Tag Archives: road trip

2018 May/June Explore!

May 2, 2018 by

Nebraska

Cranes: Taking Flight Through May 13 at the Museum of Nebraska Art, 2401 Central Ave., Kearney. This showcase contains various art forms aimed at capturing the magic of the annual migration of the sandhill crane over the heart of Nebraska. 308-865-8559.
visitnebraska.com

Looking Past Skin: Our Common Threads Through May 15 at the Nebraska History Museum, 131 Centennial Mall N., Lincoln. Learn about the way Nebraska has been enriched by the movement of various peoples, from Native American cultures to refugees. This free exhibit provides education on the impact of migration within the state and explains the challenges of living in a foreign country. 402-471-4782.
history.nebraska.gov

Outdoor Exhibits Opening Day May 1 at Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer, 3133 W. Highway 34, Grand Island. Go back in time and learn about the pioneers while touring buildings and meeting historical interpreters of the time period. The Railroad Town, Antique Auto and Farm Machinery Building, Pawnee Earth Lodge, log cabin, rural church, and rural school will all open for the season. 308-385-5316.
stuhrmuseum.org

Nebraska Wine & Jazz Festival May 4-5 at Buffalo County Fairgrounds Exposition Building, 3807 Ave. N, Kearney. This 11th annual event showcases beverages from a number of Nebraska wineries and micro-breweries, with live jazz music performed by talented musicians. 308-237-3114.
wineandjazzfest.org

Fort Kearny Outdoor Expo May 12 at Fort Kearny State Recreation Area, 1020 V Road, Kearney. This family-friendly event caters to those who are interested in Nebraska’s outdoor activities and wildlife. Fishing, camping, and archery are but a few of the offered recreational opportunities. A park entry permit is required. 402-471-6009.
fortkearnyexpo.com

Corteo by Cirque Du Soliel May 17-20 at Pinnacle Bank Arena, 400 Pinnacle Arena Drive, Lincoln. Witness the musical and acrobatic tale of a clown’s imagined funeral that brings together the comic and the tragic in a colorful carnival atmosphere. 402-904-4444.
pinnaclebankarena.com

Impractical Jokers May 18 at Pinewood Bowl Theater, 3201 S. Coddington Ave., Lincoln. As part of their “Santiago Sent Us” tour, the four stars of the hit show Impractical Jokers will take the stage and entertain with their hilarious sketches and improv. 402-904-4444.
lincoln.org

Free park entry/fishing day May 19 at any state park or recreation area. Get out and enjoy nature during this day, which allows free access to state parks, state recreation areas, or state historical parks across Nebraska. 402-471-0641.
outdoornebraska.org

Duck ’N’ Run Family Fun Day May 19 at Fairbury Community Building, 601 City Park Road, Fairbury. This Saturday devoted to family activities offers a one-mile duck dash for the kids and a competitive 10K run and a two-mile run/walk for the adults. Additional kid-friendly activities include a “lucky duck” drawing with cash prizes. 402-729-3000.
fairbury.com

20th Annual Tallgrass Prairie Fiddle Festival  May 26 at Homestead National Monument, 8523 West State Highway 4, Beatrice. Over 30 fiddlers will compete for more than $3,000 in cash prizes at this event. Other events include harmonica and fiddling workshops, and an acoustic band competition. 402-223-3514.
nps.gov

Annual Brownville Spring Flea Market May 26-28 in Brownville. Come and see what hundreds of vendors bring to this annual tradition, including recycled and upcycled products, food, and antiques. 402-825-6001.
brownvillehistoricalsociety.org

63rd annual Willa Cather Spring Conference May 31-June 2 at National Willa Cather Center, 413 N. Webster St., Red Cloud. This  year’s conference celebrates the 100th anniversary of My Antonia. The keynote speaker is Nina McConigley. 866-731-7304.
willacather.org

