Campbell's 2010 Western and Northeast Trip Journal travel blog

Kris with Hannah and Mom Campbell

Kris' Children - Stephen, Sarah and Andrew with Logs

Sharon with Hannah

Kris with Stephen Learning Roller Blading and Sarah and Daniel as Ballast

Dave with Daniel

Family Photo

Deardorff Farm with Martha in Her Cart

Deardorff Barnyard with Martha and Cat at Standoff

Steve Brushing Scooter

Martha Helping to Repair Fence

Platte River Sandhill Crane Viewing Blind

Inside Blind with Rich and Carol Deardorff

View of Platte River from Blind

Kathleen with Friends Rich and Carol Deardorff

View of Whilte Pelicans Herding Fish in Platte River

Returning to Sandhill Crane Viewing Visitor's Center

Momento of Our Visit to the Deardorff's - a Rich and a...

View of Approaching Storm from RV Rear Window in Sidney, NE -...


June 12 – Mundelein, IL with Family, Grand Island, NE with Friends and Sidney, NE with Storm Chasers

We had a very pleasant visit with our family in Mundelein, IL. See the photos with descriptions. Mom, 95 and Dad, 94 enjoyed the family activities with Kris’ (Sharon’s oldest daughter) 5 children providing the activities.

After 3 days in Mundelein, we took two days to travel to Grand Island, Nebraska and camped at Rich and Carol Deardorff’s farm with their two horses that like to be combed and two cats that like to be petted. Life on their farm was very enjoyable. See the farm photos with descriptions.

We visited, along the Platt River, the Sandhill Crane observation blinds and visitor’s center. The Sandhill Cranes, which use the river as a migratory home before flying to northern Canada, were long gone but there were several dozen white Pelicans, yes Pelicans, in the river maneuvering fish and then dining on them.

With Rich and his neighbor, I had the opportunity to help with the placement of several Wyoming, S. Dakota and Iowa boulders in a Grand Island lawn that a landscaper was placing for a customer. As a small business, Rich’s farmer neighbor obtains rocks/boulders from other states to sell to landscapers and Rich sometimes helps him.

Some of the rocks were 6’ long and were efficiently placed with a fork lift behind a tractor. My body is not accustomed to boulder moving so I helped little but enough to give a temporary ache to my right shoulder and rip my Cabela-sourced cargo pants.

We were then off to Colorado Springs, CO via Sidney, NE where, as we were arriving, the Storm Chaser crew was just leaving. They were looking for funnel clouds that had been forecasted in the surrounding area.

I did not share with Kathleen that I saw the Storm Chasers leaving town but the Cabela’s campground person felt obliged to let Kathleen know when she registered. :( This resulted in tornado-anxiousness, a rare but real feeling. :|

Before the storms, we enjoyed the Cabela’s sports store next to the Cabela’s campground where we pitched our tent. The campground was almost perfect – clean, full hook-ups, level, spacious, but no trees to break the strong winds that blew in that night.

While in Cabela’s store, we learned that all soft goods from Cabelas are guaranteed for life (mine) and my ripped cargo pants were replaced with a nearly identical pair less the rip in the crotch and loose waistband rivet. :)

Later, fortunately, my nightly reading put Kathleen to sleep so she missed the rocking RV, waves of heavy rain, lightening and marble-sized hail rattling on the roof 4’ above our bed. When the dogs woke me at midnight to go outside, the storms had passed and in the morning, the sun came up to a blue sky.

To visit with our son Mark, who recently returned from Afghanistan, we traveled dry to Colorado Springs where we set up camp in a nice campground in Manitou Springs at the foot of Pikes Peak.

Our visit with our son and his family will be described in our next Journal entry.

Traveler’s Note: We learned that the shortest toll booth line is not necessarily the best. We travel with an automatic toll paying device so that we do not have to wait in line to pay cash at the toll booths. On a trip to Mundelein, it saves us probably 20 minutes in travel time.

At the Indiana border on I-80, there are two ‘cars only’ and two ‘trucks only’ automatic toll lanes. We chose to use the shortest truck lane with only one truck in the queue. As we approached the lane entry, I noted that none of the lights were lit on the truck trailer ahead. I pulled up behind the truck anyway, thinking that the trailer tail and brake lights were not functioning.

So, we waited, and waited and then the driver’s truck door opened and we watched as the driver walked to the adjacent ‘pay cash’ lane booth and with much arm waving and gestures shared his plight for several minutes. He eventually walked back to his truck and got in and then waited and then the gate went up. He parked along the curb and probably went back to pay cash.

Being a patient person and all, I chose to wait for some minutes with the flashers on to let others know that all was not well in my lane. But, after further minutes, I decided that, since no one was behind me that I would back up and get in the other ‘trucks only’ lane. I backed about 10’ when an air horn blasted. I thought it was warning me that I was about to back into a small car that I could not see with my mirrors so I stopped.

What the horn blast was to mean was for the lead truck in the adjacent lane to get moving because the adjacent lane had now accumulated 5 semis. Then I noted that the other lane lead truck driver was exiting his cab also with an apparent similar issue with the automatic toll paying system.

As our lane gate went up and we pulled through, the other truck lane was still stagnant.

Anyway, my short backing-up experience lead to our plan to purchase a back-up camera system with a camera on the RV bumper and a monitor clipped to the truck rearview mirror. A complete system is available for $200 from Backup Camera System with a 4.2” color monitor, 130 degree day/night vision camera, all of the wires, and, audio. The latter will be used to be able to hear my backing-up navigator and very special co-pilot to inform me that I must be blind because I am about to hit an immovable object with the RV. :)




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