The City of Neligh received a surprise visit Wednesday from New Zealand native Rob Cope.
Cope, a carpenter-turned-author, is currently touring the United States to promote his new book. While crossing the country, he has had the chance to see many different cities and national treasures, while meeting many great people. He has toured the country with some clothes, a tent, and his refrigerator.
Cope began the journey three weeks ago to promote his second book, "If Your Wife Kicks You Out, Grab the Fridge and Run!". The book is the result of his experiences hitchhiking across New Zealand, fridge in tow, as a way of coping with his divorce.
"I knew that I couldn't have gotten through the divorce if I just went and got a one bedroom apartment," said Cope. "So I decided I'd go do something a little bit mental and publicize my first book as well as do something mental to stay sane. So I grabbed my fridge and hitchhiked 3,000 miles across New Zealand."
Cope's first book, "Men Wanted: A Hazardous Journey", is about manhood in his experience and what it means to be a man. Around the same time the book was written, he and his wife divorced. He began his journey across New Zealand as proof that there is no right way to deal with divorce. He enjoyed the trip so much that, a year later, he decided to take the trip across New Zealand again.
The two trips provided Cope with many crazy stories. He related those stories to the mental torment he felt during his divorce to produce his second book.
"I think anyone who has been through the end of a long-term relationship can appreciate some of the stuff in there," Cope Said. "Especially if you've got kids as well."
After going across his own country, he decided it was time to see the sights of a new country, and he chose the United States.
"So then I thought 'Man it would be really awesome to hitchhike from San Francisco to New York with a Fridge', this is a completely different kettle of fish out here," said Cope.
Cope started his journey in San Francisco, but did not take a straight path to get to Nebraska. As he is hitchhiking his way around, he has willingly seen the sights that anyone that picked him up would show him. He has seen places such as Reno, Tahoe, Yosemite, Death Valley, Vegas, Salt Lake City, and Mount Rushmore before reaching the Cornhusker State. He estimates he has gone over 2,500 miles so far in his journey.
Alisha Kazemba, of Verdigre, and Tyler Dimig, of Niobrara, had been following Cope's journey on his Project WildMan Facebook page and when they found out he was nearby, they decided to help him out. They contacted him through Facebook and picked him up in Norfolk. He agreed to see the sights of northeast Nebraska, in particular in the Verdigre area before heading north into South Dakota. From there, he will continue his journey towards New York.
Cope plans to see other cities such as Chicago and Detroit before finishing in New York in three weeks. He does have an ultimate goal before he returns home.
"I need to get on the Jimmy Fallon show," said Cope. "I want to plug the fridge in on the Jimmy Fallon show to see if it still works."
Since he has chronicled his journey on Facebook, he has gathered quite a following on his page, with over 1,600 new likes on his page in the past week. He does regular video updates on his page for his followers.
He has one part of the United States in particular that he really enjoys.
"Yosemite was amazing," Cope said. "Yosemite always blows my mind."
Cope has had a great time meeting new people on his journey as well. He says people have been incredibly generous and hospitable throughout his time in the country, in particular in Nebraska. People have offered him rides, food, a place to sleep, and some have even given him donations to help him along his journey.
After he completes his trip to New York, Cope intends to return home and continue his life as a writer. He hopes to begin selling enough books to make a full-time living as an author, with carpentry as a back-up option. If his dedication to his books is as strong as the will power to drag a refrigerator across the United States, he may have a great literary future ahead.