Rock Creek Trail Days June 2-3 at Rock Creek Station Historical Park, 57426 710th Road, Fairbury. This event features a re-enactment of Wild Bill Hickok’s legendary conflict with David McCanles, mule-pulled wagon rides, and a buffalo stew cookout, among other historical activities. A park entry permit is required. 402-729-5777.
fairburychamber.org

Nebraskaland Days June 13-23 at Wild West Arena, 2400 N. Buffalo Bill Ave., North Platte. Cowboy up at this festival celebrating Nebraska’s country heritage. The PRCA Buffalo Bill Rodeo features fan favorites such as bull riding, steer roping, and more. The event also includes parades, an antique car show, quilt show, tennis tournaments, and much more.  Florida-Georgia Line and Alabama headline the entertainment. 308-532-7939.
nebraskalanddays.com

33rd Annual Wagons West Celebration June 16 at the Trails & Rails Museum, 710 W. 11th St., Kearney. This festival includes live music, games for children, great food, contests, and educational demonstrations. 308-234-3041.
bchs.us

Father’s Day June 17 at Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum, 28210 W. Park Highway, Ashland. Plan an adventure for your dad this year and treat him to a visit to the Strategic Air Command & Aerospace Museum.  All dads (accompanied by family) enjoy free admission to the museum. There will be a museum tour at 11 a.m., a crawl through of the C-54 “Skymaster”  from noon-2 p.m.
sacmuseum.org

Homestead days June 23-24 at Homestead National Monument, 8523 W. State Highway Four. See how life was lived in the late 1800s through stage performances, demonstrations of traditional crafts and farm machinery, a re-enactment of a Civil War encampment, children’s festival, and more. 402-223-3514.
nps.gov

Full Moon Bonfire—with Storyteller Darrel Draper in Theodore Roosevelt: Rough Rider President June 30 at Wostrel Family’s Union Orchard, 2405 S. Highway 75, Union. Dressed as the 26th President of the United States of America, Darrel Draper delivers an enthusiastic performance pertaining to “Teddy” Roosevelt’s historically important and entertaining run for a third term as president. 402-263-4845.
unionorchard.com


Iowa

Spring Sip, Taste & Stroll May 4 in Downtown Burlington, 400 N. Front St., Burlington. Spend the evening visiting various downtown wineries and breweries while tasting samples and strolling around the area’s shops. 319-752-6365.
greaterburlington.com

Maifest May 5-6 at the Amana Colonies. Guests of this festival will be treated to entertainment rooted in German tradition, including Maipole dancers and wonderful music. Additionally, the World-on-Wheels food-truck fair will serve international cuisine, and guests can also stroll from store to store tasting samples as part of the Wine, Beer, and Chocolate Walk. 319-622-7622.
festivalsinamana.com

Orange City Tulip Festival May 17-19 in Orange City. This event, which began in 1936, celebrates Dutch heritage and consists of beautiful tulips, dances performed in traditional Dutch clothing, daily parades, old-country foods, and more. 712-707-4510.
octulipfestival.com

41st annual Houby Days May 18-20 at the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids. Celebrate spring with a carnival, live music, traditional Czech dances and food, and more. 319-398-5009.
gocedarrapids.com

80th annual North Iowa Band Festival May 24-28 in Mason City. Seventy-six trombones (or more) will parade through the streets of this Iowa town, where Music Man composer Meredith Wilson lived. Along with marching bands, this festival includes a carnival, food, games, and live entertainment. 641-423-5724.
masoncityia.com

John Wayne Birthday Celebration May 25-26 in Winterset. America’s favorite Western star was born in the heart of Iowa, and this two-day festival will celebrate him with a horse parade, 5K run/walk, a benefit auction, and movies. Red Steagall headlines the live entertainment. 515-462-1044.
johnwaynebirthplace.museum

Annual Tivoli Fest May 26-May 27 in Elk Horn. Celebrate all things Danish at this annual spring festival, which includes Danish food, dances, live entertainment, fireworks, and more. 712-764-7001.
danishmuseum.org

