Destination Denver

Lincoln, Nebraska

Our campground in Lincoln (pictured above) was greening up nicely compared to our time there in February.  While all the green stuff loved several days in a row of rain, I’ll admit we got a little tired of it!  We took a drive down south of town to a couple of Nebraska State Parks: Wagon Train and Stagecoach.  The two parks are fairly close to each other, and each of them encloses a small lake.  As you can see below, the lakes were up a couple of feet!





The geese didn’t seem to mind the high water – there were dozens of goslings being guided around the park by watchful adults.



This farm is just outside Stagecoach Park.



North Platte, Nebraska

We’ve driven the route from Lincoln to Denver more times than I care to count, and most often we stop at the midway point for fuel.  So all North Platte has meant to us was fast food and fuel.  This trip we decided to take it easy and spend the night there.

Our campground was quiet and very close to the Famous (?) Fort Cody.


Fort Cody is one of those tourist traps that you always drive by, but where you never stop.  Turns out “Buffalo Bill” Cody drove stagecoaches into North Platte from Kearney in 1865, and opened his “Wild West Show” here in 1893.  This “Fort,” is apparently full of his memorabilia, but I don’t know for sure, since the virus has shut it down.  I’m sure it was open the thousands of times I’ve driven right by, but the one time I have the time to check it out, it’s closed.  Ha!



Tourists may not currently be allowed inside, but manikins still guard the walls, apparently from guests of the nearby Hampton Inn.


Muffler Men

Bob Prewitt, in 1962, made a huge fiberglass sculpture of Paul Bunyan for the Paul Bunyan Cafe on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Paul held a huge axe in his hands, right hand palm up, and left hand palm down.  Prewitt’s fiberglass company was bought out the following year by a boatbuilder, who figured they could build more of these 20 foot titans fairly easily.  Many sprung up along Route 66 and other places around the country to lure people off the road and into shops, museums, restaurants and more.  So many were used by muffler shops (the hands held mufflers easily) that they became known as “Muffler Men.”  As the years went by, many morphed into other characters.  I was pleased to find that Fort Cody includes a Muffler Man turned Indian.  As most of the surviving Muffler Men, the pose is the same; looking a bit awkward without an axe or muffler!



We decided to walk for a little exercise and exploration on a quest for groceries.  We used our little Burley trailer… and tried to get this chapped and saddled dinosaur to help pull it, but he wasn’t about to join in.  Posing for the picture was all the effort he was willing to expend.



Now we’re back in the Denver area – at a nice campground nestled around a big rock outcropping.  The sky is beautiful and things are still very green.  Again, when we were here in February, we saw more snow than green…





Last night was beautiful… and I love trying night photography.  This shot (at 10:30pm) is all Colorado… an SUV, with kayaks and bikes, in front of a rocky outcropping and a gorgeous sky.  Love it!



That rocky hill beside the camp used to have a walking path up the middle.  It’s been closed for a long time, but at night this locked entrance took on a somewhat spooky look. On that strange note, I’ll close this blog.








Last week I showed a bit of old downtown Lincoln… on a bike ride this week we ended up touring University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and we were amazed at the size and architecture of this campus!






The chemistry building looks impressive, until you compare it in size to the Huskers Stadium right behind it!  Says something about priorities…





The Museum of Natural History is guarded by a huge Mastodon.




The bell tower above has this plaque on the side… It plays beautifully… quite nice thank-you notes!




Don L. Love

Love was Lincoln’s mayor for two non-consecutive terms, six years in between 1909 and 1931.  He donated money to Union College in 1939, and after his death his estate donated to UN-L.  Consequently, both Union College and University of Nebraska- Lincoln have buildings named for Don Love.  

Below is UN-L’s Don Love Library:



Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson grew up from age 8 in Norfolk, Nebraska.  After high school, he hitchhiked to Hollywood, and the world was never the same.  Something of Nebraska must have stayed in his heart, however… Three months before his death, he gave $5.3 Million to the University of Nebraska Foundation, which was used to create the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film.  Another $5 million was donated by his estate after his death.  So below is one of the Carson buildings.



“Torn Notebook”

This huge metal sculpture apparently reminds student to hold tightly to their notebooks in high Nebraska winds.





