15 October 2014

Across the U.S., Day 9 - Pawnee City (NE) to Kansas City (MO)

In the morning, my Bed & Breakfast's host Yvonne gave me a little tour around the neighborhood. Pawnee City, named after the Pawnee Indian tribe and incorporated in 1858, faces the typical challenge of rural depopulation. While the town currently has ~ 850 residents, it had up to 1,030 in the past. Many houses need serious maintenance...

... while others are in good shape and nicely decorated.

In Steinauer, (18 km north of Pawnee City, locally pronounced "Steener" and founded by the Swiss in 1850), we met with Paul Rohrbaugh. He is a local farmer and owner of Pawnee Pride Meats. He was on his way to the state capital Lincoln to deliver some meat and therefore, we could only briefly talk about his sustainable, grass-based meat production and farming methods.

St. Antony Catholic Church in Steinauer
Welcome to the Amish!

On my way to Kansas, I stopped at the curbside on Hwy 4 as I had spotted another farm that looked interesting to me. The owner happened to notice me and we started talking about the farm that his parents had started in 1956. They currently have 120 milk cows which get milked 2x/day and give ~ 70 lb/day. They are mainly fed with a mix of corn, soy beans and other crops + a special protein mix for best productivity. He suddenly invited me to have lunch with him, his wife, sister and mother. So, I met the other members of his family and we had a wonderful meal: beef (from their farm of course), potato gratin, carrots, apples with cinnamon and chocolate fudge & coffee for desert. I was touched by the kindness of this family and there were many more questions I had wanted to ask.

Welcome to Kansas!

When I finally got to Kansas City, I was really exhausted. But before I could put up my feet, I had to resolve several 1st world problem: a) the coffee maker in my room was missing its brew basket and it took the (not very friendly) front desk staff 20 min to fix this; b) the by then obviously annoyed staff had trouble providing me with enough coins so I could get some laundry detergent from the dispenser and operate the washing machine. But all is good now. :-)

More to come.


  1. The challenges a traveler faces ... friendly hosts, unexpected meals, beautiful weather as it seems, missing coffee and coins ...

    Can't stop smiling and I'm glad it all goes well!

  2. Great experiences! Thanks for sharing!

  3. The first house could play an interesting part in a horror movie, though.