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Mullen, Nebraska: Unofficially the best small town in the United States (Every reason you need to visit)

Posted by on Mar 11, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Mullen, Nebraska: Unofficially the best small town in the United States (Every reason you need to visit)

Mullen, Nebraska: Unofficially the best small town in the United States (Every reason you need to visit)

It’s hard to believe that March is already here! The days are growing longer, the weather is getting warmer, and our urge to get back on the road again is stronger than ever before after sitting idle for the last 12 months. With so many places to visit and so many things to do as we return to normal, there has never been a greater moment than this to get out and see the world around us. And while we completely understand that a town with a population of slightly more than 350 residents in central Nebraska may not be at the very top of your must-see destination list, we’re here to wholeheartedly convince you to come see us here in Mullen, Nebraska.

Think of this as an ice breaker – you can get to know a little bit about us and we’ll get to know a bit about you once you realize that Mullen is as iconic as the Sandhills that surround us.

For starters, Mullen may quite literally be the most quaint, relaxing town you’ll ever visit. Some even say we’re the most peaceful small town in America – just ask Joe and Pam! (To be clear, we don’t know a Joe and Pam, but you get the point) After a tumultuous year of unexpected twists and turns, finding somewhere to spend some time in that’ll bring you back down to earth may be exactly what you need as we all look to recalibrate our lives.

With Midwestern hospitality exuding from every nook and cranny around town, Mullen simply does ‘peopling’ right. We welcome newcomers with open arms and open hearts. Eager to share advice on the best places to go, you’ll feel comfortable walking up to any resident you see on the street, here. And while our people are pretty darn great, there is also something to be said about the unique assortment of businesses to visit around town. From delicious food at Red’s to fun times at Lucy’s variety store, you’re bound to leave town with a new recipe, unique souvenir, and some amazing memories. Looking to learn about the history of Mullen and the surrounding area? Stop by the Hooker County Historical Museum!

We’ve got the best lodging around

But where are you supposed to stay after a long day of poking around town and the surrounding area? Sandhills Motel, of course! Cornering the lodging market here in Hooker County, Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental offers comfortable lodging accommodations at comfortable prices. You can click here to check out our current rates! With great lodging, people, food, and businesses, could Mullen get any better? (Yes. Yes it can!)

There’s so much to do here!

As much as we love the town of Mullen itself, we can’t forget to mentioned the stunning scenery that envelopes our town. Whether you’re cruising the scenic Sandhills byway or spending the day floating down the Middle Loup River, the fun doesn’t just stop in Mullen. The fun is here and all around us.

From ice fishing to horseback riding to tanking, the Nebraska Sandhills are your playground and can be seen for miles in every which direction. Not sure what outdoor activities await you? Take a gander through our past blog articles or explore our website to learn more about the variety of sites and attractions that you have to visit. If the outdoors aren’t really your thing, Hondo Lanes is also a great option for some bowling fun with your friends and family. In short, there really is something for everybody, here!

We’d love for you to come see us!

While we’re sure we could easily write thousands of words on why Mullen deserves to be a part of your NE travel plans, we’ll let this article speak for itself. No matter where you’re coming from, know that we’d be delighted to have you here at the Sandhills Motel. See you soon!

Birds of Nebraska: Our Favorite Species

Posted by on Feb 9, 2021 in Blog | Comments Off on Birds of Nebraska: Our Favorite Species

Birds of Nebraska: Our Favorite Species

It’s National Bird Feeding Month, which could only mean one thing: it’s time to talk about the beautiful bird species that call Nebraska home! At a glance, many people come to Nebraska for the Sandhills, unmistakable midwestern hospitality, and the allure of enjoying a life of comfort and comfort, but many fail to recognize just how diverse Nebraska’s bird species are. Home to over 465 species of birds, it’s hard to imagine Nebraska without its beautiful birds! From epic events like the annual Sandhill Crane Migration to the unforgettable grassland dances of Sharp-Tailed Grouse and Prairie Chicken, it can be a bit hard to keep all of our flying friends in line

To help paint a picture of just how diverse Nebraska’s birds are, we’re here to highlight some of our favorites.

Sandhill Crane: It’s hard to picture highlighting our favorite birds without starting off with the Sandhill Crane. One of the largest cranes you’ll find in North America, Sandhill Cranes are gorgeous creatures known for their yearly pilgrimage to the Platte River Valley for yearly breeding. Known for migrating in large packs, Sandhill Cranes will blow your mind with their distinct size and sheer beauty when you see packs in the thousands of birds all coming together for the same purpose before they migrate for the winter season.