Johnny Carson’s name is on the door of this huge “Temple”.


This artsy building is where apparently someone lost his head… It reminded me of Medusa’s Head sculptures in the huge cistern underneath the city of Istanbul… but that’s another story…




North Bottoms Neighborhood

Many Germans moved to Russia in the early 1800’s, promised free land, exemption from Russian Military and political autonomy.  When the Czar revoked those privileges in 1971, a flood of German emigration to the Americas began.  Lincoln was a great destination, with land and jobs available.  Most took advantage of “Bottom Lands” along Salt Creek, where frequent flooding reduced land values and the rail yards offered jobs.  The many homes in the area show a mixture of architectural styles – some like the “Old Country” and some more American.



The neighborhood is not too terribly far from our campground, but we haven’t explored the area very much.  Here are a couple of examples:




PS: the Iris blooming in the sunset are in our campground north of the North Bottoms Neighborhood.

Downtown Lincoln



The boundaries of Lancaster County, Nebraska were drawn up in 1855, and settlers started arriving soon after.  A Methodist Elder was among them, and he staked out claims and laid out the township of Lancaster.  He erected a two story building used as a female seminary and governmental meeting hall.  (It burned down in 1867).  A Methodist Church was built in his center of town, which was later replaced with the huge church in the picture above.

The State Capital Commission designated Lancaster as the new seat of State Government in 1867, and renamed it Lincoln to honor the martyred President.


This Telephone Building interested me with its covered emergency exit stairway.  Covered only to the second floor… maybe the Telephone people rented out the top floor to others they didn’t care much about?  It’s covered far higher than would be needed to keep baddies from jumping on it from the ground (Batman hadn’t been thought up yet).  It looks original, since the windows are staggered to allow room for it.






Whoever works in Woods Brothers was practicing social distancing with her mask on.



Several buildings have entrances or windows covered with nice canopies.  And the many covered walkways over the streets would make you think the weather is often bad here!





This one even has huge pedestrians built in!



The old Gold’s Department store building was completed in 1924, abandoned in 1980, and has had many abortive attempts to remodel/restore it.  Someone is trying again, and hopes it will house a fancy hotel in a couple of years.  I’ll keep you posted.



There are signs up promising the “Return of Downtown Lincoln” is coming soon…




It’s already an interesting blend of old and new.



The Sharp Tower building was finished in 1927.  At sixteen floors it was a skyscraper!


Sometimes the old and new are in close proximity…



This building reflects patterns of buildings across the street.





This next one is a microwave tower, that from what I’ve read, is abandoned.  It was supposedly given its unique shape to help it blend in with downtown architecture.  It this Mission Accomplished?



The Lied Center is a modern concert/performance center.



Near the train station there are many quaint shops and restaurants.



We went to Leadbelly’s last time we were here (Remember the Cinnamon Roll Burger?) but I never noticed there is a caboose squeezed up against one end of the building!


Speaking of squeezed, this guy somehow squeezed his beautiful ’57 Chevy into this short thing.  Maybe to fit in this little shop squeezed between two much more stately buildings.




Almost adjacent to the train station is a funny little alley with sculptures down the whole length – up out of reach.



Other places boast interesting sculptures also:


And I rest easier knowing that should a proper emergency arrive, the Emergency Donut Vehicle is ready to respond!



Social distancing is also being practiced by an overweight bench sitter, and even the fire hydrant is asking to be avoided!



Walker Tire was founded a LONG time ago.  Bought later by a car enthusiast, it is now run by his kids and grandkids… they have 4 locations in Lincoln, and I went there when the Tire Pressure Monitoring system on the Suburban gave me some screwy readings.  Turns out that in the past, when someone rotated the tires, they didn’t recalibrate the sensors, so the system was reporting low pressure in the left rear when really it was the right front.  Walker recalibrated the sensors, but over the next few days the right front leaked about 7 pounds out… so today I had them attempt to fix the leak.  A staple and a screw in the tire.  Sigh.  We’ll see if it works.  The tires are close to needing replacement… maybe that will be next week’s story!




American Business Starting Up Again?

Lincoln, Nebraska

We’re back in Lincoln, probably for a few weeks… spending a bit of time with family.  We’ve had a couple of days in the 80’s – a nice time to have dinner Al Fresco!



