Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Loved Flogging Molly at the Stir Concert Cove

So don't let me die still wondering
What it was I left behind
I want a race well run ahead of the gun
With a dance before the far finish line

Pretty good words to live by. Don't Let Me Die, sung by Flogging Molly, one of the most fantastic bands in the world.

Those of you who live in eastern Nebraska have a great concert venue at the Stir Concert Cove. OK, it is actually in Iowa at Harrah's Casino, but really, it's just across the river!

We went to the last concert of Flogging Molly's west coast tour, which sounds kind of odd, considering it was held just about as far from any coast in the U.S. that it is possible to get!

Before I get too far into this post, I want to credit Omaha Night Life for the photos. Since my camera wasn't allowed into the concert venue, I really appreciate them taking the pictures and posting on their website in such a way that they can be used.

The night started off windy and warm, but soon changed to windy and cool.
An awesome Celtic Punk Rock band from Chicago, Flatfoot 56 opened the show for Flogging Molly. They've got a great bagpiper in Josh Robieson - he really makes the show. I'm listening to their Jungle of the Midwest Sea right now - might  not be everybody's cup of tea, but I think it's great. They're going to be in Omaha at the Sokol Underground on October 24 - think I can convince the family to accompany me again.The band really got the crowd warmed up, especially with their closing song "Amazing Grace" in which everyone participated.
I have to feel sorry for the next band, the Architects from Kansas City. They put on a great show, and the crowd was polite to them, but Flatfoot 56 had really gotten us yearning for Flogging Molly, so it didn't seem that we really got into them.

Ah but don't, don't sink the boat,
That you built, you built to keep afloat,
Ah no don't, don't sink the boat,
That you built, you built to keep afloat (Float)

And then... there they were, Flogging Molly, with that incredible music, lyrics and Dave King's amazing vocals.
... But nothin' ever came from a life that was a simple one, So pull yourself together girl and have a little fun (Devil's Dance Floor).
If I ever leave this world alive, I'll thank you for the things you did in my life... wherever I am you'll always be more than just a memory... (If I Ever Leave This World Alive).
The son never shines on closed doors... and we all go the same way home... (The Son Never Shines on Closed Doors)
As I said, it was a fantastic concert, a great venue, and the night ended much too soon. Make plans to see any of thee wonderful bands when you get the chance, and if there's someone at Stir Concert Cove that you want to see, I highly recommend the venue.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A Beautiful Nebraska Rain and a Drive to Celebrate It

This past week saw Central Nebraska receive more than an inch of rain over a several day period, coming down in a nice drizzle. The cool temperatures and gloom may not be good for the psyche, but it is definitely good for the ground.

Wednesday the clouds began to break up, and what better way to celebrate the return of sunshine and blue skies (even if only in patches) than a drive in the country.

Just north of Sutherland, we saw the largest herd of Antelope we had seen so far. There is actually one additional creature that didn't make it into this photograph. The fella on the left is a nice big buck, who was none too happy about our disturbing his little party. Before he turned tail and ran, he made several little charges toward the pickup.

My guess is that he is gathering his ladies around him in anticipation of the rut. This is purely conjecture on my part, as I really have no idea if Antelope rut like Deer or Elk. But we haven't seen such a large group together that included a big buck all spring and summer. Click on the photo to enlarge for the detail.
Here is the object of our drive that day. The beautiful Birdwood Creek valley as it flows through Tin Camp. Tin Camp is a relatively strange name for a landmark, but at least there's a story behind it. Back in the days of the Indian Wars, U.S. Soldiers made their camp in this valley. They were none too neat nor environmentally conscious, and the early settlers to the region who followed them found a large dump site made up mostly of the tin cans that held the Soldiers' rations. Hence the name Tin Camp.

