Re-calculating mid stream

canadian geese It’s an early Saturday morning as we wind our way through Denver. We’re perplexed by the amount of traffic on the roads at seven in the morning on a weekend. Don’t you people ever sleep in? Ah, with so much beauty and recreation out their front door, it’s obvious, it’s time to play….. that’s what we do!

A mere thirty minutes east of Denver, we practically have the road to ourselves. With the RV pointing east, there’s no longer a view of any mountains, just a long stretch of openness in front of us. As we pass sprawling ranch land and cattle feed lots, our emotions about this excursion are mixed. That’s kind of the norm for us as we rarely relish trips back east even though we do look forward to reconnecting with family.

As we enter Nebraska, the land gets flatter – about as flat as a Monopoly board and the agricultural land is divided off into similar parcels. America’s Great Plains can be harsh and unforgiving land. There’s nothing to stop the winds from blowing snow in a sideways direction or a spring storm turning into a deadly twister, not to mention the extreme temperatures.Interstate 80

While we meander down the road, we take in our surroundings. We appreciate our comfy cushioned leather seats versus a hard saddle. We appreciate the climate
covered wagoncontrolled truck cab versus the open air exposed seating of a covered wagon.

The air is thick with 90% humidity and an equally hot temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 Celsius). Yep, we appreciate the modern-day comforts of air conditioning along with our version of horse and wagon.  I can’t imagine the perils encountered while crossing this land a hundred years ago.

The route from Colorado to Illinois is a drive Al and I have made more times than we can count.  However, this is the first time we’re making the trip with the RV in tow.  Past trips were always done with just the vehicle and most times the 1,100 mile (1771 km) journey was driven in one very long day.  We’d hit the road around 5:00 a.m. in the morning and arrive at our destination at about 10:00 or 11:00 at night. We always dreaded these days.corn fields

Today was different.  We didn’t dread the drive or the day.  I found myself snapping photos out of the truck (the majority of photos turned out blurry, of course… love that delete button).  The plan all along was to make it to Omaha for the night, with a backup of stopping sooner if we weren’t up to driving 550 miles (885 km).  There’s comfort in knowing we can stop anytime we want and take a nap in our own bed.  Comfort in knowing we have a well stocked fridge and freezer for healthy meals.  Comfort in knowing we don’t have a schedule to maintain.  And comfort in knowing we are foot loose and fancy free.  Ah, the freedom of the open road.field of corn

We find ourselves engulfed with a sense of calm and adventure and enjoying the scenery unfolding in front of us.  This isn’t the in your face jaw dropping beauty we see in the Rocky Mountains.  Discovering this beauty requires a little digging…. figuratively and literally.  This is America’s heartland.  This land feeds people around the world.  Images of backyard barbeques, apple pie, and little kids running around are conjured.  It evokes a sense of home.

The nearly nine-hour, 550 mile drive to Omaha was pleasant and uneventful.  The two new audio books purchased for the drive remain sealed.  Al and I found ourselves talking about our plans for the next seven weeks instead of listening to books or music.  In so doing, we changed our mind about our journey about as many times as a teenage girl changes her outfit.  To say we were re-calculating is an understatement.


Our horse and covered wagon. We spend the night at the Cabela’s in Omaha, Nebraska

Before pulling into our parking spot in Omaha for the night we finally decided once we’re in Illinois, we’ll visit a state park for a couple of nights not far from where Al grew up.  As a matter of fact, the last time Al visited Starved Rock State Park  was during an elementary school field trip.

Next up we’ll share whether or not Starved Rock State Park lives up to all the hype; voted number one attraction in the state of Illinois.corn fieldsInfo on our overnight stop in Omaha, Nebraska.  When Al and I are hightailing it from point A to point B, we usually look for a quick, safe place to overnight.  For such a short stay, we usually won’t bother with a campground or RV Park.  We’re self-contained and comfortable dry camping / boondocking.  Wal-Mart of course is a popular option that we’ve taken advantage of many a time especially when we need to stock up on supplies anyway.  Another option, one we prefer is a Cabela’s  store parking lot.  Although few and far between, we’ll check anywhere along our route and make notes as to any possible stores.  Many of the newer stores not only have a designated RV and truck parking area, they also offer a dump station and fresh water.

32 BridgeAl was once a preferred Cabela’s shopper receiving this sporting goods stores’ hard cover catalog.  So it may be free overnighting for most people, but for us???  😆  Even our daughter wore her Cabela’s hat to the Luke Bryan Concert, which I initially thought was inappropriate until I realized Luke Bryan is not only a Cabela’s spokesperson, he has his own brand of product line sold at Cabela’s; 32 Bridge.

