Do what Yossarian says. Hwy 2 is not bad at all. The Nebraska National Forest is a neat stop, and there is good food on the East side of Thedford. Brownlee Rd is a must do if you are heading that way.
Lots of places to camp, and most small towns have camping available in parks or fairgrounds. I know there are some off the beaten path campgrounds that are almost never occupied, but I can't remember who has posted them... boy, I'm lots of help