The name however, doesn't do justice to the beauty of the area as you will see in the photo below. Please take the tine to click on the photo to enlarge, and you will see a large flock of Turkeys making their way across the valley floor.
There is a home in the Tin Camp valley, and it's source of water is a spring on the north Birdwood creek. Really more of an artesian well, the spring has been tamed by a cistern and an overflow pipe into the Birdwood.
Just past the home site, the road crosses the creek, and this is a view up the valley to the west. If you enlarge the photo and look closely, you will see that the rancher has taken advantage of the bounteous hay crop this summer and mowed all of the meadows bordering the creek. The brightest green grass represents the new growth of the hay.
On the trip back to the south, the first of the many rainbows we would see on this drive appeared.
Here is another small rainbow in the distance, and don't you just love the way the sunshine contrasts with the cloud shadows on the hills? As you can see, the grass has lost it's green lushness, but is still thick and healthy for winter grazing.
Another rainbow that didn't quite reach the ground.
One of the perfect rainbows, arching completely across the sky.
The quality of this photograph is justifiable. It is meant to show that even though the sun was shining right where we were, we were getting rained on, and there was quite a storm along the western horizon. It was taken while I was hanging out the window of the pickup which was still driving down the road.
This is a beautiful rainbow that ends in the tree claim surrounding my grandparent's homesteading cabin, which was another destination of our trip this day. It looks OK this size, but if you click in it, again you will see that the quality isn't very crisp. By this time my companions were tiring of stopping every few minutes to take a picture of another rainbow, and I had to take it on the fly, which isn't so easy driving over a rough pasture trail road.

I've come to the conclusion that with so many rainbows, the Nebraska Sandhills must surely be the pot of gold!
The strangest incident of this day was the three dogs who greeted us in the yard of my grandparent's homestead. As you may recall, the homestead is unoccupied at this time, except for when we make one of our frequent treks to the ranch. Naturally, there aren't supposed to be any dogs there.

The mom was very obviously a well mannered and trained dog, and we had no trouble convincing her that we were her friends. We made a makeshift leash and tied her in the back of the truck. The pups on the other hand, were none too trusting.

The first made his escape into the barn. One of the bravest things I have ever done is crawl through that dark barn with a dim flashlight looking for where he had hid himself. Lots of critters make their home in that barn, none of which I would have cared to meet in such an awkward position. Fortunately, the pup was the only one I encountered, and I managed to drag him out and secure him with his mom.

The last pup was nowhere to be seen, so we made the ploy of driving away then circling back, which worked. He was obviously feeling the strain of being left behind, and it was the work of only a few minutes to capture him and place him with his family.
The story has a happy ending, because with a few phone calls the next day we were able to locate their owner, who had been searching for them for about three weeks. As a reward, we got permission to hike and ride on the rancher's land, which includes several miles of South Birdwood creek frontage. We will truly enjoy that.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The March of Time

I remember the exact moment I saw my home town for what it truly has become. It was in the late 1990's, and I had been back in my home town for about five years after being gone for fifteen.  I was hosting a group of Up With People children, from all over the U.S. and the world. As we drove down Highway 30, which parallels Main Street, one of the kids commented that it looked like a ghost town.

I had always thought of Sutherland as a warm, inviting, vibrant community, which it is. What strangers see as they drive through, however, is an economically depressed business district full of empty storefronts.

That point was reinforced this past week as demolition began on the east end of Main Street.
I have spent an enjoyable few hours going through the Sutherland Centennial book which was compiled in 1991 to celebrate the centennial of our community, searching for the origins of this building, and imagining the hopes and dreams, dramas and comedies, successes and failures that have played out within the walls that now lie in rubble.
As nearly as I can tell, the structure on this corner was built as the Miller and Paden Garage sometime after the fire of 1912 that destroyed much of the downtown. I can't find any details of the actual construction, but pictures show an empty corner in 1912. The next reference is of the Miller and Paden Garage being purchased by E.J. Bruce in April 1915. It remained a garage of one kind or another until 1963 when the business closed and the building was sold to become a bowling alley.

The Lariat Lanes was in operation until the early 1970's. The building was then a second hand store for a number of years, then remained empty for a decade or so after which it was briefly an archery and sporting goods store. It has been empty since then, and even suffered some structural damage when part of the roof blew off and a back wall partially collapsed.
It's not a huge loss that the building has been torn down (although the two street trees the demolition company destroyed is almost criminal!), especially in the shape it was in. In the picture above, you can see another building that is also slated for demolition. The loss is that what was once a busy successful business district is now filled with empty buildings that are in nearly the same shape as this one.

Word is that the owner of the lots will rebuild and put another business in. Such is progress. Do you suppose the new construction will last nearly 100 years?

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Community In Mourning

The dense fog that blanketed south central Nebraska last Wednesday has claimed the life of a beloved community member and family man.

Mark Lutz was already working before sunrise when the fog rolled in and the driver of a vehicle who didn't see him approaching pulled onto the highway into his path. He swerved to avoid the collision and was ejected from his rolling vehicle.

