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BRAN 41  |  June 4 – 10, 2023

BRAN 41 ROUTE

“Nebraska’s Greatest Show on 2 Wheels”

BRAN has a long and rich history of riding through out our state’s cities, towns and villages. Our typical routes start from west and return to the east as our typical wind patterns come from the west and blow to the east. In the more recent years, we have typically rotated every third year between Northern, Central, and Southern routes.

For BRAN41, we chose a Southern route to respond to rider requests for shorter days that could give them more time to spend in the overnight towns. In additional to our traditional 7-day ride, this route also lets us continue to offer the 3 and 4 day options that proved very popular last year. We feel this allows riders with limited vacation time options to customize their ride selection.

Please note that, while unlikely, exact route is subject to change due to unforeseen circumstances such as road closures, etc.

BRAN Day 1 | Benkelman to Cambridge

This year’s starter town is Benkelman. Originally called “Collinsville” in honor of one of its early settlers, Moses Collins, the town was renamed Benkelman by the railroad to honor another first settler (a stock raiser), J.G. Benkelman. Benkelman is the county seat of Dundy County (represented by the prefix 76 in the Nebraska license plate system). One of the community’s feel-good stories is that, after a carnival franchise stopped coming to town, several locals banded together to travel around the nation to amass a collection of rides and games to be enjoyed at the Dundy County Fair.

Start Town: BenkelmanNE

End Town: Cambridge, NE

Total Miles: 80.6 mi

Elevation Gain: 1,719 ft

Elevation Loss: 2,434 ft

Max. Grade: 3.6%

Max. Loss: -4.9%

BRAN Day 2 | Cambridge to Alma

You will begin Day 2 of your ride in Cambridge. Hiram Doing, the first settler of the area (circa 1871), built a cabin in the area that would become Cambridge and named it Northwood. Three years later, in 1874, the town was established under the name of Medicine Creek following the post office’s construction. Two years later, Doing sold his claim to J. W. Pickle, who renamed the area “Pickletown.” Finally, after the railroad was built through the area in 1880, the town was renamed Cambridge by officials. The present name seeks to honor Cambridge, Massachusetts, or the old university town of Cambridge, England. A hidden gem of the area is Medicine Creek State Recreation Area and its modern lakeside cabins The city also boasts the Cambridge Museum

Start Town: Cambridge, NE

End Town: Alma, NE

Total Miles: 49.9 mi

Elevation Gain: 552 ft

Elevation Loss: 840 ft

Max. Grade: 2.6%

Max. Loss: -2.1%

BRAN Day 3 | Alma to Red Cloud

Day 3 starts in Alma. Alma, founded in 1871 by a group of Union Pacific workers (Mark Coad, N.P. Cook, and Thomas Murrin) originally from Cheyenne, Wyoming, was named in honor of a daughter of N.P. Cook. It is the county seat of Harlan County (represented by the prefix 51 in the Nebraska license plate system).

Start Town: AlmaNE

End Town: Red Cloud, NE

Total Miles: 45.7 mi

Elevation Gain: 2,049 ft

Elevation Loss: 2,311 ft

Max. Grade: 2.7%

Max. Loss: -3.9%

BRAN Day 4 | Red Cloud to Hebron

Day 4 is one of the cultural high points of this year’s ride. The county seat of Webster County (represented bythe prefix 45 in the Nebraska license plate system), Red Cloud was named after the famous Oglala Lakota leader Red Cloud. Red Clouds claim to fame is that it was the birthplace of Willa Cather, who is celebrated for her novels about life on the Great Plains.Today the Nebraska Historical Society operates her home and the Cather Museum as the Willa Cather State Historic Site. The Starke Round Bar, the largest round barn in the United Stales (130 feet wide) that was actually used on a working dairy farm is, located east of town. The Webster “County Historical Museum looks to preserve the county’s history.

