Skip to main content

Another Hipcamp Adventure: A pair of Nebraska Retreats

While driving across the state of Nebraska, and only driving through towns with two buildings, we were starting to get hungry. Then we spotted Big John.

Being hangry on a road trip is never a good idea. We've made sure we have plenty of snacks to tide us over when there's no decent restaurants in site.

We were the only non locals here. Everybody in the restaurant knew each other. It was after eating here that we decided on road trips to stick to Mexican, casino buffets or drive ins.

Unless you're in a big city or have internet to know a place is decent.

Meadow still enjoyed her corndog. Yuck!

We finally drove through a town with more than two buildings and stopped at Culver's for a treat.

It's strange to see Culver's farther and farther away from Wisconsin.

Our second Hipcamp of this mini-road trip was Theilen Produce Gardens in Schuyler, NE (pronounced sky-ler). We met Kristy and her energetic dog right when we arrived.

The story is her grandpa bought that old jail cell to protect irrigation pumps. The real story is this farm has been in her family for four generations.

Meadow loves any Hipcamp that has farm animals.

I'm pretty sure this was her favorite one.

Kristy keeps selling out of her eggs so more chickens were needed to keep up with production.

It's always Easter when there's bunnies on a farm.

Meadow was loving this place.

The pigs were my favorite. They would come running as fast they could whenever we would walk by.

Only to be disappointed that we weren't feeding them.

Meadow kept asking to go over by Kristy, but when we would she would be incredibly shy. We did get a chance to help pick Meadow's favorite vegetable, cucumbers.

We spent a lot of time exploring the farm.

Yay a puddle to play hockey scotch.

Kristy's father, Eldon is letting her take a bit more of the family corn farm each year.

Her father still grows corn and soybeans on most of the acreage, but has been very supportive of her wanting to go the more traditional route.

Meadow also enjoyed this sand hill by the Gypsy chickens.

We continued to walk around to see all the animals again.

The horses showed up this time.

Then we took a walk down their road towards the creek that runs through their farm.

A strong storm was rolling just past us.

Produce and coffee is sold from the quonset.

We got to camp between the greenhouses and the creek.

Kristy recently added an outdoor shower.

I was super sweaty, so this was a blessing.

Playing bat and ball with a stick and a clump of dirt.

Part of this old shed was made into a composting toilet.

Today was my dad's birthday so we Skyped with him to say hello.

Last year we got to celebrate with him at the cottage. It was nice to still chat with him and Brooke's sisters.

Before getting dinner we caught up with Kristy and purchased some of the cucumbers we'd had picked plus cabbage and eggs.

The town of Schuyler is actually pretty diverse.

This typically happens when you have a meat packing plant.

We had some options for Mexican food in town. We settled on a place called Burrito House not realizing it was the same restaurant we love in Chicago!

Meadow loves chicken tacos recently.

When we got back to our campsite the farm was full of fireflies. I had never seen so many, it was beautiful.

You can spot them below the treeline. It was quite crazy seeing the field aglow.

Since the eggs we bought were fresh we didn't have to worry about keeping them cold.

 We awoke to sunny skies and crowing roosters.

I made egg and avocado english muffins for breakfast. 

These had to have been the freshest eggs we'd ever ate.

Except when April made us breakfast on Gaea Farm.

Eldon even built an outdoor sink. For a change, I did dishes.

Then we did one more lap around the farm.

I also took that much needed shower. It was refreshingly cold. It was perfect.

The rooster living with the bunnies ended up escaping. We tried to chase him back in, but that just made him run farther away.

I chased the rooster until I trapped him by the other chickens.

While Scott tried to wrangle the pesky guy I went looking for Eldon.

I thought he was beautiful, but apparently you don't want white feathers on a rooster. The poor guy is getting sold soon.

We drove up rural farm routes to our next stop in northeastern Nebraska. We had long joked about how we were purposefully avoiding this state on all of our road trips. Now, that we've been I can say it's got a few places worth stopping in.

Our next stay for the night was in northeast Nebraska on the borders of South Dakota and Iowa. We would be staying at an equestrian campground.

Turkey Creek Ranch to be exact.

Folks were finishing up their riding for the day when we arrived.


I guess this place is full on the weekends. I was surprised to see only a few day trippers left.

There's also two cabins on the property you can rent.

We then got another personal tour of the land.

Brenda converted their four-wheeler golf cart to a four seater and we got to see the best views in Nebraska. 

  I can see South Dakota from here.

You can't see it, but the mighty Missouri River is just beyond the hills.

The campground had a couple horse playgrounds.

After the tour we need to get our munchies on.

Still knitting.

Meadow helped me make a red cabbage and egg carbonara.

Meadow thought the horse tie ups were a jungle gym.

Silly kid.

There's was a big open hill up from the campground. Perfect for more kite flying.

Brenda let us check out the cabin. I wished we could have stayed here. A young family had recently stayed over the weekend and it hadn't been cleaned yet.

These cabins would be great after a snow storm.

It was kind of lonely with everyone gone.

With all the horses gone Meadow got a chance to play on the horse playground.

The place did have a shower.

