Road Trip || Through the Great Plains to Home

{Sign reminiscent of a road trip to Colorado}
Last weekend we drove home.  That is, I mean, to my parents house in Nebraska which will always be home in my heart.  The trip is about 14 hours, give or take.  We decided to road trip it because, let's face it, TSA is a nightmare and who really wants to be seen naked or groped by a stranger?  With a little extra time on our hands we hit the road for the back country and avoided all interstates.  I have a yearning to see the belly of this country before it completely surrenders to Wal-Mart and Dollar General.  
{windmill museum somewhere in Oklahoma}
We started out heading west first and then North.  This took us through the cotton fields of Texas, the oil fields of Oklahoma, the plains of Kansas, and finally the sand hills of Nebraska.  This country is beautiful.  Despite the drought, which we heard about on every stop, the friendliness of the people and the slower way of life makes me question living in the burbs.  There seems to be a secret I'm missing out on here.

{vintage washing machine}
We leisurely meandered through lazy little towns, some vibrant and others on the verge of extinction.  We practiced our one finger wave. We stopped at the old Nocona Boot Factory, antique shops in Oklahoma, and sped on past the multiple CAFO's in Kansas.  I'm sorry to say this Kansans, but the western half of your state stinks.  

With the convenience of technology, we read up on every point of interest on my iPad.  Driving for us is also an education.  I look forward to sharing some of our finds in the next few weeks.

{Wauneta Roller Mills}
After resting our heads in Garden City, Kansas, again smelling like everything but a garden, we finished the trip and started to see familiar points of interest from my childhood as we rolled into Nebraska.

We met my parents for lunch at the stock yards.  Strange place for a cafe, I know, and after being repulsed by the CAFO's already, I opted for a non-beef option.  A side note of plea:  Eat beef that isn't manufactured in a feedlot. 

{Lake McConaughy}
My parents were the reason for our road trip.  Although I've been back to Nebraska on several different occasions, I hadn't been to my hometown or spent time alone with my parents in quite some time.  They recently purchased a 1985 Cheetah boat and we decided to camp at Lake McConaughy on the beach.  Already avid campers, they set up the Montana right in the sand, 10 feet from the water.  The perfect place to rest and catch up.     

The boat is in phenomenal shape.  Almost as if it hasn't been touched.  I almost thought I need to be wearing one of these just to ride in it.

My parents have gotten adventurous with age.  My mom and I ended up tubing!  Yes, my 50 something mother got on a tube, behind the boat.  I have the coolest mom ever.  No doubt her grandchildren will feel the same. 

My parents were not the only family I wanted to see while I was in the area.  I also had plans to visit my brother and my two favorite boys.  It's hard watching his family grow from a distance and I cherish the time I do get to spend with them.

Preston is a fan of John Deere so when I found this bike in April I knew he would love it.  Aunts are supposed to spoil their nephews, right?  This is his first bike and I don't think he's gotten off of it since I gave it to him. 

Tucker boy is walking and talking, and I'm amazed at how much he has grown.  He defiantly loves his daddy, and so do I. 

A farmers job is never ending, and so during our visit we headed out to help my brother do a little irrigating.  Ok I just took a bunch of photos and watched him work, but I think he was still happy I was there. 

{oreo cow}
Unfortunately the trip had to come to an end.  I'd had about all the sand I could handle and work, house chores, and my cats were anxiously awaiting my return.  The drive home didn't go without adventure however. 

{Dodge City, Kansas}
{Turner Falls, Oklahoma}
We stopped in Dodge City, Kansas and Turner Falls, Oklahoma.  Two very interesting places to visit if you ever get the chance.  I want to leave you with a quote cc sent to me the other day.  Although it speaks of international travel, it's relevant to road tripping because I do believe that we are slowly moving away from the heart of our fundamental values.  Convenience and bulk buying have taken over our culture and in a way, has made us forget what a simplistic life looks like.  And by simple, I mean full of value, close to home.  I encourage anyone to get out of the airport, and off the interstate to see what we are founded on.  It may just change your perspective.

I beg young people to travel. If you don’t have a passport, get one. Take a summer, get a backpack and go to Delhi, go to Saigon, go to Bangkok, go to Kenya. Have your mind blown. Eat interesting food. Dig some interesting people. Have an adventure. Be careful. Come back and you’re going to see your country differently, you’re going to see your president differently, no matter who it is. Music, culture, food, water. Your showers will become shorter. You’re going to get a sense of what globalization looks like. It’s not what Tom Friedman writes about; I’m sorry. You’re going to see that global climate change is very real. And that for some people, their day consists of walking 12 miles for four buckets of water. And so there are lessons that you can’t get out of a book that are waiting for you at the other end of that flight. A lot of people—Americans and Europeans—come back and go, Ohhhhh. And the light bulb goes on.

–Henry Rollins