the entire land. I wonder if I would notice that if I’m actually biking on the ground.

(This trip is virtual, not physical)

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