One down, two to go! May 24/25, 2016

222 miles east of North Platte Nebraska along I-80 is Pawnee State Recreation Area, a sort of off-the-beaten-track pearl on Pawnee Lake.  Situated roughly 25 miles west of Lincoln, Nebraska's state capital, Pawnee SRA isn't a well-known stop for travelers because it isn't easy to get to.  But, I can promise you, it's a beauty.

A bargain at only twenty bucks, with electric hookup, it had convenient water and a dump station.   It was time for all of these things for us.  Quiet, clean and very, very green.  On a bluff with a lake view, our site was still so private that we didn't bother to close curtains or windows ... till later. The sun was shining when we arrived, but the air was warm and humid; you could almost feel rain in the air.    

Jimmy standing with a friend, an unhappy-looking guy.

Nebraska really is this green!

After setting up, we took a nice walk in the park

I am enjoying the view.

I've seen more turkeys in Nebraska than anywhere else.  They were all over the place.

As you may have guessed, a big ol' loud thunderstorm woke us from a sound sleep, lightning like strobe lights flashing through our bedroom window and in our eyes.  I bolted from bed to close the windows.  This is what? the fourth T-storm since we left home!  We aren't used to these showy, loud storms at all.  Volatile spring weather.  No wonder it's so green!

* * * * * * * *

The next morning, under clear skies, we pointed our nose east toward IOWA!  Passing through Lincoln, we crossed the broad Missouri.  Like all the creeks, streams and rivers as we've traveled in Nebraska, the water was muddy-looking.  Here's an oxymoron:  The Blue River that we crisscrossed several times wasn't ... it looked like milk chocolate.

Seward, Nebraska's Courthouse
A pic taken on the fly as Jimmy drove us from Pawnee SRA toward I-80.

Tiny corn plants give a blush of green on a field wet with last night's rain.

A tumbledown old barn makes a good sepia image.
We spied quite a few properties abandoned, gone to rack and ruin.

We didn't expect to see so many wind turbines along the way, but we did, tho not all were mixed in with silos.  Tergel cruised along this stretch with a tail wind, yeehaw!

Have you ever seen one of the wind turbine blades as they're trucked from factory to set-up location? Look at the length of this one blade!  These things are huge!  

This Lazy Daze camper passed us twice on I-80 (prob stopped at a rest area), towing a small sailboat with a hobby horse along for the ride.  It had to make everyone who saw it giggle.

* * * * * * * *

Harvest Hosts asks that you call the location where you want to overnight to give them a courtesy 24-hour notice.  When I called Tracy at Dale Valley Winery in Stuart, Iowa, she said, come on in!  So, that's our  destination.  DVW is actually eight miles north of Stuart on Iowa's scenic Western Skies Byway, a hilly, very pretty drive.  And now we can check Iowa off the "ain't been there list!"  Only two left to go.

Tergel is comfortable at the edge of DVW's vineyard.
We could see tiny clusters of grapes on some of the newly-green vines. 

You can see Tergel parked under the trees in the background (center).

Another warm, humid day, this time in Iowa.  We're not used to humid weather anymore (I never was), but we took off anyway down the gravel driveway for an explore of the town. Town?

First, cross the Raccoon River.

The site of the former Lonsdale Mill (sign reads:  Lonsdale Mill 1858-1914).  Tracy is a direct descendant of the the original settlers of Lonsdale, now shortened to Dale.  If we thought Pawnee SRA was a a bit out of the way, Dale is in the middle of nowhere!  

Small, but personable!  I think we met nearly all 13 people in a few hours and chatted with half.  Most everybody in Dale knew we were California visitors, out walkin' in the heat! Nice people here.

We spotted this ramshackle old house on our walk, convinced it had to be unoccupied.  Nope, Tracy said later, an elderly lady (as in 101-yr-old) still lived there.  Looked like the house might have been even older!  Wowzers!  We didn't meet her, however.

The scenery is just so lush and verdant.

The wine tasting room is Inside the old white schoolhouse.  Jimmy made a friend with Betsy, who loved to be held, as you can see.  It's a great place for wine tasting.  Outside the schoolhouse is an outdoor venue that can accommodate a good-sized crowd.  We were lucky to fit in here when it was quiet.

Above is our peaceful view outside Tergel's dinette window; we were so comfortable here. Tracy and Ed were perfect Harvest Hosts.  Jimmy and I crawled into bed fairly early, again leaving curtains and windows open, inviting in cool air.  I've been wanting to hear owls on this trip, and finally tonight I fell asleep listening to an owl call, hoooo, hoooo.  I smiled to myself.  Then, by gum, if we weren't jolted awake in the middle of the night by a violent thunderstorm! Second night in a row!  I leapt out of bed, dashing to close windows against wind-driven rain.  All but our bedroom window, away from the rain.  When all the storm hullabaloo was over and it grew quiet, I listened and again heard -- Hoooo, hoooo, hoooo.  Very, very cool.


  1. The mid-west may not have spectacular scenery but it makes up for it in other ways. Thanks for the tour!

  2. Tracy and Ed must LOVE it when guests come (bringing their own homes) to visit!

  3. I love the second pic of Pawnee SRA ... so peacefully green. We saw those wind turbine blades on flatbeds during our inaugural journey when we were taking the Phaeton from OR to VA in 2010 ... they are much bigger than they look when you see them already installed and twirling in the wind ... which means the stem has to be even more impressive in size than it seems, too.


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