The Oregon Trail

Roughly the midway point of US-20’s long cruise across Nebraska, Ainsworth (pop. 1,635) has something of an identity problem, if its slogans (“Welcome to the Middle of Nowhere” and “Where the Sandhills Meet the Niobrara”) are any guide. Ainsworth also calls itself the state’s “Country Music Capital” and hosts a popular concert and festival in early August. Ainsworth’s Middle of Nowhere Festival, held in June, is celebrated with a Main Street parade, a Wild West-style trail ride, and a black-powder rendezvous—where living-history fans reenact the muzzle-loading, fur-trapping frontier era. Whenever you come, eat big burgers at Big John’s Restaurant (1110 E. 4th St., 402/387-0500), along US-20.