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Our Location:
Nebraska Tailwaters Campground
Crofton, NE 68730

Memorial Day is a federal holiday in the United States for remembering the people who died while serving in the country's armed forces, which is currently observed every year on the last Monday of May. The holiday was held on May 30 from 1868 to 1970. It marks the unofficial start of the summer vacation season, while Labor Day marks its end.

Many people visit cemeteries and memorials, particularly to honor those who have died in military service. Every year volunteers place an American flag on each grave in all national cemeteries.

Excerpted from Wikipedia

Our 2021 Memorial Day campsite

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STOP #205

We arrived safe and sound here at Eugene T. Mahoney State Park, considered by most to be the Crown Jewel of the Nebraska State Park System.

It is one of Nebraska's newer state parks, having just opened in May of 1991. It is also the first Nebraska state park designed for year round operation. They have horseback riding, a driving range for the golfers, a conservatory, a waterway of lakes for their peddalboat rentals, a swimming pool, a tennis complex, picnic shelters, outdoor theater, indoor climbing walls, a ropes course, a snack bar, sand volleyball courts, a disc golf course and for the winter season a sledding hill and an ice rink.

Of course most of these activities are seasonal and open each year on Memorial Day Weekend, which happens to be the day after we leave here. Just our luck!

But we're OK with not being here for the boisterous holiday weekend with the crowds of people. We have a smaller and hopefully quieter place to spend the weekend picked out about 200 miles north of here.

TUESDAY - I have been asked by several different people lately how I manage to consistently pick the BEST campsite, with the BEST view and the MOST privacy? And I do all this without ever having been inside of the park!

It all starts by making my reservations online 6 to 12 months in advance of my arrival, precisely at the first second of the first day the sites become available. This way I usually have all of the sites to choose from, which helps out a lot. For most people, this alone is enough to turn them off to the idea they could do it too.

I would say most of the time I find there are no campsite photos online (www.CampsitePhotos.com) or on the various reservation sites, whether it's ReserveAmerica (for State Parks) or Recreation.gov (for Federal Parks). Even when you do find photos there is no way of knowing how old the photo is! I have arrived and found a twenty year old tree that didn't appear in the campsite photo I selected my campsite from and I'm sure they didn't take the time to Photoshop it out of the picture.

When I can't find photos I next look at the Google map satellite view of the campground. If the area is dense with heavy tree coverage you can't even find the roads, let alone individual campsites using this strategy.

If we are going to be spending a week or more at a location I sometimes make a phone call to the park, mid-morning when they usually aren't busy, and ask their recommendations on prefered campsites. Sometimes that works well, sometime it doesn't. It all depends on who answers the phone.

Anyway, even after all this effort, sometimes, but not often,
we'll end up with a site like we have here.

Sure we have decent privacy...

with nobody to our immediate left...

and nobody to our immediate right...

But what I couldn't see from the simple campground map was...

we've got nothing more than mud outside our front door...

and our picnic table and fire pit are inconveniently placed on the wrong side?

But worst of all...

we didn't get our lakeside view out the rear windows where we sit and work all day!


But what we did get was a lot of shade and that came in handy these last few days
with temperatures in the mid-80s and hardly a cloud in the sky.
So I'm not really complaining, it's just not what I expected when I picked this site
and besides, in 3 days we'll have a different view of our new backyard!

WEDNESDAY - Today I'm going to share with you a little U.S. geography and a little U.S. road history.

If you don't find these two things interesting like I do, go ahead and skip to the bottom of this post.

Let me start by saying, without a doubt the most famous road in the United States history is Route 66. Completed in 1926 it connected the cities of Chicago, IL and Santa Monica, CA at a distance of 2,448 miles. It quickly became known as the Main Street of America or the Mother Road.

Then in 1946 it became part of pop culture when the hit song "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66", featuring Nat King Cole, with the King Cole Trio, was hitting the airwaves. Between 1960 and 1964 CBS even aired a television series simply titled Route 66. It starred a young Martin Milner who traveled the route in his Corvette convertible. Milner would later star in the NBC hit series Adam-12 from 1968 to 1975.

Sadly, even with all this fame, U.S. Route 66 officially has not existed since 1985 when it was decommissioned. All that remains now are short, unconnected segments, now known as "Historic Route 66" roadways. Some states have renamed their segments State Highway 66, but the U.S. Route 66 designation is gone forever.

You may recall we traveled upon one of these Route 66 segments while visiting Oklahoma City last month. But I bet you're wondering why I bring this all up now.

Well today we traveled on an even older segment of a different road, here west of Omaha, NE.

Here you'll find a 3-mile long segment of the Original Lincoln Highway still in use today. The Lincoln Highway was completed in 1913 and at the time was one of the first coast-2-coast highways linking Times Square in New York, NY to Lincoln Park in San Francisco, CA. This short segment of 108 year old paver brick roadway is still here and accommodates light local traffic daily.

For it's age it's still in pretty good shape, definitely uneven and bumpy, but hey, the average automobile speed when it was built was only 18 MPH.

Our ROVER traveling on the Lincoln Highway

A close up view of the brick paver construction.

