Arrival At Red Willow State Rec Area

Where is Red Willow State Recreation Area, NE?

It was raining about most of the way across NE. Apparently it was their 4th day straight of rain. I had intended to stay at Enders Rec Area, but when I got there the gravel roads were about two inch deep of squishy stuff, like grease on a floor. And all roads lead to a downhill area at the lake. I realized that I would never get the Barth down the roads safely as I was having difficult enough time exploring in the Jeep, which I also refrained from driving down the slippery slopes.

I had just previously gotten the Barth plus toad almost stuck when I pulled into a typical gravel pit to turn around, usually safe enough. I had passed Enders and it took about a 20 mile round trip to find a place to turn, my second such trip of the day. But the pit was about like the campground I had not as yet experienced. At one point Barth’s wheels were spinning and I was moving about an inch a second, and I could not steer in the muck – it was going straight or else. Surviving that gave me a heads-up about the campground muck.

Although the local “general store” owner said I could park anywhere I wanted in Enders, which consisted of three occupied buildings including the store and post office, two abandoned buildings, a couple of buildings hiding behind trash such that I could not ascertain their status and a co-op grain silo. I looked around the ramshackle area and passed.

I filled with water at the rec area, and pointed Barth toward… what ever the next town was. It turned out to be McCook. And as I rolled into town there appeared the glow of Walmart parking lot lights! I had been concerned about where I could possibly stay since it was about dusk, and Wally sure was a welcome sight. The presence of 3 other RVs indicated that I need not bother to ask permission. But I did, just to be polite.

Today I left Barth in the relative safety of the Wally lot, and explored this place, Red Willow SRA. It’s roads were drivable, at least the one the campground is on. And the road didn’t go down a slippery hill. And it has electricity, first I have had in months. Cost? off season (no water, showers turned off) is $10/day plus $25 yearly fee for a State pass. That works out to about $12/day for 14 days. Not bad when one considers that I have been paying $12-$14 and using $3 of gas each day for the generator.

I have determined a few things about my first on-the-ground exposure to NE. Many of the dots on a map consist of a co-op grain silo plus a few supporting houses. The bigger the dot, the bigger and more numerous the silos. Frequently the ‘town’ is beside the road and all one sees is 50 feet of 50 mph speed limit and a single sign identifying the reason for the speed limit.

Driving through those areas that have less tourist appeal then the Rockies states, such as NE, is an eye opener. There is not an RV park around every corner as there is in more touristy states. So it really can become a problem to locate a place to park for the night or week.

Folks in town are very helpful I even had a guy at the co-op in McCook gage my tires to 115 #, as they were several pounds low and it is near impossible to find a place with that pressure. He also put on valve stem caps, and charged only $5, looking embarrassed to ask for that much.

The co-op was also the place of the RV pull-through friendly propane tap. But I did have to ask four times to find them.

And I must not forget, NE soil, when saturated by water, is slippery as eel stuff!

My current campsite:

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Revisit – Crazy Horse Monument

Crazy Horse is an incomplete monument dedicated to the Indian leader, Crazy Horse. It has been in the process of creation since about the 1940’s, but to me it appears that progress is abysmally slow.

The ‘carving’ is now managed and performed by the wife and descendants of the original artist, now deceased. They rely only on funds raised by the attraction, refusing Government money on the basis that they do not want to yield control of the monument to the Government.

Now, given the slow progress, I almost have to wonder if the main goal of the family isn’t to maintain a perpetual source of income for the family, rather then to complete the monument on a reasonable schedule. Just my observation and opinion.

Here are the scale model of the objective, and the current status:

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