Wednesday, June 6, 2012
As we've traveled around the United States, we've gained a real appreciation for our country. The places and people across this country are awesome. While we appreciate it all, we can now say we've found our least favorite part of this great nation. And that is Nebraska. As native Kansans, we're quite familiar with the Cornhusker State. We've visited several times. But, this week was a first for Bullwinkle, Rocky and the cats. Yep. It's taken us nearly three years of fulltime travel to get here. (And, there's a reason for that!)
To be fair, Omaha and Lincoln are fine cities. We enjoyed our two-night stay in the capital. The capitol building is most impressive. We would recommend the free tour to any visitor. We walked away with a new appreciation for this skyscraper on the the plains.
The stately Governor's mansion sits adjacent to the capitol, which makes for a mighty short commute!
You can't pass through Lincoln without getting a big dose of Cornhusker red. As we passed by Memorial Stadium, we were reminded of an old Big 12 joke.
Q: You know what the big red N on the Nebraska football helmets stands for?
Our home in Lincoln was Camp-A-Way RV Park, which is conveniently located just off the interstate and minutes away from the University of Nebraska campus. A highlight of our stay was a quick visit with friends Steve and Cathy who pulled in Sunday night after a long drive from Colorado. We enjoyed catching up over tasty pizza and a couple of well-deserved cold beers. We had so much fun we forgot to take any pictures!
We were up and on the road out of Lincoln early Monday. We headed west on I-80 into the nothingness that is western Nebraska. We've heard plenty of people criticize western Kansas for its lack of interesting scenery. But, having made that drive dozens of times and this one once, we'll take western Kansas anytime! With nothing to look at out our Imax window, we kept an eye on the map and the day's destination: Sidney, Nebraska. (You might want to make note of the next town to the west on that map. Notice how short the distance is between the two? We'll get back to that.)
We pulled into our level, east-facing pull-through and settled in for our overnight stay. But, first, we had to do a little shopping.
You see, our campground was on the campus of the world headquarters of Cabela's. (In the middle-of-nowhere Nebraska! Who knew?) The corporate offices sit behind an 85,000 square-foot store and a 3-acre pond. We neither hunt nor fish, but we managed to keep ourselves entertained as we browsed through the very well-appointed store.
In front of the store sits a memorial to the Pony Express. As the sun set in the west, the eight flags represented the states that had stations along the route were flying in a stiff wind. The next afternoon's forecast called for a 30 to 40 mph winds across the Nebraska panhandle, so we made plans to be back on the road early and be out of the state before the winds kicked up.
The winds were calm as we pointed the moose west early yesterday morning. Our plan was to make the easy 150-mile drive and arrive in Fort Collins around noon. But, within minutes, our plans changed. About 10 miles west of our starting point, the breeze started to kick up. Our moose handles quite well in the wind. And, it did just that for the next 20 miles or so. Then, the breezes became gusts. The gusts became hefty sustained winds. Soon the hefty winds were accompanied by moose-battering gusts. All of this was hitting us broadside. Blowing dust blocked out the blazing sun. In a dim brown haze, visibility became sketchy. The moose rocked and rolled. The wind pounded on his streetside slide until it literally roared. Paul checked his mirror and spotted our slide topper flapping in the gale force wind. We found the next exit and traveled back east to the nearest town, which was Kimball, Nebraska.
We pulled off at the Kimball exit and spotted two other motorhomes waiting out the gale force wind. The two men in their group had unhitched a toad and scouted out the campground in town. We became the tail end of a motorhome parade that passed through downtown Kimball. It must have been quite a sight. Of course, it was too darn windy for anyone to be out! We made our way to a former KOA on the east side of town. There was plenty of room at this place where the park owner says he usually only gets one RV in a day. Yesterday, he hit blowing paydirt! By mid-afternoon, there were six or eight rigs in the place. The wind howled all afternoon. We weren't where we had planned to be. But, we were safe. We are so grateful for the help of our fellow motorhomers for helping us find our way in the windstorm.
This morning, the winds were calm. So, we got out early. We made our way west and cheered as we crossed the state line into Wyoming. An hour or so later we tucked into our spot in Fort Collins. Happy to be out of Nebraska, we're looking forward to a month exploring Fort Collins and the Front Range of the Rockies.
It'll be a long time before we travel across the Cornhusker state!