Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Cody City Park

Cody is a tiny town with less than 200 people but they have a nice little park with a dump station and full hookups RV sites. The restrooms are not opened. Our camping neighbor told us to just put our money in the box and not worry about the missing envelopes.

It was a super hot day so we decided to try the only restaurant in town, Cody's Husker Hub, expecting mediocre food and hoping for good air conditioning. The air condition was just adequate but the food exceeded our expectations. The Hub is roomy with a good number of tables and booths and a bar along one side. Everything is squeaky clean and well maintained. The food is basic - hamburgers, hot sandwiches, french fries, and other breaded and fried food but it's all fresh and the fryer oil is changed regularly. Best fries we had in years. :) 

The ground is rough grass so rolling to the picnic tables in the park area may be difficult.  

There are only four RV sites but I think that parking anywhere along the north and south sides of the park would be find. The sites are long enough for most RVs. Park  42.93524, -101.24538



Monday, September 18, 2023

Bowring Ranch State Historical Park

Both Arthur and Eve Bowring were active in politics. Arthur served a term in the Nebraska State Senate and another term in the Nebraska House of Representatives. Eve was US Senator for six months when she was appointed to fill a vacancy. But their real love was the ranch that Arthur homesteaded in 1894. Eve continued to run the ranch after Arthur's death in 1944. Upon her death in 1985 the property was donated to the state of Nebraska to preserve the history of Sandhill ranching in a park setting.

The site has a small museum with exhibits on the Bowrings, homesteading, ranching, and native wildlife. Guided tours of the family home and a replicated sod house are usually available but the house is undergoing restoration so tours have been discontinued until the work is completed. 

This park has the same fee structure as Fort Robinson State Park which we visited earlier. With the high daily entrance fee and the additional museum/tour fee, we did not think it is worth the price. The fees were waived for us most likely because the second floor of the museum is not accessible and the house was closed.

 The first floor of the museum is accessible. I don't know if the house is accessible. 

The parking lot is large enough for any RV. The dirt access road is in good condition but is very dusty. Park  42.95698, -101.67732


Sunday, September 17, 2023

Bordeaux WMA Boondocking

The primary purpose of  Nebraska Wildlife Management Areas is to protect wildlife habitat for public hunting and fishing, however they are also opened for many other activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and primitive camping. Regulations.  

The area of the Bordeaux WMA where RVs are permitted is a large gravel and grass lot with a few trees that provide shade. We did not check to see if the gate opened enough to provide wheelchair access to the dirt road. 

There's plenty of room for any size RV to park and turn around. WMA  42.80712, -102.8989

Friday, September 15, 2023

Museum of the Fur Trade

The museum holds an amazing number of beautiful artifacts both from the fur trading  industry and Native American cultures, the result of a lifetime of researching and collecting by Charles E. Hanson, Jr., a Nebraska farm boy, who as a child became fascinated with the American west. This is must stop if you're in the area. 


The museum is accessible. The research room has a step down and is not accessible. A steep, very narrow, and inaccessible dirt path goes to reconstructed store room and trading post that were built on the location in 1837. The trading post was in use until 1876. 


The parking lot is large enough for most RVs. Museum  42.82392, -102.92819

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Mari Sandoz High Plains Heritage Center

The Sandhills of Nebraska were formed when glacier floods carried silt and sand from the Rocky Mountains onto the plains. The rolling dunes, which were formed by the wind, support 720 different species of plants, mainly sand-tolerant grasses that require minimal rainfall. 

As the flat plains to the east of the Sandhills were settled by early homesteaders, newcomers traveled west to claim 640 acres in the hills as allowed by the 1904 Kinkaid Act. This was 480 more acres than allowed by the original Homestead Act of 1862. Most of the homesteaders raised cattle which the land was well suited for but a few tried farming. Mari Sandoz's father, Jules Sandoz, was one of them; an early settler who grew a large orchard and garden. He was a strong advocate of experimental farming and was responsible for helping many new homesteaders get a start. Eventually, the homesteaders found the environment too difficult for farming and most moved onto ranching. This means that over 80% of the Sandhills has never been plowed and is an intact natural habitat. 