Bike Ride

Across the highway and down a bit is a nice park.  We took the bikes and explored a bit.  It seems there is so much “Flying Saucer” traffic that they warn you to take care.  We saw a few Frisbee-Flingers, but were never seriously threatened.





Shocking News

A couple of weeks ago I closed the blog with the hint that the following blog might have “Shocking Project”.  It was a ridiculous teaser, since I was planning on replacing the front shocks on our home.  (How long has it been since you replaced the shocks on YOUR home??)  I actually did it, but didn’t take any pictures, and if there are no pictures I can’t tell if it really happened!  I spend too much time on the RV forums, and have read a lot about a certain KONI shock absorber that will help Freightliner Chassis Motorhomes ride better.  Ours rides like a dream – when the road is pretty smooth.  But when there is a pothole or big ridge in the pavement, it feels like it hits really hard.  So thinking any improvement is good, and having far too much time available, I ordered the shocks.  Installing them was every bit as much work as I’d expected, but with a tool borrowed from helpful neighbor David (The one buying the hunk of Arizona), I got ’em done.  Then didn’t test drive them for a week or so.  When we finally moved, last week, we found they were (Wait for it…         ) … fine. Cherryl is very polite, and knowing how hard I worked to change them, said it felt a bit better.  But in reality, I can’t say I feel a difference.  Maybe they will last longer, or… something else better.


DI Tanks

Last year I installed a pressure washer and some De-Ionizer tanks under the front end of our Motorhome.  It’s really wonderful – De-Ionized water doesn’t leave any spots or streaks when it dries, so it makes cleaning the Motorhome easier and better.  The problem is that I had to winterize the system before the frightfully cold winter.  I apparently didn’t do it well enough, because when I tried to de-winterize it, nothing worked well.  It turns out the “Distribution Tubes” in each tank cracked, so the resin inside the tanks got in the wrong places and contaminated itself.  The good news is that the pressure washer is still OK, and the parts for the DI Tanks and new uncontaminated resin are supposed to arrive tomorrow.


Cracked Windshield

It was terrifically windy one day on our trip to Lincoln.  The first time I’ve really felt the wind try to push our Motorhome around.  We drove a long ways on a two lane road, and when trucks going the other way passed us, the wind was dramatic.  That afternoon, when we stopped, we noticed a crack in our windshield!  Ouch!  We’ve already gotten an estimate from the manufacturer, where we are planning some work next month anyway.  I won’t say it’s astronomical, but it is over four times what I paid for my first car! (Which says something about the quality of my first car and how long ago that was!)



The Country is Opening Up for Business!

On a walk in my brother-in-law’s neighborhood we saw this nice evidence that the country is opening up again…  cute kids must have decided the overhead on a lemonade stand it too high… so they are selling jokes!  And payment is delivered with a small bucket on a long stick, to maintain social distancing.  Very cute.


On the Road Again!

Our next-door neighbors in Kingman were David and Glenda.  A very nice couple, they had just purchased a good hunk of Arizona land near there.  They plan to live in their 5th wheel trailer on site, as they build their home.  They already have a septic system in place, have moved a water tank into place (with a well to be dug soon), and will use solar to meet their electrical needs.  They also have that shiny red tractor that I showed on a previous blog!  What could be cooler?  Except an invitation to visit the property…


Just before you reach their very secluded site, you drive through what looks like a fairly well maintained ghost town.  I guess it is a Dude Ranch that never really took off.  It’s a cool place anyway.




This area is open range, so you see many cows open ranging around…


Here we are with David and Glenda – and off to tour the 80 acres!




Just outside of their property is this abandoned house.  We didn’t go in (Social Distancing!) but were told that it looks like the owner just disappeared!  Even left a note of some kind on the table.  A bit of a puzzle.


The desert views from the property are stunning.







Glenda called this “Jesus’ Tomb”



Of course, I had to shoot some of the spring color growing out of the desert.




Here is a greatly-shortened video I shot of their property…



Finally Moving!

It was finally time for us to move!  Family called us to Lincoln, and since everything is closed due to the virus, we decided to pretty much drive straight there and not stop at all the interesting points along the way.

Before we left, Cherryl got a bit of baking done.  Here she uses the grinder to grind the wheat into flour, and then the Bosch to mix it, and producing some wonderful whole wheat bread!


