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STOP #206

Today's travel route was nearly 200 miles of Interstate Highway driving across three states.

We started out traveling north on I-80 and immediately crossed over the 1,050 mile long Platte River which originates in Colorado and travels the full width of the state of Nebraska before joining up with the Missouri River just south of Omaha. As we got closer to Omaha, NE we switched over to I-680 to go around the west and north sides of the town.

Once we had left Omaha behind we crossed over the Missouri River and into the state of Iowa. If you asked most people, "What's the longest river in the United States?" they would confidently answer "The Mississippi River". They would of course be wrong!

"The Mighty Mississippi" is a mere 2,202 miles long while the Missouri River stretches over 2,341 miles and the states of Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas, and finally Missouri, where it empties into the Mississippi River near St. Louis, MO.

I-680 came to an end just a few miles into Iowa where we changed over to I-29 and started heading north. We traveled over 100 miles north on I-29 in Iowa and even stopped in a Rest Area and ate our tuna fish sandwiches inside THE POD. We even got to watch a couple of large Air Force cargo planes fly low overhead and watched the cars and trucks race past us on the Insterstate.

Once back on the road we continued north until I-29 crossed over the Big Sioux River, a tributary of the Missouri River, and we found ourselves in South Dakota. A short 25 miles later we left the Interstate behind and traveled due west for another 25 miles before turning south and crossing the Missouri River one more time, back into Nebraska, and our campsite for the next week.

Campsite #8 here at Nebraska Tailwaters Campground on the Missouri River in Crofton, NE

How about this for a Nebraska sunset?

FRIDAY - You might be wondering why I shared in such detail our travel route yesterday? Well a couple of weeks ago I was just surfing the internet, like I usually do, looking for something interesting to share, and I came across "a challenge" on one of the travel websites.

Many travelers have already successfully completed the simple challenge of visiting "All 50 States". While the qualification of the word "visit" is totally up for debate in this challenge, we define it for ourselves as spending "3 consecutive nights" in each state to count it as visited. Some travelers count a state as visited if their plane lands in the airport there, and they don't even have to get off the plane to count it.

I feel that's cheating you out of the reward of visiting each state and seeing something unique. I'm even considering raising the requirement for ourselves to a minimum of "7 non-consecutive nights", since we have already met that requirement everywhere we've been.

The new challenge I came across is called "The Border Crossing Challenge".

Here is how it works and best of all there is no room for debate. You must cross directly between two states, either on foot or in a vehicle on the ground, in order to get credit for the crossing. Obviously Alaska and Hawaii are not part of this challenge, and water crossings like from NY2RI, MI2MN, and MI2IL do not count.

Some states, like Maine, only have one crossing, it's with New Hampshire. Other states have as many as 8 crossings, do you know which ones they are? All together there are 107 crossings between the lower 48 states and we are going to see how many we cross in our travels.

Some of these crossings are easy to "accidentally" accomplish during normal travel routes. Others, like the crossing between Kentucky and Missouri have to be sought out on purpose.

There are two crossings that can only be done on foot. Can you guess which ones they are?

For the last couple of weeks I have been painstakingly reviewing our routes, from our first border crossing FL2GA back on July 5, 2018 to yesterday, when we checked off three crossings (NE2IO - IO2SD - SD2ND) in one day. For sake of record keeping I list the state we were in first and the state we crossed into second. Also crossing from FL2GA counts the same as crossing from GA2FL, direction doesn't matter.

If any of this interests you I've created a separate webpage to keep track of our crossings. You can find it HERE or at the bottom of the LANDINGS TAB in the main navigation bar at the top of each page.

SATURDAY - The plan for today is to go on a little scouting expedition. First thing we have to do is drive across the Gavins Point Dam into South Dakota.

Directly across the Missouri River from our Army Corps of Engineers campground here in Nebraska are three more campgrounds in South Dakota. One is another Army Corps of Engineers park, like the one we're in, the other two are South Dakota State Recreation Areas.

From the South Dakota side of the river you get an excellent view of the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center high up on the Nebraska shoreline. We will be exploring there after the Memorial Day Weekend is over and the crowds have left to go back home.

From the large windows and outside walkways of the visitor center there should be some spectacular views of the Missouri River, the Gavins Point Dam and the Lewis and Clark Lake that is formed on the upriver side of the dam.

There is also a good view from across the river of our linear campground, all 31 RV sites and 11 tent sites. Can you spot THE POD in this photo?

Maybe this will help! As you can see each and every campsite has an unobstructed view of the river. Very nice!

Anyway back to our scouting expedition. We drove through and checked out all three campgrounds in South Dakota.

The Cottonwood Campground (the other Army Corps park) has 75 campsites and none with a river view. Some sites do have a view of a small lake that has formed on the side of the main river.

The Pierson Ranch State Recreation Area has 67 campsites and none have any water views.

The Chief White Crane Recreation Area has 146 campsites and a lucky few have a river view.

That is a total of 288 campsites, probably 700-800 people, camping just across the river from us. There are two things all the campsites have in common, first is they are all occupied this Saturday morning and secondly they will all be vacant on Tuesday morning, according to the reservation cards on the campsite number posts.

I'm so glad we are camped in Nebraska this week!

A couple of chores we took care of today while in the town of Yankton, SD was to fill up with $2.69 gasoline, we then located a decent laundromat for early next week and we tried to find some drive through fast food, but found only a Burger King.

I picked up an Original Chicken Sandwich and some Chicken Fries, but later sure wished I hadn't. Tricia refused to select anything from the menu. I always knew she was smarter than me!

WEDNESDAY - Today is our last day in Nebraska and so far we haven't been out on a hike here. This morning we are going to take care of that and check it off on our Nebraska Bucket List.

There is a trail nearby called the Calumet Bluff Trail. It's a 9/10ths of a mile trail that meanders up and down several times along the shoreline of the Missouri River. It was below this bluff where Captain Lewis, of Lewis and Clark fame, gave a speech to the Native Indian Chiefs of the area back on August 30, 1804.

A short distance down the road from the trail is the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center, where we watched a couple of short documentary films and lookied around the museum which included many artifacts found in this area over the years.

Of course the Gavins Point Dam wasn't in place yet, so the water levels were much lower at the precise historical site.

After the hike and museum visit we went back to THE POD and loaded up the laundry, yeah it's that time again! But first we found a little upscale eatery along the Riverfront District in Yankton, SD and enjoyed a delicious meal, all at a very reasonable price.

Tomorrow we move again, this time into South Dakota to stay for a few weeks.


This is the parking lot where our morning hike began.
It's a very well worn trail, but today we had it all to ourselves.
This was the most hazardous footing along the entire hike.
As you can see the bridge is in need of some repair work.
It's hard to see, but there's a 100 foot drop where this guard rail is missing.
Finally a bench with a view where we can rest...
...and the end of the trail was just around the next corner.
If you thought we were in the middle of nowhere, this is the view over our left shoulder at the end of the trail.
A pleasant scene from our return trip.
It's hard to tell, but that was a pretty serious incline we just climbed.
The final steps up to the parking lot to end our hike.
Next on our agenda is the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center.
The view of Gavins Point Dam from the balcony outside those big windows.
A little bit closer view.
While awaiting for our turn to drive across the one-way section of the dam we took this photo of the power station that provides electricity to 30,000 nearby residents.
A final view of Gavins Point Dam.

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