He passed yesterday afternoon from a blood clot resulting from his injuries.
Mark was a member of the Peetz, CO and Sutherland, NE volunteer fire departments and EMT squads. His obituary lists the loves of his life as his family, firefighting, fishing and hunting.

His brothers and sisters on the Sutherland squad have erected a memorial in his honor at the Sutherland Volunteer Fire Department.

I join them in remembering his family in my prayers.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

North Platte Rail Fest 2009 is 2/3rds Over!!

If I had more energy, I would write a fabulous blog post touting the virtues of the North Platte Rail Fest. I'm going to be satisfied with linking the Rail Fest blog to this blog. The author has done a fantastic job live blogging from the site. He even made arrangements for Hamilton communications to supply a WiFi connection to make it possible. I encourage you to visit the blog to see what has been happening.

What I do have time and energy for is to write a great big THANK YOU for all of the amazing volunteers who have made this terrific event possible.

I don't generally mention names in my blog, and I'm not going to break my informal rule right now, but the three people responsible for Rail Fest were awarded the Cody Scout Award, which is the highest honor bestowed by the City of North Platte (Of course, named after Col. William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody). It is now appropriate to address each one of them as "Colonel." I haven't tried it yet, but they all deserve the respect that it symbolizes.  These three work literally 365 days a year to make this happen.

The rest of these thank-you's are not in any kind of order, they are just observations from what I saw the past few days. 

The kids from Sutherland Public Schools deserve all kinds of kudos. Not only did they volunteer in droves (yes, it is required for graduation, but these guys and gals were ENTHUSIASTIC about being there!), but they did everything that was asked of them. Even when their duties went from helping with kids games to manning barricades, they just accepted the change with no question and did a great job wherever they were. There are even two young men coming back tomorrow morning after they had so much fun today.

Rail Fest literally couldn't happen without the very willing and able volunteers from the North Platte RSVP program. The staff at RSVP does a terrific job in recruiting these "seasoned" workers, and the volunteers themselves can't be beat.

And then there are the two Boy Scouts who spent ALL DAY at Rail Fest, and will be back ALL DAY tomorrow making sure that all the recyclables and trash is taken care of. These guys did their job, and also helped out when and where they were asked.

The great guy who volunteered his time to suit up as Spike The Engineer also made a lot of kids happy today. OK, so the guy who had the three hour morning shift is really the Mister - he still deserves thanks.

Let's see, there's also the incredible people from the Union Pacific Railroad, who not only staffed all the equipment booths, but who volunteered to handle traffic control; the crew of the miniature train; the great people from Gateway Realty and Coldwell Banker Preferred Group who helped cover the bus tours and merchandise booth; and the organizers of all of the fantastic entertainment; and that great young man who is also the Sales Manager of the Quality Inn and Suites who has been there nearly every hour of every day so far.

OK, enough of this. I'm tired, and I'm sure you're tired of reading about all this local stuff.  See you all out at Rail Fest tomorrow.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Road Trip Through Rural Nebraska and South Dakota

Tourism industry professionals don't have many opportunities to gather with their peers for continuing education, but the Upper Midwest Convention and Visitors Bureau annual fall conference is a great event for us. A full day and a half of workshops, seminars and speakers designed to help us do a better job of helping people to have fun!

The states that constitute the "Upper Midwest", at least for the purposes of this conference are Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Illinois. Personally, I would put NE, SD and ND in the Great Plains, but we all work together for this conference, and it's a good fit.

Half the fun is getting there, and our trip to Sioux Falls South Dakota this year took us up through my favorite part of the Outback - the Nebraska Sandhills.

The fog was pretty thick as we motored out of the Platte River Valley, and stayed that way well past Thedford, about 60 miles north.

As I have mentioned many times before, the Sandhills are beautiful this year, with abundant rain making for lush grasses. The ranchers have all capitalized on this bounty by putting up lots of hay.
A little further on, the fog had lifted and you can get a clearer view of the amazing scenery that we live with every day.