If you've made it this far reading this post I'll bet
you're hoping that I'll wrap it all up shortly.

Well not just yet, I've got two more tidbits of information for you all.

Yesterday as I drove to the nearby small town of Ashland, NE to retrieve our forwarded mail from the Post Office I saw this sign on the side of the road.

I wondered two things:

1st) Did the Nebraska Highway 66 emblem at the top of the sign have anything to do with the famous decommissioned U.S. Route 66?


2nd) Were this U.S. Route 6 emblems on the sides the same road as the one that every Cape Codder is familiar with over in Massachusetts?

The answers turned out to be NO and YES.

NO) U.S. Route 66 didn't come within 200 miles of Nebraska, heck in barely entered the southeast corner of Kansas.

YES). U.S. Route 6, also known as the Grand Army of the Republic Highway, was completed in 1926 and connected Provincetown, MA with Long Beach, CA. From 1936 until 1964 it was the longest highway in the United States at 3,652 miles long.

In 1964 California renumbered all of their highways and U.S. Route 6 lost all of it's length from near the California/Nevada border to the coast in Long Beach, CA which made it only 3.205 miles long.

In doing so U.S. Route 20 became the longest U.S. Highway at 3,365 miles, connecting Boston, MA and Newport, OR.

NOTE: Today U.S. Route 6 is 3,198.87 miles long and Ashland, NE (where I took this photo) is within a mile or two of being exactly at the midway point of 1600 miles from either end.


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STOP #204

Today's 86-mile travel day took us from the town of Superior (pop. 1957) to the city of Beatrice (pop. 12.459). Beatrice has two city parks with campgrounds that feature full hookup sites (water/electric/sewer) and while they're not free, they do have a very reasonable price of just $20 a night.

Both are located along the Big Blue River that runs through town, but they have a very different atmosphere about them. Chautauqua Park is located on the southeastern part of town and has 20 campsites, most are currently occupied by what appear to be long term residents and we only saw one vacant site when we passed through at 2:00PM.

Riverside Park is located on the outskirts of the northwest edge of town and has only 8 campsites. Only one looks to be occupied by a long term resident and we had our choice of three vacant sites to spend this weekend in.

There is only 2-1/2 miles between the two parks. I'm so glad we chose to visit Riverside Park first (at 10:00AM) and decided to stay here. It is located on the same side of town as the Homestead National Monument, which is why we are here in the first place.

All set up for the weekend here on Campsite #4 - Riverside Park, Beatrice, NE

As you can see it's a short walk to the restrooms and showers!

FRIDAY - Today after we both enjoyed a nice, hot, unlimited water shower, we headed over to visit the Homestead National Historic Park. It's located just a couple miles down the road from our campsite.

Without trying to start any political, moral or ethical discussions, I'll summarize what we learned today. Of course if I'd have paid attention in American History class in High School I would have already been familiar with most of it!

The Homestead Act, enacted during the Civil War in 1862, provided that any adult citizen, or intended citizen, who had never borne arms against the U.S. government could claim 160 acres of surveyed government land. Claimants were required to “improve” the plot by building a dwelling and cultivating the land.

The word "improve" was defined as living on the land and farming it for a period of five years, after which you were finally awarded the deed to the land. Only a little over 50% of homestead applicants were successful in acquiring their deeds.

The Homesteading Act was in place until 1976 (114 years later) and was extended in Alaska until 1986.

Today we visited the site of the very first Homestead application. There is a Heritage Center here with a 22-minute film and a small museum with period farming equipment, photos and stories about many of the individuals (some successful, some not) in their quest for a piece of land to call their own.


Did you notice the roof line of the Heritage Center was designed to look like a plow? Very clever huh!
This wall leading up to the entrance has metal cutouts of the 30 states where you can find Homesteads.
This small home is typical of where people lived during their homestead application.
The home is surrounded by some of their valuable farming equipment.
A little bit closer view of the front door.
Standing in the doorway, here is a view looking to the left and the stairs leading to the children's loft...
...then straight ahead...
...and finally to the right and the parents bedroom.
At some point there was a back door which lead to an outdoor kitchen area. Probably during the time when there were up to 12 people living in this small home.

SATURDAY - While we were out yesterday we drove past a fast food restaurant that had a line of cars wrapping around the entire building waiting in the drive thru lane. It was just after noon but still, all the way around the building? They must be serving up something awfully tasty there. The nearby McDonalds, Arby's, Burger King and DQ Grill were lucky to have one car at their drive thru window.

We have got to find out what's going on here!

The name of the restaurant chain is Runza.

While they do have 2 locations in Colorado, 2 in Iowa and 1 in Kansas, the balance of their 50+ locations are mainly in the south and east portions of Nebraska, where they started in 1949 near the capitol city of Lincoln.

The also serve up burgers, chicken and salads, but their signature sandwich is called what else, a Runza. It's why people are here and no where else in town. It's ground beef with a special blend of spices, cabbage and onions, stuffed into a fresh baked roll. There are also many different toppings you can add to make it your own.

