Storm in the Sand Hills

From a hilltop in Chadron Nebraska, we could see the thunderheads growing.  Far to the south of us, they were tall, billowy, purple-blue and sliding to the east.  The map showed two routes; US 385 south, a noted scenic route on the western side of the Sand Hills, and US 20 east.  385 went past Carhenge…an interesting idea.  Then, at Alliance, we could head east through the heart of the Sand Hills. Driving south the prairie was hot, and golden with the late afternoon sun.  But the thunderheads we growing;  virga hung below the clouds.  They were directly south.  That was where we were going.   20 miles below Chadron, a flash and boom rocked the van.  The car that was 1 mile ahead pulled over to the side of the road as it was engulfed in a downpour.  A torrential downpour lasted about 15 minutes. The cloud drove on to the north, and we drove south.  Another downpour, and we drove past Carhenge into Alliance in the rain.  It was approaching supper time so it seemed like a good idea to stop.  Not much in the way of service in the Sand Hills. No roadside picnic; stop for an early supper. Only Nebraska plates on the vehicles outside the resturant.  Inside, we received the “Strangers!” look from everyone facing the door.  The people on the other side of the table would turn politely to survey us.  I decided to keep my baseball cap on as all the local men had theirs on. A friendly hostess/waitress seated us in a vacant booth near the entrance.  She brought water and menus.  Loud...