Getting there was like driving through a petting zoo. Sheesh - My eyes
were as big as silver dollars and glazed over. I was jumping at everything
that moved. First a big old racoon in the other lane, then later a rabbit,
followed still later by a dog. Got my complimentary deer sighting in too
- another few seconds sooner and I would have petted her with the bug.
A cop was sitting at the 4 way stop in Tecumseh, NE. He and a buddy were
leaning up against the trunk of the cruiser slinging the breeze. I noticed
what looked like slick mud on the highway and I spun out trying to get
started from the stop light. Found out later it was a nice combination
of animal manure and urine. I don't know if something spilled or the cop
and his buddy were telling fishing stories - at any rate - it stunk and
I was upset when I got to the campsite and the rear of my bug smelled like
the bug needed to go and couldn't hold it any longer - making the Appleby
suffer in the process...
Made it okay to Rockport, MO and stopped at the gas station to get some chocolate milk (traveling favourite), diet dr. pepper (to counteract the chocolate milk), and a cherry pie pocket for Saturday morning.
I drove to I-29, headed north, followed Glen's directions and after missing one turn, made it to the lake. What a nice lake Charity Lake is. It's long and narrow and sits just on the other side of the bluffs that you see on the east side of I-29 while you're zipping along.
Met Glen at the boat dock and his waving arms seemed to call me down the boat ramp. In my eagerness I was mistaken and soon Glen's frantic wavings had me backing up. I made it over to where Glen and Dee's westy was sitting as well as Doug's hardtop - the tiki lights were a nice accent to my late arrival at around 1:30 in the morning. Good ol' Glen helped me set up the Appleby. That took us about a half an hour since I'd never done it before. Lesson number one - don't set up tent trailers in the dark.
Glen, Dee, and myself slung the breeze around the campfire while I played various tunes. As usual, Glen and Dee outdid themselves with tons of camping supplies including the food and I was the proud recipient of a killer turkey sandwich - zuchinni relish and all. YUM! Eventually the sandman kicked in and I was off to sleep in my new camper. It slept great and was a lot of fun having my own person camping space for the first time. I didn't get it quite level and sleeping was a bit of chore however, I learned a lot on this trip and now I know more about what I'm going to do in the future to keep everything leveled out.
Next morning, I was the last one up of course but slept pretty decent all things considering. Doug and Glen were busy cutting up firewood for the evenings festivities. Didn't take long and Glen and I were setting off in the U.S.S. Hadley (Glen's canoe) with me in the front and the trolling motor pushing us along (at first by beating the air then after compensation, beating the water!) As far as Glen's fishing went, he had some hits but no bites. The funny incident that happened on this particular outing was that at one spot, after I had unlashed the rope from a tree stump, Glen poured the juice on the trolling motor and we'd get going just in time to just stop dead in the water. Sometimes we'd even get yoinked back a smidgen. Glen said, "It's like we're hung up on something." He backed up several more times and then I heard him say, "Oh I forgot to pull in the anchor." Man I laughed my head off - that was so funny and only a precursor to the evening fishing! Then on the way back, I suggested to Glen that he 'troll' as a friend of mine used to do. He'd catch a lot of crappie this way. Well Glen hit a snag while trolling and darn near lost the pole. We stopped, backed up slowly, and then I heard ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ. I cracked up when I heard Glen mumble some profanities about getting the line in the prop. I still laugh about that! :-) After reeling in the lines and letting our trophy trolling motor go, we were headed back to shore. We amused the posse with stories about how the only thing we caught was a trolling motor. :-)
After we got back to camp, we had a little time to chill before we headed off to Brownville for the riverboat ride and wine sampling. Doug and I took my bug and Glen & Dee took the toyota since the Westy was already setup for camping. As we entered Brownville, we saw Matt and Kay's bus downtown - looked really nice sitting there. We found ourselves eventually at Whiskey Run Creek <http://www.whiskeyruncreek.com/> where we got a tour of the underground excavation of the old original facilities. There is a lot of history here and it seems as they try to unearth more of the old underground winery from the turn of the century, the University of Nebraska has become interested to the point they are bringing in underground radar to try and locate more structures underground. I sampled some of their Apple wine and it was delicious! Doug had to teach me how to drink it properly but I'm so glad he did. I can see how a nice little shot of wine with some cheese and crackers could be the wonderful end to meal or make even a great snack.
