Word came from Amazon that our start date is August 1. The time has come to end our Colorado idyll and go to Michigan for a few weeks of cool July weather. To get there we must cross Nebraska, Iowa, and Illinois. It is a thousand miles to Holland, MI, and the weather is going to be hot, even by typical July standards.
The Red Sled has been complaining of shortness of breath, and that Check Engine light just won’t go off. It doesn’t blink, which would mean a critical problem (chest pain), and the overhead display refuses to reveal the problem. We hoped that the lowlands will help the Sled, but when we got there, that intermittent albatross hung with us.
Temperatures are already in the low 90’s so we checked into a Passport America camp in North Platte, NE. We have shore power, and the refrigerator and air conditioner work at the same time. We chose North Platte for another reason: there is a Dodge dealer here with impressive customer reviews.
We think of Nebraska as a corn-growing state, but everywhere you see cattle grazing. (Iowa turned out to be the corn state; high as an elephant’s eye in early July.) The North Platte, NE area is a hot-bed for gravel mining. Gravel is usually a by-product of glaciers, which in their salad days ground medium rocks into smaller ones, leaving those large, rounded pebbles along their path of glacial movement. Everywhere you look are deep blue pools of clear, fresh water left after highway builders mined the rock. These are great natural swimming pools, but here and there forward thinking landowners have seeded these 50 to 900 acre ponds with baitfish, aquatic vegetation, crappie and bass. Our campground, I-80 Lakeside, is one such place. But it is Catch and Release only, so Kat blew it off. No fish fry? No interest.
We chose our Dodge dealership well. They worked on the Sled for parts of three mornings, changed out a pressure sensor in the turbo-charger, cleaned the turbo and got us running very well once again. The price was half what I had expected, and I’m here to tell you there are honest auto dealer repair shops out there. If you are in western Nebraska and need Dodge or Ram work, go to Janssen Dodge in North Platte.
Road Food likes North Platte’s Runza for its runzas. Those are something like a calzone, but with a filling of ground beef, cabbage, onions, and secret seasonings. The shell is a softer, less dense bread than that of calzones or strombolis making for a less filling lunch. You don’t really notice the cabbage, onions, or the secret spices, but overall the sandwich is better than the pasties we enjoyed in Michigan a few years ago.
We camped once at Cabela’s Omaha. This is luxury boondocking with a dump station and clearly marked 70’ level concrete sites. We spent about $50 there the next morning, and it could have been much worse. Mutual of Omaha Bank was just across the street, an interesting coincidence inasmuch as I just wrote about Marlon, Jim, and Wild Kingdom. I of course dreamt of Kingdom, but gators and snakes weren’t in it. Marlon kept arguing with Jim that the primate island would benefit greatly from Jim’s camping there for a year, but Jim responded with a flawless, eloquent argument for the highly educated and articulate Marlon to live with the monkeys … but when I woke up, I couldn’t quote ol’ Jim’s argument. Ah, such a pity.