Getting our Nebraska State Sticker

Nebraska is one of the very few states that I have never been in.  I never visited it for work, and we haven’t even driven through it.  I was excited about visiting it, even though every time someone mentioned Nebraska the most common comment was a dismissive “corn,”  Well let me say I loved the state.  It has rolling hills, lots of farms, and yes there is corn, but there are cattle and other crops as well.  As a Midwesterner I love these “bread basket” states and I find the scenery soothing.

So what does it take for us to earn our state sticker??  We have higher standards than lots of folks we know, but for us it’s consistently been we need to stay one night and see at least one state specific thing.  State specific is where I get into trouble, because many things are in multiple states.   It’s a bit of a judgement call for sure and I’ll talk about that as we go along. I will say it doesn’t have to be anything grandiose, it just has to be unique to the state.

We got up early in the morning but I had another phone interview so we got a bit of a late start.  This interview was with a different company and it also went really well.  They told me it takes between 30-35 days to on board a person in the position I was applying for, and it was good to get a rough time frame for reference.  Lee’s been very patient with these interviews, especially since he likes to get an early start, but by keeping it to 300 mile days we are still getting into our campgrounds at a decent time.

As we were traveling I was checking Roadside America, but there wasn’t much worth stopping for.  Then we saw a sign that stated there was an historic Pony Express post.  It wasn’t in Roadside America so we didn’t have any information about it, but Lee decided to follow the signs and give it a try.  I really appreciate his willingness to explore while we have the rig attached, as this is not something we would have been comfortable doing even a couple of years ago.  Turns out this stop was fantastic.  The cabin was surrounded by a gorgeous park and Jack absolutely loved rolling in the lush, green grass.  Because dogs weren’t allowed inside the building we took turns, and Jack got twice the fun playing outside.  It was a small cabin, but really great, and we were both fascinated by the stop and the history.

Great little cabin, perfectly preserved

 

Loved the sign

 

This puppy was happy to stay outside and be good while his people went inside. One of us had to stay with Jack.

The grounds were beautiful and there was a very nice restroom in the park as well.

 

 

I’ll be honest, I didn’t know much about the Pony Express, but I learned that it really was only in existence for 1-1/2 years.  The telegraph replaced the riders and the company went bankrupt.  That amazed me since the mythology looms so large.  The following sign sums up the story.

(In addition to being a fun and cool little stop, the entire town is very nice, and the streets are wide. There’s plenty of room all the way around the park to park your rig. – Lee)

The inside was basically half gift shop and a small exhibit area, but it was very cool.  We have been really good about not spending too much money as we travel, but we both went a little crazy here.  I got a shirt and Lee bought a super cool tote bag and a book.  It was just that kind of place and we were happy to support it. (I do not think that amounts to “going crazy”. – Lee)

Small corner of the cabin. Was well done.

 

Very cool saddle

 

Is it just me or does Jack Keeley (upper left) and Johnny Fry (bottom second from left) look like the same guy. Twins separated at birth?? And check out Buffalo Bill Cody (bottom far right) he was a handsome guy!

 

My t-shirt has the ad on the back stating orphans preferred.

We all really enjoyed the stop, especially because it was unexpected, and we continued on down the highway.  I wasn’t sure that it really qualified as a Nebraska specific thing though and was fretting a little when out of the corner of my eye I saw a fast food restaurant called Runza.  This caught my attention because in our travels I had never even heard of Runza, but it was clearly a chain.  Thank heavens for the internet, because after a quick search I discovered it was a Nebraska-centric restaurant known for their Runza sandwiches.  I asked Lee if he was up for trying one and he said sure so I found a location off the highway with a big parking lot.

Jack is sad in the truck! No worries it was plenty cool as it was an overcast day.

Once we got inside we learned more about the history which is a terrific story.  After WWII, there weren’t many jobs and Sally started a food cart selling sandwiches made from a family recipe.  Ground meat, onions, and cabbage in homemade buns were super popular and a big hit.  Over time she and her family expanded and now they are all over Nebraska and even have a couple in Kansas.

There were some really unique things about the menu.  First they had mini shakes for $1, which were delicious and the perfect size.  Next if you can’t decide between onion rings or fries you can order a combination for the same price called frings.  Loved that!!  Finally Lee got the sandwich and said it was delicious!!  It was like shepherds pie in a bun and he was a big fan!!

Frings…it has a couple more onion rings but I ate them lol

 

Haven’t seen that face in awhile 🙂

 

Look who was excited when we came out. Can you stand the cuteness!!

This was definitely a Nebraska specific moment and once we spent the night the thing that earned us our state sticker.  It may seem silly, but I can look at every sticker we have earned and tell you the memory that is associated with it.  Anyways, we spent the night in North Platte at the I-80 campground.  With a Good Sam discount the campground cost $32, and even though it was along the highway it was pretty nice.  The sites were long and has decent separation and the lake itself was pretty.  My only complaint was the dog park was really small, so Jack wasn’t interested in using it.