The flavor reminds me a little of the empanadas I'm familiar with from South Florida. Empanadas are originally from Spain, but can now be found all over Mexico and Latin America.

Well it's time for the FINAL exciting episode of:


Say that three times fast!

Today's soda selection is distributed by Boylan Bottling Company of New Jersey.

The company was founded in 1891 selling birch flavored root beer from back of a wagon. Since then the company has expanded their line of flavors and this Black Cherry I'm tasting today is considered one of their "core four" flavors.

All of their flavors are made with pure cane sugar, no artificial sweeteners here, and with the exception of their colas, they are all caffine free.

With all that going for it, it must taste good, right? Well it does and deserves a solid third place finish in my "SATURDAY SODA SAMPLINGS" challenge.

In addition it "pairs perfectly" with a Runza sandwich! 😎

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STOP #203

"The Cornhusker State"
is our 31st visited state


Kool-Aid was invented in the town of Hastings, NE in 1927.

Our travel day today was a short one. We "barely made it" into a new state for us, Nebraska! No, we didn't have truck problems, our campsite is only two miles inside the state border.

We came here to check out Lincoln Park. No, not the '90s rock band Linkin Park, this Lincoln Park has a campground and is in the city of Superior, NE (pop. 1957). It has water/electric hookups, restrooms and a dump station. The best part about this campground is, "It's Free"!

As a way to get travelers to stop, and hopefully spend some money, the city provides this park free of charge. You are allowed to spend up to 14 days here, after that they request a whopping $5 per night donation to help cover the cost of utilities. There are 20 campsites here and less than half were ever occupied during our entire visit.

We did a little investigating and found there are many cities in the midwest who employ this exact same stategy, hoping visitors spent time and money in their restaurants, grocery stores, laundromats and gas stations.

We were glad to contribute through all of the above means! Every little bit helps to boost the economy in these small midwestern towns.

FRIDAY - Today we managed to check three items off on our Nebraska Bucket List. In each state we visit we try to complete what I call our "LOVED IT" list.

Everything on the list is easy to accomplish, but if we don't make the effort we sometimes find ourselves leaving a state without really experiencing our surroundings. It's just a way to remind ourselves to get out of THE POD and enjoy this lifestyle we're living!

As you can see we checked off one item by simply introducing ourselves to our campground neighbors, Kim & Matt from North Carolina. That's their trailer you can see in the second photo above. Kim grew up here in Superior, NE and they're back to visit her mother who still lives here.

The second and third items were just as easy to accomplish. I went into town, 2 miles away, where I purchased two frozen pizzas, a half dozen garlic rolls and $4 bundle of firewood. We cooked the pizzas and rolls in the oven and then enjoyed our meal sitting outdoors. Later we started our campfire and invited Kim & Matt to join us. We were glad when they accepted our invite and we spent the next 3 hours sharing stories and getting to know each other.

We tried to locate a geocache that is hidden here inside Lincoln Park, but eventually came away unsuccessful. It is hidden somewhere in this WWII tank that is on display near the other side of the park. There were just too many nooks and crannies for it to be hidden in and we quickly tired of trying to find it.

Cool, but no geocache for us here!

UPDATE: Not to be denied I woke up Saturday morning determined to find our Nebraska geocache. After striking out in three more locations it seems the fourth time's the charm for me. We now have 31 finds in 31 different states!

SATURDAY - Well it's time once again to break into my stash of gourmet sodas for another exciting episode of:


Say that three times fast!

Today's soda selection is distributed by Dublin Bottling Works in Dublin, TX. It is their Cherry Limeade flavored variety and once again it wasn't anything special.

I got off to such a good start with my soda selections but these last two have been just ordinary.

I'm beginning to think I should have just split my 6 pack with three Caramel Apple and 3 Butterscotch Root Beers.

Let's hope my final selection is another winner!

SUNDAY - When we arrived here at Lincoln Park on Thursday we had only planned on staying for four nights and leaving on Monday morning. That has now changed because we discovered that the pharmacy here in town has the Johnson & Johnson 1-dose vaccine that we have been waiting to recieve.

More importantly they are currently administering them to out of state visitors. I went online this morning and was able to make appointments for Tricia and I to both get vaccinated tomorrow morning at 10:00AM.

In an abundance of caution we will be staying an additional three days here, in case either of us experience any of the mild side effects from getting the vaccine.

MONDAY - As of 10:30AM we have both finally been vaccinated for COVID-19.

We were informed that we may experience some mild to moderate short-term side effects, but they should go away on their own in a day or two. This is usually a good sign that our immune systems are responding to the vaccine.

Injection site pain is the most common side effect, followed by fatigue, headache, nausea, and muscle aches.

Partial immunity develops 14 days after vaccination and full immunity is reached after 28 days.


I guess all we can do now is "wait and see"!

WEDNESDAY - It's been two and a half days since we were vaccinated for COVID-19 and neither one of us experienced any of the side effects. So tommorrow we will be packing up and heading off to our next destination. It's another city park less than 100 miles from here but this time it's not free.

We'll be paying $20 a night for four nights, but will have full hookups (water/electric/sewer).

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