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.
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
controlled 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.
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.
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.
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.Info 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.
Al 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