Road to Nowhere

Cutting across America’s heartland, US‑83 remains a must-do long-distance byway—transnavigating this broad, odd nation without once grazing a conventional tourist destination.


Oakley (pop. 2,045), south and west of I-70 and lined up along historic US-40, is an old, big-time ranching and railroad town, featuring lots of utilitarian architecture, massive diesel engines, farm supply stores, and railroad tracks. The big event here, the Fick Fossil Museum (700 W. 3rd St., 785/671-4839, daily, free), just off US-83, features yet more unique exhibits: 11,000 fossilized shark teeth, a sod house, collections of pressed wildflowers, and some perfectly garish mosaics, including the Great Seal of the President of the United States, made entirely out of the aforementioned shark’s teeth. It was created by—who else?—Mrs. Fick. The local history and paleontology exhibits are quite good, too.

The I-70 Business Loop (old US-40) offers the usual array of cafés and motels.

Fick Fossil Museum (700 W. 3rd St.)