2018 Wizard Festival & Quidditch Matches June 2 at Moonstone Lavender Gardens, 1449 240th Ave., Thurman. This is a celebration of all things Harry Potter. Activities include magic lessons from Professors McGonegall, Snape, and others, as well as an opportunity to learn and play Quidditch. Costume contests, music, and food are also included. 712-628-2113.
moonstonelavender.com

Ice Cream Days June 13-16, Le Mars. Come to the “Ice Cream Capital of the World,” home of Blue Bunny Ice Cream, for events for the whole family, including a parade, a Grill-n-Chill Rib Rally, live music, and more. 712-546-8821.
lemarsiowa.com

36th Annual Walnut Antique Show June 15-17 in Walnut. Spend Father’s Day weekend at Walnut’s nationally celebrated antique show. With over 350 dealers of antiques and collectibles lining the city’s historic streets, this event is more than an antique show—it is a spectacular display of community and tradition. 712-784-3443.
walnutantiqueshow.com

Wurst Festival June 16 in the Amana Colonies. While sampling sausages from the area’s best sausage makers and sipping on cold drinks, guests can listen to live music, play games, and watch as dachshunds race one another as part of the second annual Dachshund Derby. 319-622-7622.
festivalsinamana.com

Trekfest XXXIV June 29-30 at Hall Park, Riverside. Featuring live music, a demolition derby, activities for kids, and a life-size statue of Captain Kirk, this StarTrek-themed extravaganza, held in the captain’s fictional hometown, is sure to entertain all ages.
trekfest.org


Kansas

KS Food Truck Festival. May 5, 9th and Pennsylvania streets, Lawrence. This one-day festival features more than 25 food trucks with offerings from across the world, with live entertainment. Proceeds benefit Just Food, the Douglas County Food Bank. 785-856-3040.
ksfoodtruckfest.com

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota Tundra 250 & Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series May 11-12 at Kansas Speedway, 400 Speedway Blvd., Kansas City. On May 11, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series returns for this 250-mile race. May 12 is the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Martin Truex Jr. will defend his title and seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson will also race that night. 866-460-7223.
kanssspeedway.com

Lawrence Busker Festival 2018 May 25-27, Downtown, 8th to 11th streets, and Vermont to New Hampshire streets, Lawrence. This annual event invites everyone to enjoy a get-weird-weekend. Unusual live performances by artists, both local and global. Don’t miss the Busker Ball at the Lawrence Arts Center. 785-843-2787.
lawrencebuskerfest.com

Sunflower Music Festival June 22-30, White Concert Hall, 1700 S.W. College Ave., Topeka. This 10-concert series on the Washburn University campus features orchestra, chamber ensembles, jazz, and student ensembles. 785-670-1396.
sunflowermusicfestival.org


Missouri

Off the Wall: Pop Hits of the ’80s with the Kansas City Jazz Orchestra May 4 at Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, 1601 Broadway Blvd., Kansas City. Travel back to the decade in which Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, and others ruled the charts. 816-994-7200.
tickets.kauffmancenter.org

Ninth Annual Sikeston Jaycees Crawfish Boil & Music Festival May 5 at Sikeston Rodeo Grounds, 1220 N. Ingram Road, Sikeston. This event offers wonderful Louisiana crawfish and live music in a friendly atmosphere. Activities for the whole family are also scheduled. 573-931-0099.
sikeston.net

Gatsby Days May 10-13 in Excelsior Springs. Break out the beads, fringe, and zoot suits for this homage to the roaring ’20s. Events include a fashion stroll, antique car parade, a Gin & Jazz party, vaudeville performances, and more. 816-630-6161.
exspgschamber.com

Discovery Day May 19 at Lewis and Clark State Park, 801 Lake Crest Blvd., Rushville. Explore and learn about the wildlife and wildflowers that inhabit Gosling Lake Trail and Lewis and Clark Lake. Guests can also learn about the Corps of Discovery expedition and even look at a model keelboat. 816-579-5564.
mostateparks.com