Western Meadowlark: The state bird of Nebraska, Western Meadowlarks are songstresses if we’ve ever heard them. With a rich chirp and range of songs, the Western Meadowlark belongs to the Blackbirds and Orioles family and are extremely common throughout Nebraska. Often found in grasslands, you’ll be able to easily spot these birds due to their yellow and black underbelly, with complementary brown plumage on its back. Make sure to take a photo of a Western Meadowlark on your next Nebraska birdwatching adventure to commemorate its significance to the state.

Warblers: If you have an affinity for Warblers, Nebraska is the perfect place to visit. With Warbler species ranging from Pine Warblers to Magnolia Warblers to Kentucky Warblers, you’ll be warbling in excitement when you see these stunning birds, commonly known for their yellow underbelly. Dazzling bird watchers with their vibrant plumage, the best place to find Nebraska’s various species of warblers is on the eastern side of the state during the spring before they migrate east!

Belted Kingfisher: If you’re looking for some edgy hairstyle inspiration, the Belted Kingfisher is for you! A fairly common bird across Nebraska, Belted Kingfishers are stunning for their plumage alone, boasting beautiful blue, white, and orange feathers with a distinct mohawk-looking hairdo. Often found near lakes and water sources, Belted Kingfishers are described to have wild rattling calls that will quickly catch your attention.

Burrowing Owl: Most common in Western and Central Nebraska, you’ll be hooting for joy when you catch a glimpse of Burrowing Owls in the wild. Known for being active during the day and night, Burrowing Owls are gorgeous with their white and brown plumage.  While they are becoming more endangered as their traditional food sources are continuously dwindling, conservation efforts are in place to conserve this iconic species of owl.

Prairie Falcon: What would our list of favorite birds in Nebraska be without mentioning the Prairie Falcon? Mainly common throughout the western half of Nebraska during the winter, the Prairie Falcon is a tactical beast when it comes to hunting, soaring across fields at speeds that’ll make your jaw drop. Often found on the prairie, farmland, and around lakes in Nebraska, you’ll know a Prairie Falcon when you see it soar across the sky and dive for prey in a blink of an eye.

Mountain Chickadee: While a rare sight to see unless you’re in Western Nebraska in the winter, we especially appreciate the Mountain Chickadee for their distinction as small songbirds. If you want to hear the songs of the Mountain Chickadee, you’ll definitely want to check out the National Audubon Society’s website! By and large, Mountain Chickadees are creatures of habit and prefer to live in higher elevations, a large culprit for why they are so rare in the state of Nebraska. If you see one on your next Nebraska birdwatching adventure, you can consider yourself extremely lucky!

American Avocet: Boasting a long beak, distinct plumage, and a flamingo-like stature, American Avocets are a sight to see in the wild. Common throughout the western half of Nebraska, American Avocets love to call beaches and prairie ponds home. With orange, white and brown plumage, American Avocets are gentle creatures that are downright adorable. For the best chance of seeing these brilliant birds in action, we recommend taking a trip to a Nebraskan lake or pond during the spring and summer.

Sharp-Tailed Grouse: Sharp-Tailed Grouse, also known as Prairie-chickens are the pride and joy of the Nebraskan prairie with their beautiful plumage and unique mating dance. With brown, white, gold, white, and black plumage, Sharp-Tailed Grouse do a great job of blending into the lush scenery of the prairie, especially in the dense shrubs where they typically call home. In regard to their distinct mating dance, male Sharp-tailed Grouse put on quite the show for females with their loud stamping and cooing. (You’re going to want to see a video of this one in action to get the full effect.) Such dancing is a major draw for visitors looking to witness the beauty of nature.

Birdwatching Adventures: If you’re looking to spectate an event of a lifetime in watching Sharp-Tailed Grouse mate, Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental offers birdwatching adventures in the spring. To learn more, click here!

No matter what time of year you embark on your next Nebraska birdwatching adventure, you’re sure to see beautiful birds. The best part? The Sandhills Motel is open year-round here in Mullen, the epicenter of all things birding, so make sure lodging with us is a part of your travel plans.

