Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Nebraska to Home!

I'm ready to wrap up these posts and this one will do that! I have enjoyed reporting back what I found OUT THERE in NC, VA, W.VA, and PA in my 2 weeks prior to Annie's Surgery then back to TN, KY, IN, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the Northern Lake Superior area of Ontario Canada, Minnesota, North and South Dakota, and now a quick ride through Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, TN, NC and back Home in SC!!! 

For me one of the highlights was the 3 days I got to spend with my sister in TN at our family cemetery decoration! There is no place on Earth more special to me than where my family is...and that is what makes me turn around and come back home.  I sure miss her now she is back at her home and we await the next time we get to be together.

The morning spent in Valentine, NE was chilly at 38 degrees,  I was only one mile out of town so made the decision to do a coffee and  biscuit at McDonald's!  Casey was happy I got him a treat in there too...did I mention he would not eat the Canadian Bacon from McDonald's? Must be pretty awful if a DOG wouldn't eat it so I was leery of the plain biscuit I purchased for myself...I like Bojangles biscuit over McDonald's hands down. 

                                                          it's all about what's available

All that aside...I stopped to have a tire looked at in a Mr Tyre shop it was locally owned and operated and they suggested I put my spare on as the belt had broken in one of my front tires.  I had already purchased one new tire back in Williston, ND, wonder why they didn't catch that broken belt? SO the vibration I had been feeling was immediately gone when they switched the tire...SO Happy as I could not stand that vibration for 1700 miles!! 

Last October if you recall my Mom and I drove all the way across NE east to west, and spent some time in Kearny...and now it's a North to South path.  After my early Mr Tyre visit, and back on the road I spotted Valentine National Wildlife Refuge! OH have to at least make a quick stop.  So U-Turn!

yep that's my shadow ...grrr

took a short hike up this path armed on both sides with prickly things!

the white crowned sparrows were loving it tho..

I took a drive down one of the dirt roads in the refuge across a cattle gate to a few ponds..some pied billed grebe, mallard, and red winged black bird was around, but not interested in my camera however these cows liked it a lot!

some Euro Starlings taking a ride on the windmill...while these northern rough winged swallows were totally interested in this digger!

flushed mallards

It was close to lunch time so we had it here and then split! 

3 wood ducks for our lunch viewing pleasure

I stayed on Hwy 83 south down to 92/2 then onto I-80 East and exited onto Hwy 14 

Here I stopped for the night just shy of the Kansas line in Superior, NE and stayed in their Municipal park free! There was electric and water! Big mature trees each site paved really nice, all you have to do is put your name in a registry book...There is a train right beside the be prepared. 

On the morning of Sept. 27th  it was back on 14 South into Kansas  I thought of driving the 35 miles to Smith Center since I had read about it in Belle Fourche, as being the original center of the USA, but that would mean a round trip of 66 maybe some other time?

So kept going on hwy 14 S....and then onto I-70 East bound.

Right thru the heartlands.....It was harvest time in NE and Kansas...

the dusty combines were hard at work and the trucks full of grain made tracks to the bins...I could feel the urgency as the wind chilled the air telling me to go home and telling them to get that crop in!

I stopped alongside a sunflower field full of Red Winged Blackbirds...

It was a hard day of driving!! I stopped only for gas, restroom and to eat and ended up in Columbia Missouri at a state park called Graham Cave for my second day of heading home.  $12, it had a nice shower house...and that night I blew up my DVD player! I think it was one of those issues of over charging the battery...2 loud pops some yukky electrical burn smell and it was toast! I tossed it in the trash can--I'm still looking for the perfect replacement. They now make a 10" screen on portable DVD players with a 5 hrs on one charge

Back on I-70 I breezed thru Kansas City...and it took me for ever to get through St. Louis, its a solid 60 mins of heavy traffic 

with Wilma keeping me straight I remembered why I had stopped using I-70 as an East/West route! So in the city I have to get on I-55 S for a short while then I-64 E, then South on I-57 to I-24 East

I did snap this one of the St Louis Gateway Arch!

 then Finally onto I-40 East at Nashville.  Seemed like I finally took a long breath once Nashville was in my rear view.  I always just want to get through Nashville and have never wanted to stop and see the sites in ...small towns ...YES!
After another hard day of driving I stopped in Crossville, TN, 

Crossville mural

not far from where I was born, appropriately since the next day was my birthday! 

Crossville Theatre

I stayed in the Cumberland Mtn State park, had electric, showers and all $18 kind of high...if it hadnt been so cool I'd have done the Walmart, but I sure needed that little electric heater to keep me warm all night.
Next day by 4 pm I was at Home!! Mom recalled how she had paid Dr Rhinehart $30 to deliver me 63 yrs ago on this day..I  photographed the Dr's grave when my sis and I were near here just a few weeks back when I started my solo circle was complete! 

I had a fantastic journey! I added 7 new birds to my life list, I forgot to mention the Merlin I saw on my way to the Writing Rock, I got one fuzzy shot if it..add to that the Ruffed Grouse, Swainson's Thrush, Franklin's Gull, Black Backed Woodpecker, Vesper Sparrow, Yellow Headed Blackbird, and actually the Green Pheasant makes 8 as I'm counting it as separate from the ring neck since it has NO rings!  My list is my just for me list I'm not necessarily PC so I count it. 
Soon I will be back to posting in real time, I hope! My next post is about our Beach Trip!

Eleanor Roosevelt: You must do the thing you think you can not.


  1. A really fantastic journey Sondra, and great to see parts of your country through your eyes.

    1. It was indeed my pleasure and I always appreciate you comments!

  2. Another great trip Sondra. Thanks for the roads, I've just followed your route, that certainly was a long drive. Some good bird spots too. Our starlings are gathering now and its a spectacular evening sight when thousands of them swoop around and then suddenly drop down to roost.

    1. The starlings much be amazing to watch, thank you for following along and your great comments.

  3. What a journey loved it. I had such a great time I have decided to have a bed built into the back of the truck. Since I can't afford to buy a conversion van I am going to make the best of what I have. Just wish I could find some source for heating if no electric can be found.

    Can't wait for your next post.

    1. Hi Jo, so glad you enjoyed my reports of what I saw, of course there is SO Much I could not include as I would never get done, I hope your bed construction goes well...I do use the Mr. Buddy it gets really hot and you can't leave it on all night so what I do is I put it on while Im getting up in the mornings, Best time to travel is when we don't need AC or Heat but life does not always allow us to go when We really want to.

  4. Not a bad way to end the trip at all. Long drives but interesting ines.


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