Start of Oregon trail

We spent a weekend near Grand Rivers, Kentucky. Our “Tween the Lakes” campground was just adjacent to a series of bike/walk trails – over 24 miles of trails! We didn’t have time to explore them all…

Just down the street is a heavily advertised “Patti’s 1880’s Settlement,” with some interesting buildings and beautiful shopping plaza.

The Ice Cream shop was very busy on this hot day!

I can remember when Mountain Dew was first introduced… It was a play on hillbilly moonshine. Long ago they decided to ditch the hillbilly image…

You know it’s a small community when you see a Golf Cart Drive-in advertised!

We didn’t try the Pink Tractor establishment, but had to admire a mother-daughter team dressed to match the namesake tractor.

Gorgeous greenery in the plaza made it feel cooler!

Or maybe sitting on a Polar Bear’s lap would be cool…

From there we moved on to a place we’d stayed before, and for the same reason. We wanted to get a recall order taken care of on our motorhome, at the Transwest dealer just south of Kansas City, MO. The closest RV park is peculiar… that’s its name. In the town of Peculiar, MO, is the Peculiar Park Place RV Park. It is really very pretty, with newly paved roads and lots of green, lots of space, and friendly people.

Between two sections of the park, this cool old Ford Pickup was positioned as a decoration.

While we waited seven hours to get the 20 minute job done at Transwest, (We’d made the appointment a month ago – can you tell I’m a little frustrated with them?) we drove to a nearby park with a lake. We saw a Red-tailed Hawk, Baltimore and Orchard Orioles, and the elegant Eastern Kingbird. He seems dressed in formalwear. Below are pictures of the lake, but none of the gorgeous Kingbird.

Then on to Lincoln, Nebraska. We found a site in the Wagon Train State Park. There are two sections to the campground – one is mostly RV’s, and was full. (at least the 50 amp sites we prefer. I think there were three 30 amp sites available) The other section has about 5 RV sites, all along the road, but then it widens to a huge lawn area meant for tents. We got the end site, so it felt like our back yard was acres of greenery! We basically had it to ourselves.

Can you find our home?

One drawback of Wagon Train is that you have to travel dirt roads to get there. This is not one we had to traverse, but I appreciated the fact that it was labeled as a dirt road. Maybe you wouldn’t have noticed.

Oregon Trail

Katrina Emery grew up with our daughters, and her parents are great friends of ours. She has written a guidebook about following the Oregon Trail. The book is fabulous! Full of photos, history, sights to see… a great book! Thank you Katie!

So if you like to travel historical routes, just have time for a little slice of the route, or love “armchair touring”, you need to read this book! If you don’t already have it, you can check it out here.

Kevin and Becky had a little bit of time near the Memorial Day weekend, and wanted to try out a bit of the Oregon Trail. They very nicely invited us to travel with them. They rented an RV for the occasion, and here are our “Covered Wagons” getting loaded up for the trip.

Part of the fun would be trying some Oregon Trail recipes, cooking over an open fire, and of course, playing the Oregon Trail Game. Folks of a certain age will remember this as one of the first computer games. It cleverly simulated the decisions that must be made, and the consequences of such, in order to successfully navigate the trail. Just like on the real trail, a surprising number of participants died.

If you’d like to try your hand at the game, just click on this link. Your computer will simulate an “early days” machine and you can enjoy the game. Good Luck!

Our first stop was Kearney, Nebraska. Definitely a “no frills” campground, but we were supposed to be “roughing it”, and it was only one night…

The Archway Museum spans I80, where most folks zoom underneath it with out giving it much thought. The museum is two levels, and really fascinating!

Exhibits dramatically showed how difficult life was for those crossing the plains in covered wagons. The promise of basically free, fertile land in Oregon drove them ever westward. Even across the plains, where you might expect it to be easy compared to the Rocky Mountains, there were huge hazards: rivers to cross, deep gorges, steep cliffs, as well as wild animals and wild men to deal with.

The grounds around the Archway are very pretty too. We met Brian Gnuse, a newscaster for Nebraska TV. He asked if we minded if he shot us in the back as we crossed the bridge. With a camera.

So we made it on the News in Nebraska on June 2, 2021. If you feel bad because you missed it, you can click here to watch it right now! (Isn’t technology amazing!?) If you don’t feel like watching the whole 5 minutes, but must see our backs as we walk across the bridge (No signed release needed that way) we are at 1:45, and can be seen on the left of the bridge at 1:57, and at 2:50 you can see actual footprints in the compost piles made by my Grandchildren! (who after climbing the piles complained that they got their shoes dirty!)

Peter is busy keeping two angry Bison apart!

Then on the road again… to Fort Kearny.

Dayna encourages you to read up on Fort Kearny history. Note that the Fort is spelled without the second “e”, while the city of Kearney includes it. There is a story about why but I don’t remember it. It won’t be on the quiz.

A stockade encircles nothing but lawn today.

But it does offer some opportunities for climbing and watching for hostile invaders. We noticed none.

The grandkids getting their wagon moving.

A sod house has lots of period furniture and tools inside. A guy was mowing the lawns while we were there – a huge job! I wondered how he would get up on the roof!

Next stop was Ash Hollow. I could find no way to show the beauty here… the prairie rolls along, somewhat flat, then you suddenly come upon this canyon. The river below, and the greenery it supports, was a life saver for the wagon trains. Some commented that these were the first trees they’d seen in hundreds of miles.

A little school house was built on top of the mesa, near the Ash Hollow gorge.

The terrain looks nice from a motorized “Covered Wagon”, but i think it would be formidable in the wagons pulled by oxen!

So we began tracing a bit of the Oregon Trail… more next week!


  1. Interesting…tx for taking us along! When I was young I always felt I had missed something not to be able to participate in the ’49er rush. Now I’m glad I didn’t! 🙂

  2. Thanks for sharing! We have been to some of the Forts that were part of the trail west to Oregon. Very interesting. We’d like to see that museum off of I-80. Our kids used to love the “Oregon Trail” computer program. We will look forward to your post next week. Safe travels.

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