 

I love when there is enough room at our site that we can put him on a lead outside

The lake was nice. There are more lakes in Nebraska than I expected,.

There is lots of open space to expand the dog park, That would be my one suggestion.

The family running the campground was really nice. They had boats for rent for the lake and other water activities in season.

Next up we head towards Kansas and get off the highway a bit.

 


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I-80 Roadside Attractions

As boring as many people said the I-80 route is, I absolutely loved it.  It’s flat, the roads are in good condition, and it’s not super crowded.  There are also a surprising amount of things to see along the way on the Roadside America app, which kept us busy throughout our driving day.  The first couple of attractions were  in Wyoming.

Our first stop was a slight detour from I-80 on 80 service road.  A farmer, Mel Gould,  has spent several years building metal sculptures in his yard and the detail and whimsy was very impressive.  Added bonus it was dog friendly and although Jack wasn’t crazy about all statues he did enjoy getting out and walking awhile.  There is a nice, wide turnaround spot for the RV so it was easy to get in and out of, as you can see.

According to what I read his workshop is underground

This scorpion was really well done

 

I appreciated the visitors welcome sign. I felt a little uncomfortable before I saw that

 

The wind thing was huge

 

I loved how many of the sculptures were named

This little guy was super intricate

The top was spinning but unfortunately the robot wasn’t moving. Still cool

Love seeing this one close up. It is made of a turkey pan and a broom primarily. Inspired!

 

 

Jack really did not like this bear. He kept growling at it.

Next up and right on the border of Nebraska was a large statue of the Virgin Mary.  This was not really around anything else, but was obviously well cared for, Every time we get an opportunity to see something like this, I think of Lee’s Grandma Anna, who was extremely devout and went to mass frequently. If she was alive she would have loved these pictures. (This one is right off the interstate exit, but at the time we visited that exit was closed for construction. And again, as you can see, plenty of room for a big rig to get in and out. The giant letters are the border of Nebraska and Wyoming. – Lee)


(Also, right at the entrance there is an old closed gas station that sits on the border, and half the fuel pumps are in Nebraska, and half are in Wyoming, which is kind of fun. You can see the line in the picture. Plenty of room to getin and out to snap a quick picture. – Lee)

I had Lee position the truck so Mary could bless our travels.

 

Several smaller Mary statues were there as well

 

Very nicely done

Along the outside edge was a series of smaller statues showing the journey of Christ with the cross.  What I liked about these is you could drive to each of them, which is nice for people in wheelchairs.

Our next stop was a small thing that normally we wouldn’t have stopped for, but since it was at a Flying J we got fuel and saw it really quick.  The caterpillar made out of tires (ie: Alice in Wonderland) was actually well done and as a bonus the truck stop had a nice 50’s diner attached.  We had their buffet bar for $12.50 and I thought it was pretty good.  As an FYI we prefer to stop at Pilots and Flying J’s.  We have the Lifetime Good Sam membership and Flying J gas card and that give us 8 cents off the cash price of every gallon of fuel we buy.  Even with the discount their prices aren’t always the cheapest, but they are almost everywhere we travel and their services are pretty consistent.  We only fuel at trucks tops on travel days where we don’t unhitch though because smaller gas stations are waaaay cheaper than truck stops as a general rule.

The tire caterpillar

Very nice display in the diner

 

Loved the booths

 

The buffet was small but good.  Salad stuff and the roast beef was delicious!

Our last stop of the day prior to stopping for the night was at the Fort Cody Trading Post in North Platte, NE.  This was super kitschy and not very well done. although the stuffed two headed calf was a nice specimen.  They did have a nice miniature collection of Buffalo Bills Wild West show and an excellent bookstore with lots of historical western books which Lee loves.

Huge exhibit that took 12 years to make

 

I bought some Nebraska corn to see the difference

 

And I got a cowboy rubber ducky for Oliver. It’s fun looking for grandson things now but I need to watch my budget!

 

After checking out the trading post, we stayed overnight at the I-80 Lakeside Campground.  There were no Passport America parks in the area and the $5 municipal park had no hookups.  Since it was hot and muggy, Lee wanted electric so we paid $30 to stay.  It was surprisingly nice and the people who ran it were great.  Jack loved walking along the lake and my only complaint was the dog park was super tiny.  Fine for an overnight although I would have loved to have tried the municipal park.

 

Next up we finally get that Nebraska State Sticker!!!

 

 


Supporting our Blog

We very much appreciate your support of our blog. You can help by doing any or all the following:

  • Make purchases via our Amazon website links.  There is no additional cost to you, and a portion of the proceeds help support our blog.  Search Amazon.com here.
  • Purchase the ebook telling the story of how we became full-time RVers.
  • Purchase our recipe book filled with 80 recipes we have cooked in our RV and taste tested by Lee himself. You can purchase the kindle or paperback version on Amazon or buy the Apple version on Itunes.