Adjacent to our campground in Gallup, New Mexico, was a large wash that looked like a fun place to test the Suburban’s sand cliff climbing abilities.  Too bad we didn’t have time for the test!


I have no pictures of the campground in Dalhart, Texas.  Maybe that says something.


We shared a campground with some Bison (Metallic) in Salina, Kansas.


Taking on fuel…



And finally arriving in Lincoln, Nebraska



Current plans have us staying in Lincoln for a while.  It is far greener than when we were last here in February!








Oatman Outing

In keeping with our “Social Distancing” interpretation, we figured if we drive on an old, almost forgotten road, we will see nobody and not talk to them either.  So we set out on the longest stretch of original Route 66 – a very narrow, curvy road through some really magnificent mountains.  This stretch was considered so treacherous back in the day, many folks were afraid to drive it, and either hired locals to drive their cars for them, or to tow their cars – which sounds far scarier to me than driving it yourself! But I’m guessing in 1930 cars weren’t as reliable as we take for granted today… brakes failing, engines overheating, and maybe even steering precision being somewhat sloppy.  All those would add adventure but possibly detract from the majesty of the views.



We saw a few more vehicles than I’d expected…  Some obviously having fun…



Others evidence of the road hazards mentioned above.  (These are 3 separate cars… I’m not sure why statistically orange is such a dangerous color)


The road also passes a few mines and remains of buildings.



This must be the perfect time of year for wildflowers – the hills are showing lots of green, and there are loads of colorful flowers.



As I was looking for a good angle for flower pictures, I almost stepped on this cute little guy.



When the road was being created in the ’30’s, finding water was very important, not only for people, but their animals and cars.  A man named Shaffer noticed water seeping from the canyon wall, and built a little basin out of nearby rocks.  It filled with water, and folks added goldfish to keep the algae down.  Over the years it has frozen or dried out, but people keep adding goldfish to maintain the tradition.  The trail up to the Goldfish Bowl is marked only by the stairway cut into the rock.  There is a closer view in the little movie at the end of this lengthy blog…  (Can you handle the suspense?)



Oatman is now pretty much a ghost town.  Due to the virus, there are only a couple of eating establishments open.  Lots of touristy souvenir shops and the hotel are closed.  There were a surprising number of people there (And we didn’t talk to any of them… am I supposed to be proud of that??)



This is the site of the Arizona Hotel.  In 1915 it was one of seven hotels in Oatman.  It had 45 rooms and extensive fire protection features.  That helped it survive the 1921 “Great Fire” that burned most of the other end of town.  However in 1950 it was torn down to reduce property taxes… So now all you see are a couple of walls and the original vault.



The town and this “Restaurant & Ice Cream Saloon” are named for Olive Oatman.  Her family was crossing through in the mid 1800’s, when they were attacked by Indians.  The adults were killed, and the two daughters were taken as slaves. The young son was left for dead.  After 5 years, the army learned of her situation and arranged for the 19 year old girl’s return.  She had been tattooed with black marks on her chin.  This is pretty much how the story was told at the time, by her and an author writing her story.  It is interesting that the story has been re-written many times since then, apparently to lessen some of the scarier details.  I was planning on writing only about two lines as a teaser to the story, and make you read the details below, but it seems my keyboard is stuck in the verbose mode.  Read the story below if you feel like it.




In a ghost town, what would you expect except old inoperable artifacts.  Like this old inoperative public pay phone.  Remember those?



This hotel supposedly had many famous guests visit, including Clark Gable and Carol Lombard.  I sincerely hope it looked better then!



We missed the “Great Oatman Bed Races!”  It says they even supply the beds, and across the street from the notice we noticed one.


Lots of other ghost towny things…


There are signs everywhere warning of the hazards of entering old mines.  This one had a somewhat more compelling graphic…



Oatman is famous for hosting more burros than people.  As we drove into town, we saw one in the road, but by the time we parked and got back to the spot, he’d left town.  We saw NO OTHERS in town!  Maybe they were practicing their social distancing.

We did see some outside of town…




It was perfect weather for a drive in the desert, and we really enjoyed all the wildflowers.





