We have completed one month on the road and we haven’t killed each other yet! This bodes well for the next 11 months though we are still learning and adapting to this new lifestyle. No matter how much research, reading of blogs, and prepping you do, it’s not until you get out here and do it, do you really find out what it is like to live and travel in a motorhome full-time.
Lots of the blogs we read talked about dealing with weekend campers. We had been one of those weekend campers for the previous 15 years so we really thought the crowded campgrounds, noisy kids, and smoky campfires wouldn’t bother us at all. Well, as it turns out, after having a campground to yourself all week long, the influx of hordes of screaming kids and people who do not know how to build a fire can be eye opening! This past week we were in Waco, NE at the Double Nickle Campground. This campground is right off the I80 so it was a great place for one nighters and just far enough from Omaha to make it a great weekend campground for families. When we arrived we were virtually the only people in the park and for most of the week we would get several RV’s in for the night but they would all clear out by noon. Then on Thursday night RVs started to arrive in mass and by Saturday noon the place was hopping!
Taking our cues from all those blogs, we had taken advantage of the pool and other amenities during the week and we planned our outings and shopping to be over the weekend to avoid as much of the crowd as possible. As in most of the privately owned campgrounds, the sites were fairly close together. It’s all down to their bottom line, the more they can fit on their property the more profit they can make. Unfortunately, the rig beside us for the weekend was a family of about 10 in a huge 5th wheel trailer. They smoked (grandpa smoked stogies!) and did not want to smoke in their vehicle so instead they had their picnic table under our window and would sit outside and light up. Now it is their right to do so, they paid for their spot and this was not a smoke-free campground. We had to adapt …. even though the weather was finally cool enough to have our windows open we were forced to close them. This was also the family that did not understand how to build a smoke free campfire and they lit off what seemed to be a smoke bomb each night they were there. Again, it is up to us to adjust …. and to be honest I am sure our family had some pretty smoky fires in our early camping.
But during the week this campground was perfect, run by a young couple taking an older campground and bringing it back to it’s glory. Close to the things we wanted to see, easy access off the highway, and for the most part quiet.
We were out in the middle of the plains with corn, soybean and sorghum fields surrounding us on almost every side except for the golf course nestled between I80, the campground and the next corn field. We stuck to the mini golf at the park but enjoyed watching the duffers search for their balls not just in the ruff but out-of-bounds too.
One of the amazing things about this area of Nebraska were the butterflies …. they were everywhere …. by the thousands! When we weren’t watching the butterflies, the bunnies were scampering about the lawn.
We checked out the Rail to Trails website and found a nice bike trail just north of Waco in Seward, NE. Though a short ride, it was a real gem and we truly enjoyed the trail, creek, and flower gardens along the ride. On our way back to the campground we took the back roads …. the long, straight, gravel and mud roads through the fields. This land is fairly flat so we could see miles and miles of corn.
Our first outing for the week was to the Pioneer’s Park in Lincoln, NE. What we thought would be a nice morning jaunt before a little shopping turned into a 6 mile trek. We wanted to get to the nature center but we parked on the opposite side of the park. When we asked for directions the 20 something young man said “oh yeah, it’s just down this path at the end of the road, very walkable.” We did make it to see the bison but were a bit worn the next day!
On our way out of the park we found a fabulous restaurant, Lee’s Chicken, the oldest operating restaurant in Nebraska. They have preserved the original decor so it felt like we had stepped back in time. Plus it had the BEST Chicken we’ve ever had!
One of the challenges we have on the road is that Joanna is both gluten and dairy free. It can be a hard to find some of the products she uses so we always ask the camp hosts for suggested places to shop. In Lincoln, after our morning adventure on the prairie, we found Fresh Thyme and Joanna was so excited to find so many things she could eat and she filled the freezer!!
To get a bit of real country flavor we went to the York County Fair. It was a perfect small county fair with kids, animals, rides, food, and country music. The Cattleman’s Association had a steak dinner that was delicious! It was small but a great example of country life.
The surreal moment at the fair came when we walked into the exhibit barn only to find a complete display of Respironics CPAP masks!
We headed out on Monday after the bustling weekend to the other side of Nebraska to Ogallala, the cowboy capital of the NE. We planned only one night so we hit the highlights of the Petrified Wood Gallery and the Crystal Palace Saloon. This was a bit of the old west preserved for the tourists. Ogallala was the end of the Texas cattle drives and has quite a history of gunfights and real frontier life.
We are now settled in the wide open spaces of Wyoming along the North Platte River. We got in early as they are expecting millions to descend on WY for the eclipse. This week we will also attend the Wyoming State Fair and exploring the area before the masses arrive.
Till next time!