As we pull into the Cabela’s in Omaha, we quickly look for the sign pointing us in the direction of “RV Parking”.  It doesn’t take long and we realize this is a popular spot with semi-truckers.  We find a spot off to the side, away from the rumbling truck engines, and are quickly joined by two more RV’s.  Of course, an in store purchase was made before calling it a night.  The Omaha Cabela’s does not have a dump station but does have fresh water and has super easy access on and off Interstate 80.

Cabela’s in Colorado – along Interstate 25 (easy on, easy off), there is a new Cabela’s north of Denver and another to the south.  Both have dump stations, fresh water, and designated RV parking, all free of charge ….. unless wife buys a new pair of shoes!
Teva Women’s Kayenta Strappy Sandal, Vega Purple, 9 M US
Browning Men’s Buckmark Gold And T-Shirt Black X-Large


70 thoughts on “Re-calculating mid stream

  1. Just catching up on posts and really loved the up close photos of a previous blog! You do make the freedom to stop and visit wherever you want, in comfort, sound very appealing!

  2. Love your cornfield shot! Terry is always giving me grief for snapping so many photos while we are on the move but I can’t help myself. Looking forward to seeing what you two find in the midwest as tourists. 🙂

    • As you well know, it’s taking a lot more effort on my part to search out the photo ops. It just doesn’t jump out at ya in the Midwest like it does in the West. Hopefully we’ll run into each other this winter, and I can tell you how I really feel over a drink or two LOL.

  3. America’s heartland… home sweet home! I hope you’re having a great trip and glad you took your own “covered wagon” along, too. It is so nice to have those great conveniences, for sure. I need to check out our fairly new Cabela’s to see what services they have. I didn’t realize that RVs could also park there. Thanks for that information! 😉

    • So nice to hear from you D. Haven’t heard from you in a while. Hope all is well. We’re having a great family visit in No. IL. and even playing ‘tourist’ along the way. Cabela’s is great for overnighting!

      • All is well. Finally getting around to some projects that have been put off for too long as I took care of my mom the past few years. Just need to stay focused and not get too distracted so that I can make some good progress for a while. I will be back later. 😉

        • So glad to hear all is well and that your just focusing on projects. Hopefully when you’re ready to return to the blogosphere you’ll share some of your projects. Hope you’re enjoying the summer.

  4. Love the photo of you two in the cornfield! You guys put on some serious mileage that first day — but how fun that you put those hours to good use planning future travels. Sometimes it’s good to have long stretches of not-so-exciting scenery. 🙂

    • It felt good to get Nebraska out of the way and since I help out with the driving, it went rather smooth. We also decided to embrace this trip as ‘tourists’ and see the area in another light….. we’re having fun.

  5. Those two white ghosts in the cornfields look familiar! I know what you mean, about driving across the great plains, but at least we stopped at some and smelled the roses.
    Hope you are enjoying your visit in Illinois.

    • We smelled the corn as evidenced by the photo LOL. I’ve been having some great visits with my dad. We head up to WI on the 17th 🙂

  6. I’m envious of your heading west. We go east this year and I’m starting to make it my campaign to make it our last trip to Florida. I just don’t like the crowded conditions and high price tags that go with them, not to mention the attitude toward the “snowbirds”. Yup. The west is the place for me!

  7. Ingrid I love imagining the two of you taking your time and finding beauty, even if you have to dig a little harder for it. What a great photo of the two of you on your main page. I love the joy exuding form both of you.

    • Thank you Sue. I’m having fun searching out things I never gave much thought to while growing up here in Illinois. Seeing the area in a new light….. still wouldn’t move back, but embracing the positives 🙂

    • Thanks Karen. Love my new sandals and mine are mostly black trimmed with pink and blue. I’m looking at the other colors too but only have so much room in the RV 😉

  8. Sounds great Ingrid. This part of the country we don’t know at all. We did clock up 1000miles last week Bozeman, thought Yellowstone , grand Teton and salt lake- way too many photos, though! I look forward to hearing much more about the roast East:)

    • Ah, are you in the states? I’m still catching up with your Italy excursion. We’ve been so busy with family, I’m having a hard time keeping up with the blogging…. writing and following 🙂

      • I know the feeling! But it has to be fun otherwise it is not worth doing. I have loads of Italy still yo do then I might get to Yellowstone – it totally lived up to expectations. We are here till Saturday week- excessive heat warnings galore!! X

  9. Good times moving east!! You put some miles on that first day but if time is a factor you gotta do what you gotta do:) We’ve been luck enough to be able to chose a different route each time we come east since our family is spread between Atlanta and northeren NY. So we take it a little slower and visit new areas along the way. It is nice to have time as your friend so if you see some place along the way that looks interesting, stop and spend the day! Love the photo of you and Al in the corn:) Safe travels:)

    • It was great seeing the corn so tall and green that I couldn’t resist playing around a bit. Some places just don’t hold our interest in which case we’ll keep on rolling, but we know we can always change our minds. Isn’t that the best part of living this life? We love that freedom 🙂

  10. I thoroughly enjoyed this road trip, Ingrid. I, too, live in the west but travel occasionally back to IL to visit family, and it’s a little tough leaving those mountains and open wilderness behind. But it’s a great attitude to appreciate what you have and to take pleasure in the Heartland, many beauties there too. Love the photo of you two in the midwestern cornfield! I hope your travels continue to be fun and heartwarming.