Jimmy Buffett & the Coral Reefer Band May 19 at Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. Celebrating the 40th anniversary of the release of his album Son of a Son of a Sailor, the iconic singer will take the stage and entertain with his timeless hits. He will also stop in Des Moines on May 22. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

Poison May 25 at the Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. The world-famous rock band will take the stage as part of their “Nothin’ But A Good Time 2018” tour with special guest Cheap Trick. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com

Festa Italiana June 1-3 at Zona Rosa, 8640 N. Dixson Ave., Kansas City. With great Italian food, a beer garden, an Italian car show, and much more, this annual event celebrating Italian and Italian-American culture is sure to entertain the whole family. 816-587-8180.
zonarosa.com

Renditions Polish Pottery Festival June 9 in Weston. This celebration of Polish culture includes live music, dancing, traditional food, and displays of unique pottery and art. 816-640-2909.
westonmo.com

Kesha & Macklemore June 26 at the Sprint Center, 1407 Grand Blvd., Kansas City. “The Adventures of Kesha and Macklemore” tour will bring the two superstars together as they put on a spectacular show. 816-949-7100.
sprintcenter.com


Event times and details may change. Check with venue or event organizer to confirm.

Southwest Escape

April 7, 2017 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

We’re creatures of habit. We live and breathe routine, and for the most part, we are comfortable in our ways. We’re busy. We think ahead. We worry. We wonder. We drive to work and run errands. Once in a while, however, we stop for a moment and realize that we need a break.

What happens when we decide to escape from routine? If only for two weeks? The possibilities are infinite. Omaha Magazine’s creative director, Bill Sitzmann, and his family of four know this firsthand. Sitzmann, his wife, and their two kids (ages 5 and 9) packed up their Subaru Outback in early June 2016 and hit the road with no specific destination in mind, rather a region: the Great American Southwest.

“We knew when we needed to leave and we knew when we needed to be back,” Sitzmann says. “My dad lives in Tucson, so we knew we wanted to go there and see him. But other than that, we just picked the general areas we wanted to hit.”

The Sitzmann family rolled out of Omaha, looking forward to the two-week camping adventure ahead. Sitzmann says that the trip was exciting from a parental standpoint because, while he was accustomed to teaching his kids things that he already knew, they were headed into uncharted territory for the whole family.

“For all four of us to experience it for the first time, all at the same time, was pretty cool,” Sitzmann says, recalling their two weeks of close quarters on the road.

Driving from Omaha, their stops ranged from Great Sand Dunes National Park in southern Colorado to the White Sands National Monument in New Mexico.

They discovered beautiful, lightly populated trails and campsites by venturing off the beaten path. The family decided to stop by the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park in Colorado, chosen by Sitzmann on a whim, based solely on pictures that he’d seen of the place.

Surrounded by trees with no spectacular view in sight, the drive into the park had them questioning their sanity. But the side trip turned out to be one of the more rewarding outdoor destinations for the family when they walked along a trail at sunset and stumbled upon a massive canyon nearly 100 yards away from their campsite. As they looked around, they realized that they had the hidden gem all to themselves. Sitzmann made a point to wake up at sunrise the next morning for coffee with a view.

They hit a total of 10 national parks over the course of their 3,200-mile journey across the rugged Southwest of the United States. The region is home to countless national parks, along with myriad monuments and historic sites, offering unlimited variations to the ultimate family road trip.

In the Southwest, several National Parks are located in close enough proximity that more than one could be visited in a single day. The natural formations of the land might be close in location, but tend to differ greatly when it comes to their visual appeal.

In Utah, the impressive forest of tall, narrow eroded rock at Bryce Canyon National Park is less than 90 minutes from Zion National Park—where massive cliffs, gaping canyons, sparkling streams, and waterfalls can be seen. Those two parks alone could make a day of adventure (or a week of discovery) for visitors.

 “I think it’s important to have that long-term period with your family,” Sitzmann says. “Most of us, we talk about providing for our family—and that’s what we think our main job is. You teach [your kids] that you can provide and work hard, but there are other things in life that we miss and that we kind of lose touch with over the years.”