This time I didn't take one.

I thought we should go hiking before dark.

There were so many miles of trails.

This prairie trail was perfect for a sunset.

We then decided to go for a little drive.

America, USA.

We passed a group of calves nursing.

That is until I stopped to get a shot.

The ranch is just down the road from the Missouri National Recreational River.

I would love to someday paddle the Missouri River.

This section is the most akin to the pre-settler Missouri River. 

Before hiting the hay we drove up to an outlook to enjoy the sunset. We could've ended our little adventure here, but I decided we should drive over to nearby Vermillion, SD. It was really quite a snooze fest. I didn't even get a picture. South Dakota is strangely devoid of ice cream shops or many restaurants.

In the morning we were ready to head back to Minnesota.

I thought people might go for a horse ride in the morning, but we were still the only souls around.

  Meadow rode her bike around for a little before we headed back.

When we realized our GPS was taking us back the same route we took to get into South Dakota we decided to take a little detour into Iowa. I was looking at our atlas when I saw that we would be driving through "The Ice Cream Capital of the World". Of course we had to stop.

Le Mars, Iowa. Home to Blue Bunny Ice Cream.

 In their downtown they had a darling old fashioned ice cream shop.

Kemp's should do something like this in the Twin Cities. Maybe in an old building they own on West Broadway?

It wasn't homemade, but you could claim it was local scoops.

It was pretty fancy.

Once we crossed into Minnesota we headed towards Worthington. This is the original home of the Dayton family.

Meadow saw this payphone and immediately "called grandpa". How do kids even know?

We were thinking about going to a Mexican joint in this building downtown, but I had seen another place that seemed like it had a better vibe.

We walked in and saw the painted seats and knew there had to be a more authentic place.

This place looked like it had good food.

Taco's Lupe, it was.

Not a big crowd, but an ambience that hinted at magic.

The food was good and cheap.

So long, Worthington.

Our route back to Minneapolis was going to take us near Jeffers Petroglyphs. It was the perfect opportunity to see another site using my Minnesota Historical Society Membership.

We stopped by a few years ago, but they were closed.

I told the guide that we'd sneaked in and she told us that's why they leave it open. Because it's a sacred site they want anyone to see the site.

Some of the pictures I didn't notice until our guide shined light or sprayed water on them.

After our tour we were allowed to go wherever we wanted as long as we had our shoes off.

Another end to a great trip.

In fact, this was the perfect way to end our trip.


Popular posts from this blog

Campervan Spring Break: Northern Iowa to Las Vegas, Nevada

Day 1: Minneapolis - Ozawkie, KS After last years awesome, but incredibly expensive San Francisco to Portland campervan vacation , I didn't think we'd be doing one of those again for years. But then Brooke had a work trip to Las Vegas and wanted us to tag along. That didn't quite work, but while researching a weekend campervan rental, I found a great relocation deal from northern Iowa to San Francisco during the kid's spring break. It didn't take much to persuade Brooke. Since our West Coast trip with  Escape Campervan 's we found out that almost all of the campervan and RV rental companies need vehicles moved from time to time. They often offer 90% or more off normal rental rates. But we didn't realize that every spring many of the campervan rental agencies also need vehicles moved from mostly Midwest factories to all over the USA and Canada. Lucky for us the Winnebago factory in Northern Iowa cranks out a bunch of rental vans. We had three proposed routes

Backcountry Camping with Kids in Theodore Roosevelt National Park

Day 1  Back in May I stumbled upon Theodore Roosevelt National Park. I had no idea there was a National Park in North Dakota and that it was the northern end of the Badlands. Usually our summer vacations coincide with Scott's work trips. Since he didn't have any this summer I thought we should take advantage of actually taking a vacation. What, my workcations are always classics? I suppose a second real vacation this year wouldn't hurt. We definitely have more time than normal. As long as we took Covid-19  precautions and avoided people. We finally settled on a time to go. Blake joined us so we borrowed our dad's van so we could ride together. Scott had just driven from Michigan the day before. Blake had met my parents in Wisconsin to get the van and then drove from Duluth to pick us up. I offered to drive since I literally only drive twice a month.  I was still pretty tired from a long drive home. Since we were near Fergus Falls we had to stop by the abandoned state ho

Campervan Spring Break: Death Valley to San Francisco

  When we arrived in Death Valley it was 90F. The first thing we had to do was find a place to stay for the night.  Well, after we got Junior Ranger books of course. The campsites in Furnace Creek were booked but there were lots of openings at Stovetop Wells.  Furnace Creek is the only developed campground that takes reservations. The rest our first come first served. I wanted to stay near Mesquite Spring Campground, but we decided that was too far afield. Not our typical campsite, this was more like a parking lot, but we're just here to sleep so whatever.  Most of the campgrounds look something like this, but smaller. After paying for our campsite we got ready to hike and headed to the nearby sand dunes. This is the largest national park and everything is spaced far apart. We stayed close to our campsite and went over to the Mesquite Flat Sand Dunes .  We got there just in time for a nice hike across the dunes during sunset. The kids loved it here.  It's funny how much more t