A Beginner’s Guide to Tanking

Posted by on Jan 14, 2021 in Blog, Dismal River Trips, Middle Loup River Trips, Sandhills Motel | Comments Off on A Beginner’s Guide to Tanking

A Beginner’s Guide to Tanking

As we usher in 2021, we’ve decided to officially share our most well-kept recipe for fun at Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental. While we can’t promise you’ll be able to make this recipe on your own as well as we do at Sandhills Motel, it’s worth the shot.

You’ll need:
  • 1 large livestock water tank
  • 4-8 friends and family members (including yourself)
  • Sunscreen
  • Towels
  • Snacks
  • Appropriate Beverages
  • Life Jackets
  • Lawn chairs
  • 1-2 meandering rivers
  • Good ‘ole Nebraskan sunshine

Mix all of the ingredients together and you’ll cook up some unforgettable memories (and possibly a sunburn if you aren’t careful). Can you guess what the end result is?… Oh right, it’s the perfect recipe for tanking in Nebraska, the unofficial official leisure activity of Nebraska! While many of us have had the pleasure of spending our summer afternoons tanking in Nebraska down the Middle Loup and Dismal Rivers for years and years,

Nebraska

Learn fun facts about Nebraska

Tanking Nebraska’s winding rivers is so much fun. We’ll paint a picture for you: have you ever felt a cool breeze with a tinge of water and summer heat while floating down a river surrounded by the lush Nebraskan landscape? Imagine that sensation, but extended over a several hour journey – that’s tanking. Intrigued? We’ll tell you more.

The moment you start your tanking journey, you’ll be happy you did. Whether you brought the family with or some friends, tanking down the Dismal or Middle Loup rivers offer ample opportunities for fun, relaxation, and the company of the beautiful nature that surrounds you. It’s like a floating family or class reunion! With the soft current of water slowly pushing you to your destination, disconnecting from your busy life is easier than you imagine, especially when you’ve got the right people, snacks and drinks with you. You can even bring along your favorite six-pack of beer or canned wine to enjoy on your journey (please drink responsibly).

Where else in the world will you be able to experience something so simple, yet so undeniably comforting? The answer is simple: you won’t finding tanking anywhere else! All the more reason to come enjoy a Nebraska tanking adventure in Mullen.

Perhaps the best part about tanking is that if you get hot, you can simply jump in the river to cool off without having to worry about your tank floating away too fast! One can only imagine the fun that will transpire on your tanking adventure, which is why you absolutely need to try it.

Now that you know a little bit more about tanking, call up your friends and family to start planning your next Nebraska tanking vacation. At Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rentals, we don’t just offer clean hotel rooms and exceptional lodging, we also offer canoe, kayak, and tank rentals! All it takes is a quick call to the Sandhills Motel and we’ll get you set up with everything. Ranging from two-hour adventures to five or six-hour tanking trips, Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental makes tank rentals quite affordable.

Our current rates are $25 for adults, $10 for children 12 to 6, and free for anybody younger, so long as they have a life jacket. You can click here to learn more about our River Adventure rentals and here to check out our rates. When you call to make your reservation, make sure to let us know that you saw this blog article!

You can ‘tank’ us later for the recommendation!

Creating Winter fun in the Sandhills

Posted by on Dec 11, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on Creating Winter fun in the Sandhills

Creating Winter fun in the Sandhills

The days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler as winter slowly prepares for its yearly ballet here in Nebraska and while we can’t say it’s our favorite season of the year, we can hardly discount the abundant fun that winter brings us in the Sandhills region. From sledding down the Sandhills to taking up new hobbies like cross-country skiing and snow fort building, we often find ourselves looking for opportunities to create our own fun during the winter.

To get your creative juices flowing as cold weather approaches, we’ve put together a winter Sandhills bucket list of sorts to keep you occupied this winter!

Check out the list!