The family was able to disconnect from social media, spend the evenings under the stars, and chase the sunrise each morning.

Bryce Canyon National Park, Utah

Not every moment was saturated with unexpected beauty. One night, they couldn’t find an open campground, so they camped directly under a fluorescent light in an RV park. But that was a learning experience, in its own way.

Sitzmann’s son turned 9 on the road and received a pocketknife from his father as a right of passage into the world of responsibility.

Road trips to the Southwest have occupied a pivotal point in the lives of many. For my own family, the Southwest was the basis for two unforgettable road trips. The first journey, my parents took in their 20s before having kids. The second, they undertook with seven children in tow (four years ago).

Unlike the Sitzmanns, the Smith crew rolled out of Omaha in 15-passenger rental van. Our approach to the itinerary was more regimented and less laissez faire. We hit the road with all lodging booked. While the Sitzmanns cooked on campfires all along the way, we munched on endless amounts of processed snacks packed into the van.

My dad drove, my mom blogged, and the seven of us kids—ages 5 to 19—bonded in the backseats singing songs, playing games, and marveling at the changing colors and landscapes that we had never seen before.

Over the course of the 3,259 miles that we drove, we spent 10 days in five different states. We grew closer as we conquered new territories. We mastered packing and unpacking the car in a matter of minutes; white-water rafted in Colorado; played cards by the campfire at night in Utah; and came up with silly inside jokes that we remember today.

While there are countless ways to make a road trip through the Southwest, the adventure is unlike any other. Experiencing the purity and the simplicity of the landscape, joined by the people you love, is an indescribable experience. It is an opportunity that doesn’t come around often.

My parents had wanted to go on family road trip to the Southwest ever since their own trip some 20 years prior. It was a right of passage for our family as a unit, because my eldest sister had just graduated high school and the youngest was about to start kindergarten.

As we begin graduating from college, these sorts of road trips will become increasingly difficult to coordinate. So, to seize the moment, we are now in the midst of planning another massive family road trip.

The Smith Family’s Southwest Itinerary (10 days):

From Omaha, we drove through Colorado and landed in Utah where we visited: Arches National Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park. We then continued to head south where we hit Arizona and visited the Grand Canyon National Park and Lake Powell. We headed back up north where we made an impulsive stop at the Four Corners, then carried onto Mesa Verde National Park and the city of Durango in Colorado. Then, we returned to Omaha.

The Sitzmann Family’s Southwest Itinerary (14 days): 

From Omaha, they headed to the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado. From there, they went to New Mexico where they visited Carson National Forest and White Sands National Monument. They continued onward to the North Rim of Grand Canyon National Park and Antelope Canyon in Arizona, and then went back up to Utah to hit Arches National Park and Canyonlands National Park. The family made their way back through Colorado, where they visited the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park and Rocky Mountain National Park before they returned to Omaha.

Blue Mesa Reservoir, Colorado

This article was printed in the March/April 2017 edition of Omaha Magazine.

Centennial, Wyoming

July 13, 2016 by
Photography by Bill Sitzmann

The ceaseless march of time drives a wedge between mankind and nature. Yearning for the pure, quiet, peaceful bliss of the great outdoors, I feel compelled to escape the onslaught of modern technological society—if only for a moment. Time for a road trip.

We depart on a warm Thursday morning in late May. The golden Subaru—filled with camping gear, cameras, and snacks—will be home base for the next several days. Our intended final destination: Medicine Bow, Wyoming.

Truthfully, I’m just along for the ride. We might as well be driving to Shangri-La. We gas up every couple hundred miles. But nothing fuels the expedition more than the ambition to fully disconnect.

We hear rumors that the mountain pass (our route to Medicine Bow) remains closed due to snow accumulation from the winter. Nevertheless, we proceed. Nine hours west of Omaha, we pull into Centennial, Wyoming. Medicine Bow lies on the other side of Snowy Range Pass.