    • I credit you for the cornfield photo. You gave me the idea with your gals photo. I take cornfields for granted and never thought of having a photo taken amongst the stalks. So thank you.
      This is our first trip back to IL that we decided to play “tourist” and explore things in a new light…. we’re having fun!

  11. Having never been in NE, I didn’t appreciate how flat it was until we passed thru it last week. I like the shot in the corn field – reminded me of Hee Haw

    • Nebraska is definitely flat and we like to buzz through it. I’m sure there are some nice sights to see. Perhaps one day we’ll slow down.

  12. We recently moved crossed country a few months back and probably looked like the Clampets – ha! We have talked about how the pioneers made it cross country while driving and road tripping, especially through the mountains. We started in Nevada, made a stop in Arizona and then headed out to Florida – two long days to get through Texas (at least we made it through that area before that storm that dropped all that rain) – we still had our fair share of wind and rain in those two days crossing TX – buzzard almost flew into our windshield and we could have had a science experiment with all the bugs on the windshield and grill after 4-days of driving. Adventure On 🙂 Happy Day – Enjoy!

  13. Ah. Heat and humidity. That’s why I live in dry Colorado! Can’t wait for your next adventure.
    I read a book about a girl who traveled across the Arizona territories, taught herself to read and kept a journal her whole life. I loved it. “These Is My Words.” You can probably download it.

    • Sounds like an interesting book. I’ll need to look it up. Yep, I’m with you and love living in the west but I must admit, the weather in IL this past week has been enjoyable with the exception of one bad storm. I’m sure that’ll change though 😆

  14. Being able to stop anywhere, anytime, is a great thing. We try to not drive too many miles in day, but if we have to, it’s nice to know we can stop if we need to. 1100 miles…in one day! That is amazing. We haven’t been east into the flat land, looks so different.

    • I remember the first time I drove through Utah – my jaw dropped, mesmerized by the unique and stunning terrain. The Great Plains and Midwest are vastly different than the west offering lush, green vegetation and rich black soil like you’ve never seen.

  15. Love this post! So many new things for us (we also like Cabela’s but had no idea about RV parking!), seeing your beautiful daughter, relating to those long drives in just a car, learning to enjoy the ride….and it looks like you’re feeling much better!
    We have relatives in southern Illinois but now we may explore up north a bit. Can’t wait for your next post!

    • Since I grew up in No. IL it’s sometimes hard for me to find it tourist worthy. But with an open mind, you never know what we might discover. Yes, Cabela’s is great for overnighting, especially when there’s a free dump onsite with lots of room to maneuver.

  16. I love that you found such joy in this journey. It’s amazing the things we see when we are relaxed & open to seeing the beauty right in front of us.

  17. Enjoyed your thoughts on looking for the less-obvious beauty of the Midwest. Less dramatic, for sure, but not without its own appeal.

    Sure is wonderful to have the opportunity to enjoy it all, isn’t it?

    • It’s wonderful to take that looong drive across Nebraska in a leisurely manner. I even bought a James Burke audio book for the journey. Perhaps we’ll listen to it on the return to CO. We and campground survived the high winds and nasty storm on Sunday without issue while a tornado touched down just twenty miles to the northeast…. eek!

      • Can’t go wrong with James Lee Burke audio. The reader of that series is the best. Seems like Nebraska is a leisurely drive no matter what speed you take it. Somehow it’s a forever drive.

        • I’m not sure which is more boring; west TX or Nebraska haha. I bought the James Lee Burke audio book per your recommendation and I’m sure if we don’t listen to it driving through NE we will this winter on the way to Rockport 🙂

  18. Funny how we are all so different. I personally can’t wait to get out of the mountains with their endless piles of rocks and into the prairies. Open sky, room to breath, and you can see the weather coming the day before it arrives. Illinois has lots of really sweet places too. The southern tip is a treasure of glorious camping spots and interesting things to do and see.

    • I much prefer my beloved pile of rocks over the prairie but am doing my best to embrace the lush flat land of Illinois. Reconnecting with family is the main purpose of this visit anyway and it’s been delightful thus far 🙂

    • Haha…… the corn is tall and we’ve been indulging in a fresh supple of corn on the cobb regularly. By September, I will have had my fill and won’t want another bite 😉

    • Those flatlands sure do seem to go on forever, and then I remind myself of all the food produced in the rich black soil. I’ve very grateful Cabela’s and Walmart allow overnight parking and we make sure we do our needed shopping there showing our appreciation.

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