Just south of Valentine, Highway 83 crosses the Niobrara River, one of America's Scenic National Rivers. It's great to tube, canoe, kayak and tank. There's a lot of outfitters in the area that can put together just the right trip for you. As you can see, it is very beautiful.
This is a little bit larger river that we crossed further into our trip. We are on the bridge over the Missouri river in Chamberlain South Dakota. There seems to be some construction going on on the bridge in the distance to the north.
As you drive across I-90 in South Dakota, there are two absolutely must-see's. One is Wall Drug in Wall, SD, which didn't come into play on this trip. The second is the Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD. It was right on our way, so we had to stop.
From the Corn Palace website:
The Corn Palace serves as a multi-use center for the community and region. The facility hosts stage shows, as well as sports events in its arena. The World's Only Corn Palace is an outstanding structure which stands as a tribute to the agricultural heritage of South Dakota.

The original Corn Palace, called "The Corn Belt Exposition" was established in 1892. Early settlers displayed the fruits of their harvest on the building exterior in order to prove the fertility of South Dakota soil. The third and present building was completed for it first festival at the present location in 1921. The exterior decorations are completely stripped down and new murals are created each year. The theme is selected by the Corn Palace Festival Committee and murals are designed by a local artist. Come and Experience what the Corn Palace has to offer. Visiting is FREE.
Sounds like a pretty cool place, huh?

Even the inside of the auditorium is decorated with corn murals.
Then it was on to business and our conference in Sioux Falls. On Monday night, after a long day of seminars, workshops and speakers, it was time to relax. A little retail therapy at The Empire Mall, and a great dinner with friends at Braccos, we just had to see the Falls. After all, they just didn't pull the name Sioux Falls out of the sky.
The falls are incredibly spectacular and run right through the heart of Sioux Falls. Over a distance of a mile, they drop about 90 feet in a series of falls.
Here you can see some of the falls in the distance. It was nearly 10:00 p.m., so my photography is kind of iffy. To the left you can see part of a building that once housed the power plant that used the energy of the falls to create electricity.
If you are ever visiting Sioux Falls, which at a population of 120,000 is the largest city in South Dakota, be sure not to miss it's namesake, the actual falls. You'll be glad you did.
I'll be headed back across that great country just after noon today, getting back to North Platte in time to help my friends host a wildly successful North Platte Rail Fest.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

When the Extraordinary Becomes Ordinary

When you’re surrounded by extraordinary people doing extraordinary things, it’s easy to fall into the trap of taking them for granted. I am very guilty of this, and I’m going to try to make up for it with this blog post. 

I am married to the most extraordinary man in the world. On twitter you know him as DadForADay, and on this blog you know him simply as the Mister.  When I finish describing him, you all will understand why I feel the way I do. 

Let’s start with the most recent happenings first, since they’re fresh in my mind. The Mister is the kind of guy who takes his entire summer vacation to accompany his tourism wife to the Nebraska State Fair. And he isn’t just my sidekick. He mans the booth for hours on end, answering questions and selling our area of Nebraska, and is the resident UPRR, Bailey Yard and general train expert.  Oh yeah, and he dons the Spike The Engineer mascot suit so that I don’t have to!  And he used his new Ford truck to pull the CVB’s mobile trailer to Lincoln, and drove it in the State Fair parade every day! 

This doesn’t just happen at the State Fair. In the spring, he accompanies me to the travel shows throughout the area doing the same thing. 

If you’ve ever worked any kind of consumer show, you know that it’s not a lot of fun. I love tourism and letting people know about our wonderful part of Nebraska, but even I get tired of smiling, telling people the same thing again and again, and getting asked “well, I used to know someone from North Platte… Do you know so and so?” (the scary part is that we usually do, especially if the Mister is there!).  I do it because it’s my job. He does it because he loves me and wants to spend time with me, and that’s one way to do it. Plus, he is great with people, and does a much better job than I do in social situations. 

And what did I do with my summer vacation? I took a girls-only road trip with my daughter, and the Mister let us take his brand new Ford F-150 pickup while he stayed at home! I’ve probably put more miles on his truck than he has. 

In his spare time, he is the designated driver on our backroad country cruises, he orchestrates all of the logistics for our tanking adventures, he’s the stage manager for our House Concerts, and of course he’s fix-it man extraordinaire – if you want something done, take it to the Mister and you can rest assured that he’ll get it done. 

And speaking of getting it done – he’s the construction manager on our project of restoring my grandparents homesteading cabin in the Nebraska Sandhills. 

Right now he’s up on the roof, doing his own labor to replace the shingles that were totaled in hail storms this summer with a steel roof. And why is he doing his own labor (and using that of our incredible neighbors)? Because the insurance company pays for labor, no matter who does it (as is only right), and we’re going to need the extra money for an incredible ROAD TRIP to Idaho next summer when the #1 son gets married. 