Centennial has a population of roughly 200 people; there’s a history museum, unique lodges, a few restaurants and several bars. (Actually, there are a suspicious number of bars considering the population density.) We blow through the quaint mountain town on Snowy Range Road, Centennial’s main street.

Occasional trophy homes lightly dot the valley as we head up the mountain, intent on setting up camp and getting a hike in before nightfall. Even though our ultimate goal—Medicine Bow— may be inaccessible, we proceed anyway.

Centennial4Lo and behold, the pass is indeed closed. Unfazed, we set up camp halfway up the mountain and go on a long-awaited hike. We quickly notice the uninhabited wilderness of the area. Since passing through Centennial, we see only one other car—and not a single soul.

After a good night’s rest, we treat ourselves to a restaurant breakfast at the bottom of the mountain. Our table is adjacent to that of lifelong Centennial resident Melanie O’Hara. Within 10 minutes of sitting down, we are deep in conversation.

The 70-year-old retired English and history teacher explains that the forest service in Wyoming is severely underfunded—leaving trails unattended, and many rules unenforced.

O’Hara promptly invites us to her cabin for afternoon tea. She draws a map on a scrap of paper and says she’ll return home around noon.

Her commute back from the restaurant takes a little extra time since she doesn’t own a car. O’Hara says she hikes wherever she goes. Everywhere. Her two border collies (Gus and Pip) are her only protection. And this is in bear country. We agree to visit after our own morning hike.

We leave the restaurant, and we’re back to exploring the pristine wilderness.

After our second hike of the trip—and a couple wrong turns in the Subaru—we pull up to O’Hara’s cabin. She lives next to a ranger’s station that dates back to when Theodore Roosevelt tromped about these mountains.

Centennial3Her father named the cabin, “Valhalla,” and Valhalla is painted on a sign hanging from the cabin’s exterior. The cabin’s name, a reference to the vast hall where the Norse gods ruled over mythological Asgard, is a nod to her Scandinavian heritage. O’Hara says the word means “warrior’s paradise” in Norwegian.

She gives us a full tour of the cabin. It’s both a history lesson on Scandinavian cabin architecture, and a crash course on the genealogy of the 70-year-old structure’s occupants. O’Hara says her father built the cabin the same year she was born. Back then it was only the four walls, one room for the whole family.

“My mother wanted to have four children and knew this wouldn’t be enough space. Men don’t mind having it pretty basic, but women need a little more,” O’Hara says. “So she said, ‘Oh, Bucky precious darling prince of mine, could we build a room for the kids?’”

O’Hara’s father begrudgingly obliged. Several times they expanded the cabin. One of her favorite features of the residence is her John Denver Memorial Yodel Balcony. She doesn’t hesitate to demonstrate her yodeling skills. She steps outside, faces up the mountain, and lets out a long cadence of vocalizations—as her voice reverberates off the trees, I realize why yodeling is specifically an alpine tradition.

After tea she kindly asks us if we are interested in hiking further up the mountain to see the old mines, which had been shut down for more than a century. We gladly accept her offer.

O’Hara is a mountain woman to the core. She has been hiking these slopes since she was a kid, often spending all day alone up on the mountain with just her dog. As we hike up her familiar trails, she shares why the mountain is so sacred to her and her philosophy of “live and let live.”

Centennial2“You can come up here and be anything you want. Gay, straight, transexual, bisexual—whatever—because the bushes don’t care,” O’Hara says.

We visit the entrances to three defunct mines. The mine entrances were idealistically named: Centennial, Platinum City, and Utopia. Three hours after beginning our third hike of the trip, we descend the mountain educated on mining traditions, the town of Centennial, and O’Hara’s family history.

At the onset of this unexpected but necessary vacation, we departed Omaha with no specific plans or agenda. Only to escape, briefly. The cost of gas and food were a bargain considering what we received in return. Mother Nature offers priceless experiences free of charge.

Everyone has their own warrior’s paradise, and it seems there’s a little Valhalla for everyone in Centennial, Wyoming. Omaha Magazine.