Soon we were off to the Riverboat Ride. <http://www.spiritofbrownville.com/index.asp> Matt and his posse (Kay and 2 friends of theirs) were already there.
As I boarded, a little old lady said, "Are you with the Buskatiers?"
I joked with the guys by saying, "How could she tell?" HAHA. Anyway we
sat on the upper deck while a lot of the senior citizens on the cruise
acted as ballast (1st floor passengers.) The cruise was really laid back
- we ate a nice meal, drank plenty of liquids, the captain told a bunch
of history and trivia about the Missouri River while a lady played live
period-correct music on the keyboard. The captains quarters were wide open
and you could walk right through them, yak with him, whatever you wanted.
Those twin Allison diesel engines pushed us along at a pretty good clip
with all that their 520hp combined total could muster. Saw a couple bald
eagles on the trip - one posed on a dead cottonwood for us and another
one flew along side and above the boat for a short distance - they commanded
a LOT of attention from the guests. I had a nice chat with several of the
elderly on the cruise - they always have stories to tell - I find it really
easy to talk to them... As the captain brought us back to dock with such
non-chalant ease, we made our way back to our vehicles. Doug and I zipped
off to get me a one-day fishing license while everyone else headed back
to camp. Once Doug and Imade it back - there was Rob! He showed us his
hammock setup and the little one man camping tent. That thing rocks and
Rob sleeps in it while in the back of the SC. Awesome setup! Matt even
climbed inside to try it out but for some reason declined my offer to get
inside with him. The evening was really enjoyable - Matt & Kay, their
friends, Rob, Glen & Dee, Doug, and myself had a good old rag chew
session which involved my music, stories from the U.S.S. Hadley, our camping
gear, etc. The drug lyric version of I've Been Everywhere was a hit. Seems
everyone likes that part. :-) Doug graced us with one of his cheesecakes.
This time he toasted a blender in the pursuit of perfection but it was
worth it. There is no comparison when it comes to 'real' cheesecake (thanks
Well Matt and company stayed longer than they had originally planned but nobody was any-the-wiser. After bidding them farewell, Glen and I made haste to the U.S.S. Hadley for round 2 of the fishing. A lot of bobber action this time but still no bites. Using lighted bobbers are neat! You can even see them underwater. Glen managed to bring in a stick but that was about it. We were winding down when about that time, Glen casts his pretty red bobber up into a tree, and we watched it wrap itself tightly around a limb - and that's when the fun began. Glen never loses fishing gear! We trolled over to the tree and Glen lashed his knive to a fishing pole, STOOD UP IN THE CANOE!, and tried to cut the bobber down. I had the white-knuckle death grip on the canoe while Glen managed to fail this attempt. Soon that knife was lashed to an oar and by gum he got his bobber back! We were still way out there so Glen got his hear all ready for more fishing as we slowly started trolling towards shore. I don't know if we were tired, blinded by the dark or what, but that red bobber ended up in another tree in the middle of the lake! HAHAHAH. So more trolling, standing up in the canoe, lashed knives, etc. and Glen claimed his prize! After that, the poles were left in the canoe and we headed for shore. What a hilarious night this was! I'll never forget it... :-)
Heading back to camp found Rob in his hammock (as I later found out), Doug finishing off the firewood in Rob's Buska Porta Fire Pit, and a whole lot of nothing going on. It was late and it didn't take long for me to head to bed on a now leveled Appleby (at least one side of it that I had adjusted earlier.) The next morning was spent pretty much packing up, chatting about future events, etc. Doug left early for a computer show so I didn't get to tell him good-bye and thank him for the cheesecake but I'm sure he knew. By noon or so we all had cleared out. I headed home, stopping at Amigos in Auburn, NE for lunch. I pulled into a parking spot and didn't get the Appleby in just right so I just stopped, picked it up and moved it over, and then backed in where I wanted to be. The trip home seemed to take forever. I came home and slept a ton, surfed, and that was pretty much it.
I really enjoyed this campout as I haven't done much of it in the past few years like I used to. I must admit I was disappointed that no more people showed up but it's always the first event that's the smallest.
I'd love to do this again next year - the weather was perfect - in fact too perfect as the 2nd night out I froze my tail off! Can you believe it? In the middle of August in Nebraska and I froze? Never had that happen before.
Had a great time with everyone. Thanks for a good camping weekend.