Camping in the Snowies

Camping in the Snowies

Friday, July 25, 2014

Home again after 16 days

Luci's next berth was at Pawnee Lake State recreation area. We had a level paved surface with a concrete path to a nice round picnic table and electric hookup. The site was located on a hill above the lake with shade from mature trees and screened a bit by lilac shrubs. Just below us was a horseshoe pit with a bench for seating. Up the hill was a restroom/shower building. There was plenty of hot water with good force and plastic matting on the floor of the shower. Nice plantings with flowers and benches for seating surrounded the shower building.

We were able to see the family in Lincoln and the parents at Legacy Estates. It was great to see them even for a brief visit. 
Indian cuisine at the Oven in the Haymarket with Matt, Jennifer, Katie and Daniel is always a treat for us. We stayed the night at their house since the weather was beastly hot and humid. I was able to get my huge sack of laundry done and still have time to visit.

We visited Dave's dad Ernie and Bonnie in their nice apartment and took Ernie to a doctor visit and another small errand before having dinner with them at Legacy. The food service staff had a table reserved with red cloth and china. We ordered off the menu and had a lovely meal with chocolate cake for dessert. 
A final visit to our kids and grand kids on the way back to the park. Happy Birthday to Katie and Daniel!

Back at Pawnee Lake, the temperature had moderated and we were able to sit outside and enjoy the remainder of the evening watching fireflies.

Up and away by 8:30 the next morning and we were home by early evening. Ross had hot Italian sausages with peppers and onions for us for dinner. Happy campers home again.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Sac City; McKee relatives; Barn Quilts

Sac City IA, a beautiful town of approx. 2500, is the home of Milo and Sally Lines. Sally is Dave's cousin on the McKee side. Their daughters and granddaughter also live in Sac City. Milo and Sally invited her sister Christy and husband "Tyke" Nyberg to visit while we were in Iowa so we had a cousin reunion. 

Luci was stationed at Riverside Park which had level pads, electricity and water, a clean restroom and shower house and lovely shade along the Raccoon River.

The camping area is part of the Sac County Fairgrounds and this beautiful Chautauqua building located in the park continues to be used for many events. 

Sac City is located on rolling hills above the river. Downtown buildings and many elegant, large Victorian style homes along the Main Street attest to its prosperity. A new library, hospital and clinic, swimming pool/water park and early childhood education center point to the pride that current citizens take in their community. Sally and Milo Lines being instrumental movers and shakers in this town are encouraging their girls to continue to push for a better community.
Sunday dinner at the Lines residence was a blast from our past as everyone gathered around the linen covered, china clad table for a delicious meal. Fresh sweet corn was on the menu. 
I took a video of all present 

I have a few still photos of the clan.
Sally and me at the lake house with Christy inside the screened porch.

      Milo and Tyke visiting by the lake.

Milo retired from the pharmacy business and Sally from nursing so they took up the next logical business to keep their hands busy. Now they are popcorn tycoons and Sac City has the worlds largest popcorn ball as a result. They own Noble Popcorn and produce Cedar Creek brand flavored popcorn in their ever expanding facility right there in town. Daughter Rhonda runs day to day operations but Milo and most all the Lines family lends a hand when needed. Here are some photos.

Product, process and production are described by Milo. Then on to their (his?) latest adventure.

The Scoop ice cream and soda fountain houses Milo's collection of pharmacy and Coca-Cola memorabilia.

The Scoop is open afternoon and evening for treats and birthday parties, coffee and conversation. Christy, Tyke, Sally, Milo, Dave and I enjoyed some great ice cream and conversation Sunday afternoon. 

Milo had some interesting paintings of barns in his Scoops office. We had noticed square quilt block looking decorations at the fairgrounds and now learn that this art project extends throughout the county and state.

 A map of Sac County with locations for 58 barn quilts.
 More info can be found at  

The project is sponsored by Iowa State as a 4H life skills project to promote tourism and restoration of old barns and corn cribs. Sac City resident Amy Peyton authored a book, Barn Quilts of Sac County, with proceeds going to Iowas 4H Foundation. The barn quilts are on a 4'X4'  or 8'X8' platform and are usually chosen and painted by the farm family. The local power company is engaged to attach the paintings to the barn. 

Here are some photos we took of the barn quilts at the Sac County fairgrounds.

We were quite taken with this project and looked closely for barn quilts as we left this nifty town and traveled south and east through Iowa on our way to Nebraska to see our kids, grand kids and our parents in Lincoln.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Tall Corn: Sweet Corn band in Iowa

Lush cornfields and soybeans march across the country on the drive from Antelope County in Nebraska to Ida County Iowa. The only difference we could see was that a lot of Nebraska agriculture is irrigated and the Iowa fields were not. 
                           Nebraska cornfield

                                     Iowa cornfield

We cross the mighty Missouri River at Decatur, NE over a former toll bridge, now showing its age.

Ida Grove IA is a farming town but also has manufacturing. We saw a nice golf course within the city limits and used wi-fi at the beautiful modern library. 

Although there is a campground in town, we chose to camp at Moorehead Park, a historical park with exhibits, an educational center, miles of trails (paved and unpaved) a fishing pond complete with resident swan, picnic shelters and a kids playground.

    Ida Grove grain bins as seen from the Moorehead Park road

                              Rough camping in a beautiful location

                               Solitary swan

On to the fairgrounds the next morning. Beautiful weather and green grass. Eric and April Wells and friends are setting up the performance area. Benches and lawn chairs for the audience along with food concessions and a wine tasting tent. Everyone shows up and brings along friends and relatives and music happens!