 Mari Sandoz, along with her five brothers and sisters, grew up in the Sandhills. Her father was brusque, demanding, and free with his money but only on what he deemed was necessary; her mother was quiet, hardworking, and frugal. Mari left home at 18 when she married but the marriage didn't last long and she moved to Lincoln Nebraska to pursue a writing career. After many years of rejections her first book, Old Jules, which she first submitted in 1929, was published in 1935. Old Jules is the story of her father and the family's life in the Sandhills. I read it after we visited the Sandhills but it should be read first to get a good picture of the lives of the settlers and their conflicts with the large ranching operations. It's a bit of a slog to get through the book but it's worth reading. 

The museum is small with exhibits on Mari Sandoz's life and career. There's also an art gallery and an exhibit on the history of cattle ranching. The main museum is kind of hidden. Go to the left after viewing the exhibits in the entry hall. Don't miss the cardboard and burlap buffalo. 

The accessible entrance is at the rear of the museum, on the west side. The museum is accessible.

Parking is on the street. We parked on East 11th Street which has spaces marked for visitors. Center 42.81982, -103.0022


Sunday, September 10, 2023

Fort Robinson State Park

Camp Robinson, established in 1874, was one of several army posts with a mission to protect Indian agencies. It was almost continuously occupied by the military for various purposes until 1947 when it was transferred to the United States Department of Agriculture for a beef research station. In the early 1970s the beef research operation was phased out and the Nebraska State parks took over the property.

The buildings at Fort Robinson are in excellent condition and the grounds are well tended but most of the buildings can be rented for the night by individuals or groups so they do not have exhibits and are not opened to tour. We walked/rolled along the roads and found a few interpretive signs and a display in the 1887 adobe brick officer's quarters which isn't accessible. We also found a small exhibit on native wildlife in the activities building. 

Two museums are located in the park. The Robinson History Center is very small and has displays on Native Americans and the soldiers stationed at the fort. The  has exhibits with fossils of mammals found in Nebraska including two mammoths that became tangled during a fight and died stuck together. 

Nebraska State Parks have a high entrance fee for people who are not residents of the state. Museums inside the parks have an additional fee. It's easy to miss the booth for the entrance fee which is on the side of the entrance road. Do not pass it by because you must have a park pass to be inside the park. In our opinion the park and the History Center are not worth the fees charged. The Trailside Museum is interesting but maybe not worth the park admission fee plus the museum fee. 

The first floor of History Center is accessible but the entrance has a sloped ramp, a sloped threshold, and a door that opens outward making it very awkward to enter. The upper level has stairs only. The first floor of the Trailside Museum is accessible. The lower level has stairs only.

Parking is along the sides of the roads and there's plenty of room for any size RV. Park  42.66845, -103.46665


Saturday, September 9, 2023

Gilbert-Baker WMA

Once over the Rocky Mountains the terrain, traveling east into Nebraska, is rolling grasslands so we were happy to see an actual forest when as we drove north to Gilbert Baker from US 20. The camping area has two sections. The first is a large grassy field with a few tables and vault toilets. Continue down the hill to the second area where the gravel road ends in a large turn around loop. There are three or four sites with fire rings and tables. A water pump provides good drinking water. 

Camping is free and permitted at Nebraska Wildlife Management Areas for 14 days within any 30 day period unless otherwise prohibited. Rules

The ground is hard packed so rolling is fairly easy.

The road from US 20 is paved. The campground road is gravel and in good condition. Any size RV will fit in the campground. 

This is a pretty area and a nice campground but we won't stay here again in the summer because we were attacked by some type of no see um mites. We had many itchy bites that lasted for about five days but we couldn't see what was biting us. They must have been the same bugs that bit us at Two Leggings Fishing Access in Montana. Fortunately this was only our second experience with no see ums. Not something we want to repeat again! Campground    42.76684, -103.92766