Near the Kingman end of this old stretch of Route 66, is Cool Springs.  A station for food and fuel, it was a major stop in the 20’s and 30’s.  After this stretch of the highway was replaced with a far easier to drive road (But less scenic), the Cool Springs outpost died and turned into just another Route 66 ruin.  In the mid 60’s it burned to the ground.  It had a brief resurrection when it was hastily rebuilt for the movie “Universal Soldier” in 1991.  During the filming, they blew it to smithereens, and Cool Springs was a ruin again. Early in the 2000’s, Ned Leuchtner bought the place and has restored the shop to its previous funky glory. The guest cabins are gone, but the place looks much like the original landmark.


Here is the video you’ve been waiting so patiently for.  We stopped for lunch, driving out on top of a rise with an excellent view, only to find dozens of memorials or grave markers there.  I’m not sure if it is really a graveyard or just a crowded memorial site… but the view was awesome.  There is also a bit of video from elsewhere on the road, and of course the Goldfish Bowl.


We’re Still in Kingman…

Route 66

We have thought about following the old Route 66 its whole length… but things keep changing and we have only explored portions of it.

It still fascinates me.  Route 66 ran from Chicago to Los Angeles, long before we had interstates.  Over 2,000 miles, through eight states, this “Mother Road” was created in the late ’20s from existing “Motor Trails” and unnamed roads.  It consisted mostly of primitive dirt roads, with a few paved portions.  By 1938 all the dirt stretches had been paved, but it was still mostly a narrow twisty roadway.  Route 66 linked up with key railroad stations, and prompted the creation of “Motor Hotels”, campgrounds, service stations, souvenir shops and tourist traps.

Kingman was Arizona’s biggest stop on Route 66.  There are still lots of old structures that  evoke the history of the Mother Road.  Lately, there is little traffic, as everyone is hiding indoors from scary viruses!  We did a little tour of some of the town, while keeping very far away from everyone!



Even a grocery store had colorful murals…  (Only visited for needed food, and while sporting our cool masks)


This Catholic church was built in 1906.  A bit before the iconic route.



Plenty of interesting old homes and hotels.


This locomotive claims to be the last steam locomotive run by the Santa Fe railroad.  Built in 1929 for $100,064 (Can’t omit the $64!), She ran for 28 years and over 2,500,000 miles!




There are many establishments that capitalize on the Route 66 schtick.



Mr D’z seems to like interesting vehicles…


The Kingman visitor center was pretty lonely.



We drove out of town a ways on a bit of the original Route 66 roadway.





Some more color is appearing!


Everything Needs Washing

In our travels we have seen many washing facilities… Car washes, truck washes, RV washes…


But this is the first we’ve seen of these!


I’m sure washing your rattlesnake is a good idea; they seem to be pretty fierce critters when they are dirty!


Home Improvement Projects

Last week I posted a bit about adding more accurate tank sensors to our home.  I’ve finally finished that project! The new system has a display above the windshield on the curb side (As does the old system) and a secondary display in the “Wet bay” where you fill and empty tanks.  The panel inside also has a switch to turn the water pump on/off, and a cute little LED to show if it’s on or not.  We like to turn the pump off while driving, and sometimes have to walk all the way back to the kitchen to check or turn it off. (Such trouble!)  Now we can see from the passenger seat the status of the pump and adjust as necessary.  In case you are wondering, there are good reasons to turn off the pump while driving.  1) If we are low on water, it is possible that an air bubble get in the pump and it would keep running and we don’t need the extra wear.  2) I read about a couple who, while on a long drive, had a pipe break in the rear bathroom, and the pump just ran for hours filling the back half of the motorhome with water.  Hours later they noticed a tidal wave of trouble.  We don’t need that either.

Here on the left you can see the tanks and a bit of crazy wiring, with the new green sensors on the ends of the tanks… and on the right is the same compartment with the panelling and shelving put back in place.


Inside also has its share of wires… and here on the right is the finished panel.  The little panel third down on the right, with the red LED’s is the new one.  I will still leave the old system in place – it controls automatic filling of the fresh water tank, and tells the toilets when the black tank is full so they won’t let you flush what wouldn’t fit.  You get it…


And when we’re not admiring our new panel this door hides it from view.



Notice To Our Children

I saw this clever plate on the front of a very nice motorhome.  I need one like it because it is equally true for us!