                         Eric Wells in charge. Sound check time.

Sweet Corn does a another great performance. Our relatives from Sac City, IA and Groton, SD are on hand to see and hear cousin Dave play banjo. After the show, Dave and I and Luci follow them to Sac City where we will spend some time visiting.
We are not sure when, if ever, the Sweet Corn band will play again. But this was fun and they still sound great.

Riverside Park, Neligh NE; Old friends and Sweet Corn

On this leg of our trip we leave Hwy 20 for Hwy 275 going east in Nebraska to Neligh.

Dave and I and our two little boys ( 2 years and 5 years) moved to Neligh in 1975 from Stromsburg, NE. Dave was the new band teacher at the high school. We lived here for only four years but made some lasting friendships. In 1975 Dave became a member of a bluegrass/country band that endures to this day. Jerry Schrader playing bass and singing any part needed,Gloria Christiansen playing guitar and vocal lead, and John Wells also on guitar and vocals. Sweet Corn was the name the band chose and who doesn't love sweet corn?

A young Dave Brinkman and even younger John Wells playing some tunes back in the day.

We parked Luci in the shade at Riverside Park. Electricity and water, a picnic table, showers and free wi-fi for $13 a night. 
Pretty soon friends show up for a visit and an airstream tour and even our Atkinson friends stop to play a tune with Dave.

Joyce and Jay Kelly from Atkinson. Dave wrote a tune he named "Kelly Reel" that he and Jay spent time learning to play together.

Sweet Corn practiced two evenings in preparation for a performance at the Ida County Fair in Iowa.
The second evening, Gloria and husband Brian hosted a pot luck for Sweet Corn and spouses and friends.

Gloria and Jerry

Don and Carolyn Weinman

Jim and Roxanne McNally

 Jerry and Bev Schrader

Our stay in Neligh finished, we packed up and again headed east. This leg of our trip is from Neligh to Ida Grove Iowa. 

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Going to Atkinson NE to see my Sis (and do laundry)

Still on Hwy 20 through lush cattle country in the Sandhills you cross small streams like the Minnechadusza and larger ones like the Niobrara. Here is a bridge across the Niobrara near Valentine.

Luci is stationed at the Mill Race park near Atkinson. This dam provided the water for the mill race long ago. Parts of the race are still in existence but the mill is gone.

Sandy lives here and takes care of the flower beds and raises vegetables in the big tubs. Looks great!

Sandy, Dave and I visit brother Robb, nephew Dustin and his girlfriend Jenna at Dustin's house near O'Neill NE. 

They will be moving in soon and are removing wallpaper and painting.

On the way back to Atkinson we pass tall corn and haystacks. Haystacks? Most hay is baled in big round or square bales nowadays. 

Even the ditches are in flower from good rains this year. Clover, yarrow, vetch, asters, puccoon, little pink something's and lead plant. Love beautiful Nebraska. 

Buffalo WY to Casper to Nebraska via US Highway 20

Leaving Buffalo, the beautiful Big Horn mountains are on our right as we travel south on I 25 stopping briefly in Casper for coffee. A left turn at Orin Junction gets us onto Highway 20 and heading east. Cattle and oil are major here but coal trains come and go paralleling our road from the Powder River coal mines to industry and power plants farther east. 
Into Nebraska we pull Luci and camp for the night at Fort Robinson State Park near Crawford NE with white bluffs, pine covered ridges and green fields.

Closing in on our campground, we stop to take a photo. 

Relaxing after a long days drive. A glass of wine, some dinner, a firefly, woodsmoke and a lovely yellow moon and we are done for the day. 

Big Horn Mountain Festival: "Under the Cottonwoods"

The Big Horn Mountain Festival at the Johnson County fairgrounds is an event Dave and I look forward to every year. Good friends, great music, camping and as I mentioned in the previous blog, good eats. Dave always reminds us that "If you eat good, you play good".
The fairground camping offers electricity and shade under magnificent large cottonwood trees plus eau de horse barn whiffs at times. The fairgrounds crew did a good job mowing so our campsite was tidy.
Our Montana/Tennessee friends, Jamie, Janet, Molly and Suzanne McGehee staked out our campsite with a "Means and Buckley Camp" banner and decked their 1972 Continental Silver Streak with flamingo and palm tree lights. Jill Flikkema's vintage camper was welcoming with a table, tablecloth, flowers and wooden chairs. Lon and Joann Mitchell from Rozet WY had their Jo-Bawbs Barbecue trailer and smoker set up for cooking ribs, chicken and brisket. Yum!
Dr. Doug Ezell came in next with his VW Van. Hot on his heels were Fred Buckley with his mom, Betty (alias Granny) and Elsie Means, all from Montana.
The Means bunch, Warrie, Sheri and Jacob plus Will MacLean from Laramie and Vern Billingsley from Douglas arrived in another vintage vehicle pulling a vintage horse trailer!
Last to arrive and hailed warmly by all was Reid Buckley completing our circle with his new Nash travel trailer.

Katelyn and Tony Swanson and Katie and Cole Flikkema had tents arranged on the outskirts of the camp circle and Reid's friend Tonya joined us as well.
Lots of picking and grinning and even some festival stage watching happened during the three days we were camped. 

Dave and Suzanne practice his new tune "Under the Cottonwoods" so named by Cole. 

Janet and Lon share a laugh. 

Foghorn String Band was one of our favorites this year.

Betse Ellis, formerly of the band the Wilders was also a favorite.

Eventually, the Jam Tent has to come down, hugs all around and we'll see you next year. Sigh. So long Buffalo WY.