I try to do my best to reciprocate all that he does for me, but I know that I don’t ever come close. So sweetie – this is my tribute to you (even though you never read this – maybe our kids will tell you about it!).  You are extraordinary, and I appreciate it very, very much. 

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Nebraska Royalty

I am much more sentimental than I thought I would be on the last day of the Nebraska State Fair in Lincoln. 140 years is a lot of history that is now just that, history. I'm all for progress, and being from western Nebraska, my personal opinion is that a central location for the Nebraska State Fair will be a positive move for the entire state. That being said, I return to my earlier statement. 140 years is a lot of history!

We made the best of our last few days there - Brittany Jeffers, Miss Nebraska spent several hours at our booth on Saturday, and what a sweet girl she is. In addition to her full time job as Miss Nebraska, she is a reporter for Channel 8 here in Lincoln. 

Brittany's platform is promoting self-esteem in young girls, and she excels at her chosen field. She is so warm, gracious and inviting to the shy young women who want to meet her that they can't help but come over and start a conversation. She is also now the official state spokesperson for the Girl Scouts Uniquely Me program. You can also follow Miss Nebraska on her blog,  and on Twitter as Missneb09. A very busy lady indeed.

I would be remiss in my job if I didn't let you know that Miss Nebraska is crowned the first week of June in North Platte each year.
She was also gracious enough to pose with two very hard-working tourism representatives.
Monday came, and time for the last parade at State Fair Park in Lincoln. There were mascots galore! Including Nebraska's two most famous - Li'l Red and Herbie Husker. They were very friendly as well - no excessive testosterone, even given their huge muscles. They are much more animated than Spike though - Spike needs to take lessons.
After the parade there was more royalty in the North Platte booth. Amy Amack, Miss Rodeo Nebraska 2009, and the Lady In Waiting Michelle Boeshart who will take over the crown in January both stopped by to spend some time promoting the pageant that is held in conjunction with NEBRASKAland DAYS in North Platte each year in June.
These ladies are also fabulous representatives of our state and Rodeo in general. They are poised and professional and are great ambassadors.
Spike the Engineer was also very impressed with them.
He didn't mean to upstage the Miss Rodeo Nebraska ladies, but he is kind of hard to ignore.
The North Platte/Lincoln County tourism staff and volunteer also took time off to have their picture taken with the royalty.
And the girls spent some time in our booth showcasing all of the wonderful things to see and do in Lincoln County.

Whew! It's been quite a week, and it's good to be headed home, just in time to gear up for Rail Fest!

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Friday, September 4, 2009

More from the Nebraska State Fair

Some of my first posts to this blog back in February were of the time we were spending at consumer travel shows, and the Nebraska State Fair isn't much different. Here you see that the booth looks quite the same. It's been pretty quiet during the week, but we expect huge crowds as the weather turns nice just in time for Labor Day weekend and the Nebraska Cornhusker's 2009 season debut on Saturday.
I'm not the most talented railroader in the world (in fact, I'm not a railroader at all), but I think I did do a good job on my Thomas the Train railroad tracks, if I do say so myself. For some reason, the resident railroader isn't too interested in model trains.
The addition to our booth display this year is Spike the Engineer, mascot of the Golden Spike Tower and Visitor Center. He is extremely popular.
No, this isn't Nebraska Outback inside the vinyl this time, it's actually the Mister - does he look taller?
It seems all of the little boys want to shake his hand, give him a high five or a hug. Except, of course, the ones who want to use him as a punching bag. Always have to watch out for them.
Thursday was kids day at the Nebraska State Fair, so there were lots of little ones around. It poured most of the day, so the dry Devaney Center was a very popular place to spend some time.
So far we've received a great reception for all of the great things there are to do in Lincoln County and western Nebraska. It's always fun to make new friends.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Summer may not really be over

My last post saying goodbye to all of the great times we had this summer may not be quite accurate. I was looking over the calendar of events for my little corner of the outback, and it looks to me like September is one of the busiest months of the year as far as fun things to do.

Of course, the Nebraska State Fair is going on right now in Lincoln, and we are having a great time here, letting people know about all of the great stuff to do in Lincoln County in our booth, and participating in the nightly parade through State Fair Park. 