  • Try out a new hobby that you’ve always thought of trying, but never followed through with: Whether you’re taking up snowshoeing or bird watching here in the Sandhills, there’s endless potential to learn and become a pro at something new on winter’s chilly days!
  • Take a trip to somewhere new that you’ve never been before here in Nebraska: Nearly every town and city throughout the state brings something unique to the table. Whether you’re traveling to Halsey, NE and the Bessey Ford Ranger District or taking a cross-state trip to hubs like Omaha, Lincoln, or Grand Island, you’re sure to make unforgettable memories filled with new experiences that you would’ve never had if you had stayed home. To spice up the adventure, get a map of Nebraska and throw a dart at it and go to wherever it lands – how fun would that be?
  • Take part in a local Polar Plunge or Tank Race: Who doesn’t love raising money for worthy charities while having an absorbent amount of fun? If you’re in the Mullen area, Sandhills Journey raises money every year with their tank races which send competitors rowing down the Middle Loup River in the middle of winter. If you’re interested in doing something fun like this, make sure to watch our page in early 2021 to find out more information about the 14th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race.
  • Take a trip from one end of the Sandhills Scenic Byway from one end to the other: No matter which end you start on in Grand Island or Alliance, the Sandhills are a sight to behold in the winter as snow and frost envelope the hilly scenery throughout central Nebraska.
  • Go winter star-gazing: The Sandhills are quite literally one of the best places in the world to go stargazing on a clear night. With minimal light pollution and endless opportunities to bear witness to exciting events like meteor showers, we promise you won’t regret going on a starry adventure. (Just remember to pack blankets and a coat.)
  • Enjoy a weekend getaway at the Sandhills Motel: This one should be a no-brainer if you’re a fan of our lovely motel. Whether you’ve stayed with us 100 times or never before, you’re sure to have a great time here in Mullen on a fun weekend getaway. Who knows what will happen – maybe you’ll find yourself floating down a river in the dead of winter tanking. Click here to check out our rates.
  • Go ice fishing with a friend: If you’re a local or a fellow Nebraskan, you already know that the state offers plentiful opportunities to fish year-round. Pack up your ice shack, fishing gear, some warm snacks and get a move on to fun places like Merritt Reservoir in Valentine or south to the Platte River! Click here to check out great places to ice fish in Nebraska
  • Learn more about the Sandhills: We can’t even begin to tell you how many amazing books there are out there about the Sandhills and their incredibly unique history. For those who aren’t big on reading, enjoy an afternoon watching films like Ocean of Grass which highlights ranching in the Sandhills!
  • Enjoy a weekend or weeknight of cooking/baking new recipes. Let’s be honest – we’re all guilty of cooking the same recipes over and over again throughout the month. Why not spend some down-time broadening your horizons? We especially enjoy the recipes UNL Food Institute has been sharing. If you’re feeling especially sentimental, check out these traditional Nebraskan recipes.

Whether you try out one of these ideas or all of them, we hope you’ll let us know all about your winter excitement next time you see us! Until then, stay safe, stay warm, and have a very Happy Holidays.

Road Trip: 10 Winter Safety Tips

Posted by on Nov 4, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on Road Trip: 10 Winter Safety Tips

Road Trip: 10 Winter Safety Tips

As the holiday season fast approaches, the excitement of being reunited with our friends and family is more apparent than ever before. And let’s face it, who wants to be cooped up at home any more than they already have this year? With that being said, whether your holiday destinations are 100 or 2000 miles away, a winter road trip may be on the menu for you in the coming weeks.

To help guarantee you are adequately prepared to endure the varying wintry conditions on the road, we’ve put together 10 tips for you to review before you start your journey to the promise land of endless turkey, candy canes, and latkes.

Our Top 10 Ten Winter Road Trip Tips:

