Pop pop… pop pop… pop pop… Oh, how delightful! The recurring
nightmare wakeup call from our friendly Sturgis group. What would we ever do without them giving us a loud and startling wakeup call each morning? They sure are proud of those bikes!
While packing suitcases, I noticed that neither of the kids hung their swimsuits or towels up to dry for the night. If it isn’t bad enough to carry dirty laundry in a garbage bag for the remainder of the trip, now we’re adding wet clothing to the mix. I can almost smell the emerging stench in the back of my car, ugh!
We packed up our belongings in the car, and headed downstairs for the free hotel breakfast. It was a decent spread, for being free, but I really did miss the homemade breakfast we’ve been accustomed to eating the past few days. We fueled up the car, added some ice to the coolers, and headed south towards Carhenge and Chimney Rock.
Carhenge was interesting in its own quirky way. My best find though was this cool wind spinner made out of rims and miscellaneous car parts. I think this could be my craft-talented mother’s next project!
Before we left, I had to walk through the souvenir shop and see if there was anything that we couldn’t live without. A couple of postcards and a bottle of “Un-Henged” seasoning was all I came away with, although the t-shirt that said, “I got stoned at the Henge” was awfully tempting.
Our next stop along the way was Chimney Rock; the landmark most frequently mentioned in journals by travelers of the Oregon Trail. Early fur traders claim that the Native Americans named the rock “Elk Penis”. The more delicate name, “chimney”, was overwhelmingly favored by the Anglo-Americans, and is the only name you’ll see on the historical landmark site today (I wonder why Elk Penis never caught on?).
Back on the road again, we were hearing complaints from the back seat; apparently a couple of kids were starving back there. So, after a wild goose chase for an elusive historical marker (that we never found), we finally came across a nice city park in Bridgeport, NE. We fired up the little grill, making mini meatloaves, instant potatoes, and garlic bread. The park was pretty and green, and the picnic tables were in a nicely shaded area.
By the stares we received from the people passing by, we obviously were doing something “strange” when we grilled out in the park. Maybe we shouldn’t have finished drying our swimsuits & towels on the picnic tables?!?
When we finished our lunch, we promptly packed up and headed out of town. Suddenly, I gasped as I looked in my side-view mirror, exclaiming, “Stop, the trunk is open!” With all the belongings we stuffed back there, it’s no wonder it didn’t shut when we pushed the button (automatic doors are nice, when they work). We made it 2 blocks before I noticed; I think I’m starting to sense why people look at us oddly.
Moving onward, we headed a couple of hours south and then southeast, down the road to Ogallala, NE to find a room for the night. The best deal we found was $79 at Days Inn. I had an uneasy feeling about the person behind the desk, so we paid for this room in cash, just in case. We didn’t bother unloading the car, instead we headed straight for Lake McConaughy.
I had no idea just how sandy the beach would be there, and I must say it was quite a workout walking through it all just to get to the water. The kids didn’t seem to have any trouble, so I guess maybe I’m just out of shape. I joined them for a little while in the water, but it was surprisingly cold. I’m beginning to think I’m more of a wimp the older I get.
I was surprised to find that the sand was more of an attraction to the kids than the water. They spent a couple of hours just sculpting in the sand. Em worked on her own version of Stonehenge, and Sid made… a motocross track, of course. I forgot to grab my camera from the car when I walked to the beach, so I don’t have photos to share of their masterpieces. I must admit, however, I think it’s time to put a new sandbox in our backyard. It was really nice to see the kids doing something constructive with their hands and their imaginations.
As the sun was going down, we headed over to one more spot we really wanted to view; the Kingsley Dam & Hydroplant at Lake McConaughy. The smell was a bit undesirable, but the magnificent water spray made up for it.
By the time we headed back to our hotel room, it was too late to start supper on the grill. We headed over to Arby’s instead, for some take-home supper. The kids have apparently been spending too much time together, because all we heard once we entered our hotel room was the argument over who called which side of the bed first. The two of them fought over one particular side of the bed for 20 minutes. Sid sat in the spot he wanted, and purposely spilled food crumbs on that side so Em wouldn’t want it. Em took a drink from his Mountain Dew, and then Sid wouldn’t drink from it. The two continued the drama, until Mom put the guilt trip on them about being ungrateful and fighting over such menial things.
Em won the battle in the end, or at least she was the one who got the “preferred” side of the bed. We all managed to get warm showers, and everyone was tucked in bed by 11:00 p.m. I think we can safely say we are out of the path of those traveling to Sturgis, so we may get to sleep in tomorrow. Maybe.
(Watch for the conclusion of “Vacationing in Nebraska”, Day 5, coming next)