This is (supposedly) the last year the fair will be in Lincoln. Next year is slated to be in Grand Island, more central within the state. However, the Nebraska Supreme Court has agreed to weigh in on a lawsuit currently working it's way through the system designed to keep the fair in Lincoln. Who knows what the outcome will be, but I do feel sorry for the organizers in Grand Island, trying to get ready to a massive event, but unsure of whether or not they'll really host it, and probably not finding out for sure until about six months prior.

Anyway, on to what is actually happening THIS year in September.

Back in the west, the annual Paxton Labor Day celebration, including the "Thunder In The Valley" bullriding classic on the 5th.

A little further west in Lewellen, is the new Blue Water Blues Festival with a great lineup of Blues artists on September 5th.

In North Platte, there's the Nebraska State Rodeo Association State Finals on September 11, 12 and 13, the Colonel Cody's Cruise Show and Shine the 12th and 13th, and the Arts in the Park on the 13th. Then there's the Trap and Sporting Clays shoot at the Lincoln County Wildlife Gun Club on September 12th & 13th. Busy weekend in North Platte!

It doesn't end there, either. The next weekend, September 18, 19 and 20 is the North Platte (Railroad Town USA) Rail Fest. A whole weekend of great railroad-themed events. There's also the Lincoln County High School Rodeo and Farmer's Market. The same weekend is the Fall Festival in Wallace.

And there's lots more going on in September throughout the state. Greeley has an Irish Festival the same weekend as North Platte's Rail Fest, which is too bad, because I'd really like to go someday.

Then there's the great Nebraska Junk Jaunt. A 300 mile continuous Yard Sale in central Nebraska. Each of 35-40 towns organizes a 3-day yard sale. Most towns will have at least one “Central Set-Up” location for vendors. Last year, this fun event drew 20,000 people from 32 states and 70 of 93 Nebraska counties.

If you were planning to stay at home and do nothing this September, better think again and get out and enjoy some fun before the deep-freeze winter that the Old Farmer's Almanac is predicting hits us.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Summer Drawing to a Close in the Outback

A young friend of mine, with three young boys commented to me that my blog posts were an inspiration for her to get out with her family and have some adventure. I'm glad - that's one of the reasons I record how great it is to live in Nebraska. Get out and enjoy where ever you find yourself.

Our last day on the water, we shared the river with another tank and a group of canoes and kayaks. It's great to see everyone out and about.

Today is going to warm up again in the Outback, but the nights are getting cool, and there is a definite autumn chill in the air.  We have probably taken our last tanking trip of the summer, so what better time to look back at all the great fun we had over the summer.

In one of our last trips, we had the unfortunate experience of brushing against a tree on the bank that was covered with tiny little spiders. Now it wouldn't have bothered most of us, but some of our group weren't too interested in sharing our tank with the little critters. Nothing to do but pull over on a sandbank and rid the tank of the invaders.
After a quick pit-stop, it's time to re-launch the vessel and head out for more leisurely fun.
You'll have to click on the picture below in order to see the detail in the photo, but there is a Blue Heron near the shore. If you can ever get the passengers in the tank to be quiet long enough (and this is why we don't allow radios!) you get to see quite a bit of wildlife.
You never know just who you're going to meet on the river.  Is that Tom Cruise?
There is no better way to reconnect with friends and family than leisurely floating down the river in a tank. It leads to great conversation.
All of the kids enjoy themselves. Who says an adventure has to be exciting and dangerous? Not many rapids, waterfalls or dangerous critters on the Platte, but still an adventure in the outdoors.
The shots below hopefully give you some idea of how beautiful the scenery is, and how peaceful and serene it is to quietly float down the river.

And now back to more fun - don't they look like they're having fun?
Two of the best friends a family could ever have.
Even if you don't see the critters, you know that they're there. These are Turkey tracks down near the water.
After a long afternoon on the river, it's time to sit back and reflect on the day while waiting for the road crew to return.
And here they come. Time to load up the tank, secure all of the belongings, scout the area to see if there is any trash left over from someone else's fun (always leave it better than you found it), and head to town. Nothing left of the day except the memories.
We're going to keep track of the water flow in the river. If it ever gets up to around 500 CFS this winter, we may consider a polar bear trip. Hot chocolate and schnapps instead of beer, and a grill in the center of the tank instead of a cooler. Might be fun... stay tuned.

Thanks for stopping by. The coffee is always on.