Snowy Range Pass

Snowy Range Pass

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stop at Cabela's in Sidney, NE

Before the final leg to Colorado Springs, we made a one night stop in Sidney, NE to visit the home of Cabela’s first mega store and world headquarters. We were here in the mid 1980’s and really enjoy looking at all the latest outdoor, hunting, fishing and camping gear on display along with the large displays of wildlife.

They have an onsite campground, which of necessity is right along the interstate. The facilities are good and it is located right between the store and the world headquarters buildings. After spending our fair share at the store, we walked the campground and noticed a most unusual couple of rigs in the park. As luck would have it, as we were passing by, the woman from the rig came out and we struck up a conversation. It turns out that she and her husband run a harvesting business and spend six months or so a year traveling the farming belt harvesting crops with a crew of American workers. They hand built their RV from a 48’ tractor trailer. We were invited in for a tour.

It has been turned into a two floor home with two/three bedrooms/ office. Living area, kitchen, laundry, and lots of storage space all running with home style equipment. Since they always stay in campgrounds, there is no generator. They have a second trailer that is used as a bunk house for the crew that travels with them. It was a very interesting visit with a very friendly host-Bev.

Next stop- Colorado Springs.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


The trip across Nebraska can be a bit tedious and repetitive scenery wise. Since we have gone this way a number of times over the last 20 plus years, we knew our next stop would be Ogallala. There is a very nice campground that caterer’s to those passing thru. It is clean, level, has all the amenities including a pool, free Wi-Fi. The owner is also very friendly and knowledge about what RV’s are looking for.

Ogallala is perhaps best known for its hay day period as a major end of the trail for Texas cattle drives. Hundreds of thousands of cattle were driven north on the trails made famous in Hollywood movies. It was known as the cowboy capital during this period, where trail hands could let off steam and enjoy the amenities of the town. This led to many a gun fight and death. For a brief decade between 1875 and 1884, the town had its glory days. The town still prospers but lacks the excitement of those wild days. Indeed, it can be downright quiet here. We drifted to the downtown area during what we thought would be rush hour, only to find the streets deserted. We had the whole place to ourselves. Most stores are only open between 9AM and 4PM.,_Nebraska

In our view, there are three things the first time visited should see in this town.

The Boot Hill Cemetery reflects some of the history of the town’s wild days and has been preserved for future generations including a monument dedicated to the cattle drive days-with a statute of the “Trail Boss” and is modeled after a real trail boss named “Lep” Sanders. He made the over 1000 mile journey more than 15 times. As an aside, he was also one of the first white men to see the carnage after the battle of The Little Big Horn, where General Custer and his entire troop were wiped out.

The tourist industry has tried to preserve some of the history of this era in “Front Street”. Here you can dine in a saloon, visit a museum of local history and shop for souvenirs of the city. Also, every night during the summer season you can see a show about the town’s history. I can best describe this as a cross between a high school play and a vaudeville act. It is all done by local high and college students. If you come with the right frame of mind, it is a lot of fun. This was our third time in 24 years.

The third pace to visit is Lake Mcconaughy located north of town. This is the largest reservoir in the state and was formed by damming the Platte River. Besides the irrigation and electric power generation benefits, it provides a great deal of recreational opportunities. The visitor center provides lots of information of the dam, lake and importance of water to Nebraska.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Heading west

Before I start my latest tale, I want to mention that I have been reading a number of blogs concerning the art of blogging and have been very interested in the give and take on the subject. I started this blog when we went full time almost four years ago to keep the family informed about what we were up to. Since then, I have found many people are reading the blog but never comment or mention that they have read it until it just happens to come up in passing.

I have avoided, I hope, some of the things that seem to be common complaints, like a litany of my daily regimen or even most of the trials and tribulations of the RV life. I started this as a log of our adventures and hopefully pointing out the many great places in this country to experience.

I only recently began to even think about what a reader might want. I was truly writing for myself. I also realize that I have not paid enough attention to the blogging process. Until this discussion of blogs, I had hardly noticed the followers list. So, belatedly I want to thank those who have joined the list, like other writers, I like to know that someone is actually reading them.

While I have been reading many blogs and occasionally commenting on them, I never thought about becoming a follower until recently. Perhaps the way I read them has led me down this path. I gather the blogs in the Google reader and read any new posts in that sterilized format, only occasionally going to the blog site.

I hope all this leads to a better blog.

Now back to the journey. After nearly six weeks of rallies, we are back on the solo trail. Leaving Forest City, Iowa, we are heading west towards Colorado Springs. On the way to our first stop, we were starkly reminded of the things that can go wrong on the road and in life. As we were transitioning from interstate to another, we rounded a curve to find a flagger frantically trying to stop traffic. Coming to a stop without contacting any of the four wheelers skidding around, we witnessed the results of poor judgment on the roadway.

A life flight helicopter settled onto the highway a few yards in front of us to retrieve the rider of a motorcycle who took the turn way to fast and landed in a very deep ditch. We had seen him and his fellow riders flying past us at around 75 MPH a short time before. While that was the posted speed limit, this was a very tight curve with warning signs. Apparently, he failed to heed the warning. The good news, he needed the helicopter and not the wagon. It was also a good reminder for the rest of us to pay attention and try to use some common sense out there.

We are thankful that we have arrived safe and sound in a pleasant campground in Waco, Nebraska.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Off the beaten path in Iowa

GNR is history. We remain camped at the rally grounds due to heavy rains last night and watching, as some of the motorhomes became stuck in the mud when they tried to leave. This results in a very large tow truck arriving to drag the unlucky ones to harder ground. Since we are in no big hurry yet and the forecast for tomorrow and Sunday is sunny and warm, we are going to wait and hope the grounds dry up some in the next day or two. There is a chance for heavy rains again this evening. If that occurs, we will likely be here until sometime Sunday.

In the meantime, we cast around for something to do today and decided to see the largest bullhead fish located in Crystal Lake, Iowa. This proved to be a short diversion, so we headed a bit south to the town of Britt, Iowa-home of the HOBO Museum and scene of an annual HOBO convention in August that claims to have several thousand attendees, the majority of which, I believe, do not claim to be HOBO’s. The museum has a collection of HOBO artifacts along with a written and verbal history of this unique part of American history.

I would not go out of the way to visit, but certainly interesting if you happen to be in the area.