Centennial1

Discover the Magic of a Road Trip

May 25, 2013 by
Photography by Nebraska Travel & Tourism

Planning a family road trip? It’s easy to keep the kids entertained across the miles in today’s world—just load up the portable DVD player, the handheld game system, and the iPad. Perhaps you remember roughing it in the old days when you and your siblings jockeyed for space on the bench seat and played I Spy to make the time pass. Compare that to what a road trip was like 100 years ago—travel, itself, was a monumental undertaking. Not only were there no electronic games, there were no roads linking cities and towns.

In 1913, entrepreneur Carl G. Fisher vowed to change that with the construction of a paved, coast-to-coast roadway that would extend from New York City to San Francisco. The Lincoln Highway, named after our 16th president, was big news for Nebraska where the route would run the entire length of the state.

Today, you and your family can make the trek in comfort and style while visiting remnants of the old highway, including the original brick pavers near Omaha and two sections of “seedling miles” in Grand Island and Kearney.

Throughout the state, the cross-country route—now called U.S. Highway 30—is flanked by historical buildings just waiting to be explored, as well as several of Nebraska’s top attractions. For example, in Gothenburg, you can check out the reconstructed Pony Express Station; in nearby North Platte, you can visit the home of Buffalo Bill Cody at the Buffalo Bill Ranch State Historical Park; and in Grand Island, the Stuhr Museum of the Prairie Pioneer is one of the nation’s top living history museums.

A stop in Kearney at the Great Platte River Road Archway is a must. This state-of-the-art museum traces the development of the American West, including the making of the nation’s first transcontinental highway. From there, it’s a short drive across town to see the exhibits at the Classic Car Collection, which is situated along the original route of the old Lincoln Highway.

With 400 Nebraska miles, there’s plenty to see along this historic roadway. And while the journey may be much smoother now, you can be sure it will be just as interesting and adventurous as its pre-paved days. Isn’t it time your family explored Nebraska’s Lincoln Highway?

Join the Official Lincoln Highway Centennial Celebration in Kearney June 30-July 1. With food, music, speakers, and car clubs, there will be plenty of events for the whole family. For more information, visit VisitNebraska.com/lhc.

Preparing for Road Trips

Photography by Bill Sitzmann

Road trips can be a lot of fun, but they can also turn into a nightmare if you aren’t prepared. There are a few items that should be checked before you set out for your destination to ensure that your vehicle is as ready for the drive as you are.

  • Make sure to check all fluids—antifreeze, power steering, brake, transmission, and windshield wiper.
  • If you aren’t current with your oil changes, get it changed before leaving.
  • Inspect your hoses and belts for wear and tear. If something looks askew, take it to a trusted mechanic and have them take a look.
  • Check all tires, including the spare, to make sure that they’re in good shape and that the tire pressure is correct.
  • Be certain you have a jack and lug wrench in case you need to change a tire.
  • Check your battery to make sure there are no corrosions, cracks, or leaks.

I recommend doing all of these things a week in advance in case there are any problems. This should give you adequate time to take care of any repairs. There are also some items that are important to have along with you in case you do have car issues.

  • Gas can. Don’t wait until the tank is too low to fill up. On a road trip, it can be hard to know how far the next gas station will be.
  • Water. Make sure to have plenty of bottled water; the summer heat can be extremely dehydrating.
  • Phone charger. This should be used your entire trip to ensure your cell phone has a full charge.
  • Shade. Bring window shades, towels, and hats.
  • Sunscreen and sunglasses. Just because you’re in the car doesn’t mean your skin and eyes can’t get sun-damaged.
  • Flashlight. Nothing is worse than being stranded in the dark.
  • Maps. We often use phones or the GPS on our vehicles, but having an actual map is necessary in case our electronics fail.
  • Walking shoes. Make sure you have shoes that are comfortable for walking in case you have to “hoof it.”

Be sure to prepare for your road trip and carry along a few extras just in case. With these few tips, you should be well on your way to a fun, safe trip.