Nebraska’s state slogan is “Honestly, it’s not for everyone.” No joke. We didn’t believe it either, which is why we spent some time reviewing primary and secondary sources (thank Katie’s history professors for this one). When they changed it in 2018, the Omaha World-Herald gave the run down and even Colbert gave his always wonderful take on the new slogan. All this to say, Nebraska is more interesting and beautiful than we thought. Also, if visiting in summer, expect ticks.
After leaving Colorado, it happened. We reached the point where endless fields of corn and soybean (we think) plants surround the highway. And more dead deer than we’ve ever seen in our lives. Nebraska should seriously consider some sort of safe animal crossing bridges so those deer can destroy crops without fear of death by car.
It was a long travel day, so we decided to stop a couple of times to explore. Our first stop was a free outdoor museum in Ogallala. Front Street Museum is likely pretty neat, but being that we are traveling in the time of Covid-19 and on a Sunday, it was all closed up. We were able to park our rig and check out the permanent outdoor pieces, which were neat, so it wasn’t all bad.
We then ventured to Cody Park in North Platte and walked around in the very hot afternoon heat. We found a concession stand and decided to get a soft serve cone, which pleased our little humans very much. We then found the animal enclosure and very much enjoyed seeing the elk wade through the water, the itty bitty baby deer, and the herons. Then it was time to venture on to our home for the week.
Windmill State Park and the 4th of July
This state park is really nice, though there is a bit of a litter issue in the many lakes/ponds that are the draw to the park. We spent our days roaming the grounds, exploring the nearby town of Kearney, finding ticks crawling on us, enjoying all the bird sounds, catching (and releasing) fish and toads, and some swimming. We also enjoyed a brewery Covid-19 style, with takeout food and a pack of their beer.
This place will always hold a special place in our hearts because it is where we first saw fireflies. Our 5-year-old noticed them while trying to keep himself awake at bedtime. Then he became so incredibly excited it took him a solid additional hour to fall asleep. The next night we let both kiddos stay up incredibly late so they could enjoy chasing and catching fireflies. Much to our disappointment, we do not have any good photos of this magical event, because dusk, lightening bugs, and running children make for some poor quality photos.
Oh and the 4th of July happened. We celebrated by making and eating a delicious mixed berry apple pie as a family and then putting our very tired children to sleep early.
Indian Cave State Park and a Birthday
Our next adventure was in the South East corner of Nebraska, along the Missouri River. Indian Cave State Park was really beautiful and full of potential adventures. Due to an incredible number of ticks in the short grass near our home, we decided not to venture on the hiking trails that had tall grass in and around the trails. The draw to the park was the Indian Caves that are along the Missouri River, but unfortunately a storm damaged the steps, so we did not get to see them. We found some playgrounds, which were wonderful, enjoyed the scenic drive, and the overall feel and beauty of the park.
We also celebrated our youngest child’s 3rd birthday! He wanted cinnamon rolls for breakfast (with quite a bit of influence from big brother), he awoke to a couple small gifts and his special birthday banner, we sang happy birthday at least twice, and enjoyed delicious peanut butter chocolate cupcakes from a random grocery store bakery. He is very much enjoying his big boy status too, even if Katie is struggling with her baby not being a baby anymore.
Alas, the cell signal on our five networks was almost non-existent, Doug had to work outside with slow internet speeds, ticks were everywhere, and a storm was coming. So for the first time on our almost year-long journey, we picked up and moved our home on wheels early. And thus, our time in Nebraska ended as abruptly as this blog post.
Stay tuned for our Missouri and Illinois adventures!
CURRENT ADVENTURE STATS:
On the road: 11 1/2 months
Miles towing our home: 8,262
Campgrounds visited: 55
Breweries visited: 33
National Parks visited: 15/62
National Monuments/Seashores/Historic Sites/etc.: 5
State Parks visited: 6