Start Town: Red Cloud, NE

End Town: Hebron, NE

Total Miles: 54.8 mi

Elevation Gain: 1,936 ft

Elevation Loss: 2,182 ft

Max. Grade: 2.1%

Max. Loss: -3.5%

BRAN Day 5 | Hebron to Wilber

Hebron was named by pioneers affiliated with the Disciples of Christ after Hebron of Palestine, a biblical city located in a beautiful valley, much like the Little Blue River’s beautiful valley. It is the county seat of Thayer County (represented by the prefix 32 in the Nebraska license plate system). The town’s most notable attraction is the World’s Largest Covered Porch Swing, which stretches 32 feet long and can fit roughly 25 adults. Governor Pete Ricketts named the city “Nebraska’s Porch Swing Capital” on June 1, 2016.

Start Town: HebronNE

End Town: Wilber, NE

Total Miles: 55.1 mi

Elevation Gain: 1,856 ft

Elevation Loss: 1,996 ft

Max. Grade: 2.8%

Max. Loss: -3.2%

BRAN Day 6 | Wilber to Seward

Wilber has always been a favorite for our riders, and we are happy to have it be a part of this year’s ride as well. The county seat of Saline County (represented by the prefix 22 in the Nebraska license plate system) and the “Czech Capital of the U.S. A.,” Wilber was named for Professor C. D. Wilber, the man responsible for platting the town in 1872. The city’s annual Czech Days festival draws in over 40,000 every year. The Wilber Czech Museum aims to preserve Czech artifacts pertaining to the heritage of Nebraska’s early Czech settlers; One of the area’s quirkier attractions, the Les Vilda Presidential Museum and Library, is in a local outhouse. Les (jestingly) Vilda for President of the United States in 2008 as a member of the B.EE.R. Party. Be sure to have a kolache when you are in town!

Start Town: Wilber, NE

End Town: Seward, NE

Total Miles: 35.6 mi

Elevation Gain: 843 ft

Elevation Loss: 677 ft

Max. Grade: 2.6%

Max. Loss: -2.6%

BRAN Day 7 | Seward to Ashland

The last leg of your ride across Nebraska begins in Seward. The county seat of Seward County (represented by the prefix 16 in the Nebraska license plate system), Seward was named after the county in which it resides. The county was named for William H. Seward, the United States Secretary of State under Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Andrew Johnson. Seward is home to the World’s Largest Time Capsule, which houses over 5,000 items. In 1979, Congress named Seward “America’s Official Fourth of July City.” Concordia University, a private Lutheran university, was established here in 1894 and contains the Bartels Museum (minerals, fossils, rocks), and the Marxhausen Gallery of Art. The Nebraska National Guard Museum is in Seward.

Our finish town for this year’s ride is Ashland. Mr. Argyle named this town after Ashland, the estate of Henry Clay, who was a founder of both the National Republican Party and the Whig Party. He received many electoral votes for president in 1824, 1832, and 1844. The town is home to the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum, a Cold War-era Museum that boasts the largest collection of Cold War aircraft in the United States, as well as the Willow Point Gallery (sometimes referred to as the Gene Roncka Gallery). It was also the birthplace of Astronaut Clayton Anderson, a member of the ISS Expedition 15 crew. Eugene T. Mahoney State Park boasts an aquatic center, numerous trails, an observation tower, and sites to go sledding and ice skating come wintertime.

Start Town: SewardNE

End Town: Ashland, NE

Total Miles: 50.4 mi

Elevation Gain: 2,208 ft

Elevation Loss: 2,616 ft

Max. Grade: 3.6%

Max. Loss: -3.5%

Thanks to Visit531Nebraska!

The Visit531Nebraska book is the most comprehensive guide to Nebraska’s 531 incorporated communities. It’s a travel guide, log, history book, and living photo album featuring unique content on every one of Nebraska’s towns. Jam-packed with restaurant recommendations, information on festivals, museums, recreation areas, and more!

Check them outline at https://wandermorepublishing.com/ 

BRAN 41 SPONSORS

If you are interested in sponsoring, supporting, or volunteering for BRAN 41, please CONTACT US!