Thursday, June 1, 2017

Headin' North - to The Badlands!

Monday, May 29 - Liberal, Kansas
Named for a farmer who was very "liberal" in sharing water with those passing through, so they say. A very tidy little town, I can't say how "liberal" they are these days, but the folks we met while there were certainly friendly! We're just passing through, so we spent one night in the fairgrounds RV area. This is the cleanest RV parking area we've ever seen at a fairgrounds. The lot is wide, completely graveled, spaces are adequately large, and there's a Walmart grocery right across the street. What more can you need, and at $15 a night for electric and water the price is certainly right!

Tuesday, May 30 - Red Willow State Recreation Area, McCook, Nebraska
Another quick stop, as we've got reservations in the Badlands and can't take extra days to get there.
This very large campground was completely full over the holiday, so we heard, but when we pulled in there was only one other camper in residence.

Having the place basically to ourselves was nice, and the pups had a lot of freedom. The spaces are generous, both in width and depth, but there is little vegetation or other division between, so not much privacy. As with many parks in the northern states, there is no water at the individual sites, they are electric only, $28/night.

Wednesday, May 31 - Cottonwood Lake State Recreation Area, Merriman, Nebraska.
60 acre Cottonwood Lake is surrounded by 180 aces of sandhills - and those sandhills are full of birds, and they all sing all the time! What a musical experience! Definitely a bird sanctuary - too many species to list, but a list would include swans, warblers, redwing blackbirds, and many more.

We also saw a muskrat swimming across the lake. Good fishing, on some days. The lake looked like it would be nice for canoeing or kayaking. On the down side, the weather was cold and windy so we didn't spend as much time outside as we might have.

Take a gander at the picnic shelter shade near our site, 'recognize it?
That's a giant satellite dish - very practical roofing material!

Management of the camping area is pretty casual, and we were able to settle into an area that wasn't crowded so the dogs wouldn't bother anyone. . . there are ticks here in addition to all the lovely birds, so dog owners beware. I pulled two off of each dog this morning. There's an $8 park permit fee, and $8 per night camping fee.

The permit is good until noon, so it also served as our entrance permit to the Bowring Ranch State Historic Site, which we visited on Thursday morning on our way out of town.

Arthur and Eve Bowring were very successful ranchers, as well as active in their community, and in later years Eve Bowring was a U.S. Senator.

The visitor center details their lives and the history of the ranch, as well as the story of cattle ranching in the area. We found it very interesting as there are strong ties to Texas.

The ranch is still a working concern, and plump healthy Herefords are lounging by the fence to greet you when you arrive.

The sod house that was the first residence on the property has been preserved, as well as the more modern ranch house. A visit to the site is well worth the drive down the short, well maintained gravel road.

We took a short detour through the little town of Merriman and sited this collection of brands representing ranches in the sandhills area - it's a pretty collection of brands, and a demonstration of the number of ranches as well as the importance of cattle in the area.

Nebraska album

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