Our Local Environment

Lest you be tempted to feel sorry for us stuck in Arizona, I have to add a few more pictures to dispel that notion.



This is not our motorhome, but it shows off the beautiful sky.



I finally got the drone out to capture our campsite from above.  This is the mountain we look at through our windshield.  It has had snow on top a few days, but not anymore!



There is a gravel quarry behind us, which you can’t see in unless you can fly.  Even though it’s cutting up the mountains, the colors revealed are pretty.




Looking straight down, you can see most all the sites for people traveling and staying short term are empty.  Those along the back are folks staying longer periods.  Extra credit if you can tell which rig is ours!



Starry Eyed

The other night was special astronomically… the Moon, Saturn, Mars and Jupiter were all in a line!  But the Moon is so much brighter than the planets, that it burned out terribly and looks like a full moon.



The Moon actually looked like this:



I really love looking at all the stars, and trying to capture them in a photo.



And I’ve always wanted to do this “Stars rotating around the North Star” photo, so here it is:



So that’s this week in Kingman…  Next week I have another project.  In fact, a rather shocking project.  Tune in next week to see if I manage it!



We are constantly commenting on how thankful we are for our beautiful home on wheels!  This week I got an email from Todd, who with his wife Julie, write a blog about RV’ing.  Check it out at (but don’t forget to come back here!)

Todd wrote about Gratitude, and had a couple quotes from Viktor Frankl that I really enjoyed seeing again.  So here they are:

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: that last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”

“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”

Later he talked more about being truly grateful for all that we are blessed with… When the world seems to be going more crazy by the hour, and pandemic is spelled “Panic” for too many people, it’s too easy to focus on what we are missing or have lost, rather than on the many blessings we really have.  If you are healthy, rejoice and be thankful!  If you are not healthy, be glad our bodies were created to self-repair most any insult.

I am very grateful for a beautiful healthy family.  I’m thankful for the ability to be out in the middle of nowhere, far from any crowds. For food, water, a warm bed, and internet to keep up with friends.  I’m also thankful for FaceTime, so we can still meet up with our awesome family.  Life is good, in spite of a viral panic!  A good dose of Grateful will go a long way to calm the news-inspired panic.


Spring must be arriving in the desert

We’ve been “isolating in place” for a while here now, and we’re starting to see things “Green Up.”



Even a few other colors!


I still try to run most every day: 13 miles or one half hour, whichever comes first!  Last year about this time I was running along this beach in Saipan!


Lately the view is a bit different:



The other day, our “Neighbor” bought a new tractor.  He’s just bought about 80 acres of land near here, and will use this beautiful tractor to help build a house.  I thought it looked pretty good by our house.



Upgrading Sensors

Since we are not moving much of anywhere (one trip to town for food per week) I have time to get some projects done.  Our holding tanks sensors have been acting up, and are not terribly accurate at the best of times.  So I ordered new sensors online, and have been installing them.  The sensors on the tanks are the easy part.  The hard part is getting the wiring from the back of the motorhome to the control panel above the windshield!  I had to take the front shades down, and remove the trim from the windshield pillar.  Then the wires go down the pillar, under the coach, up into the basement, and back to the tank area.  Playing with all this gives me a new appreciation for the complexity of this movable house: there seems to be enough wires running everywhere to build a Space Shuttle!




So I have the main control installed and working; next is the secondary display in the “wet bay” where we fill or empty tanks,  so I can see the levels when working out there.

Camping in a Ghost Town

We are hardly in a Ghost Town (Who writes these headlines anyway?) but the number of transient folks, those only staying for a day or two, has really dwindled to almost nothing.  Some nights there are two or three, leaving 20 or so sites empty.  We enjoy looking at the rigs, and the diversity…  the other night there were only three: a 2 million dollar Prevost Marathon, a tiny R-Pod trailer smaller than the car pulling it, and a class C motorhome in the middle. (Size wise and by location.)  In case you’re not up on these models, here are stock photos of a Prevost and an R-Pod.



Making Masks!

In keeping with the Pandemic Panic Preventive Procedures, Cherryl made some beautiful masks!  We wore them on our town trip this week, and looked really cool!  I felt like we should be bank robbers or something!