  1. Be informed about road/weather conditions: Whether you’re facing snow, rain, ice or wind, it is important to be aware of what you’ll be driving through on the road. With a better knowledge of the conditions ahead of you, you can better tailor your road trip to include places to stop along the way, just in case! Sites like Safe Travel USA offer minute-by-minute updates on road conditions.
  2. Pack appropriate clothing: There is no such thing as packing light during the wintertime. If you’re headed towards snow, make sure to pack a winter coat, gloves, boots, a hat, a scarf, and earmuffs. Make sure to also pack extra shirts, pants, socks, and undergarments in case your trip takes longer than expected. As a rule of thumb, pack enough clothes to get you through the length of your trip plus an additional two days – just in case.
  3. Pack extra food and water: Road trip snacks are a staple of cross-country travel, but can also save your life if you get stranded in the middle of nowhere. Make sure to pack extra food and water before you hit the road. You never know when you might need it.
  4. Put together an emergency kit: It is very important to have an emergency kit in your car should you need it. Consider including blankets, jumper cables, roadside flares, a flashlight, extra batteries, a spare tire and jack kit, energy-related food, etc. in your kit. This kit should be equipped to help you in any type of situation.
  5. Pack a small shovel and windshield scraper: While snow in excess is hardly ever fun, having a shovel and windshield scraper will make your life a whole lot easier if you get stuck along the way.
  6. Get your tires and brakes checked: Perhaps the biggest fear of driving in the winter is the worry of encountering icy roads. Ensure you vehicle is prepared to get you from ‘point a’ to ‘point b’ in one piece by having your breaks and tires inspected. Let’s face it, we’re all overdue for a tire rotation and brake inspection anyways!
  7. Get an oil change: The unfortunate reality of cold weather is that it can and will take a toll on your car and its gas mileage. Taking your car to get an oil change and routine inspection can help you better prepare your car for the road ahead. While getting your oil changed, also make sure to check your wiper fluid levels and the health of your car battery!
  8. Let your friends and family know your travel itinerary: Should something unexpected happen on the road, ensuring someone else knows where you’re at or where you’re supposed to be could save your life. As a good rule of thumb, consider sharing travel updates with trusted individuals each time you fill up on gas.
  9. Charge your phone before you go: While most people have the ability to charge their phone on the road, having a charged phone can better guarantee your safety in sticky (or slippery) situations. If you have an external on-the-go power supply, charge it up and bring it along too!
  10. Bring cash along with you: Whether you have to spend an unexpected night at hotel/motel on the road or encounter problems with your credit card somewhere like a gas station, cash can save the day and ensure you have immediate access to funds. Additionally, cash is a great way to make sure you stay on budget should you be traveling on one!

 

We hope you all stay safe and have a lovely holiday season. If you’re in our neck of the woods, make sure to stop by and say hello!

 

Ten Reasons Why You NEED To The Visit Nebraska National Forest Bessey Ranger District

Posted by on Oct 13, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on Ten Reasons Why You NEED To The Visit Nebraska National Forest Bessey Ranger District

As fall continues to run its course, the question of ‘what to do’ should never be questioned when you live in a state with as much untapped natural (and manmade) beauty as Nebraska. Nestled within the state’s undeniably scenic and famous Sandhills lies a forest whose beauty is as equally intriguing as its notoriety. What forest is this, you might ask? It’s the Bessey Ranger District, of course!

Revered as the largest manmade forest on the North American continent, the Bessey Ranger District occupancies an area of 141 square miles (or 90,000 acres) just west of Halsey, NE, and 40 miles east of Mullen, NE along Highway 2. Established in the early 1900s by renowned botanist Charles E. Bessey, the forest has stood the test of time (and wind-blown erosion) as a means to determine whether or not manmade forests are sustainable in the Sandhills.

One of only two forests comprising the Nebraska National Forest system, Bessey Ranger District offers an unmatched melting pot of opportunity for people with varying interests ranging from bird watching to hiking. To ensure your fall is as exciting as it can be, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 reasons why you should make your way to Bessey Ranger District as soon as possible.

  1. For bucket list sake: Bessey Ranger District is literally the biggest manmade forest in North America and the ONLY hand-planted forest in the world! For the sake of crossing a couple items off your bucket list, Bessey Ranger District is a must-see sight.
  2. For its fishing: The fishing scene in and around the forest offers opportunity for fishers of all skill levels. Fishers can expect to catch a variety of fish species including: large and smallmouth bass, channel catfish, bluegill, walleye, northern pike, muskellunge, crappie, perch, and even an occasional rainbow trout at a variety of lakes, reservoirs, and streams.
  3. For its botanical significance: If you’re a botanist, the idea of even being able to bear witness to the aftermath of Charles E. Bessey’s successful experiment should get you on your feet.
  4. For its historically significant nursery: The Bessey Ranger District’s Charles E. Bessey Tree Nursery is responsible for the production of 1.5 million seedlings per year and serves as the second seedbank of the Rocky Mountains. The nursery is the oldest Federal tree nursery in the US!
  5. For its hiking: Take a hike to the Scott Lookout Tower, a three mile trail leading to a lookout tower offering 360-degree views of the forest and surrounding grasslands. Fun fact: the Scott Lookout Tower remains as the only active fire tower in the entire state!
  6. For camping: To take an overnight camping trip to Bessey Recreation Complex and Campground before visiting us in Mullen! There’s fun for the whole family.
  7. For off-roading: Visitors can enjoy an 11 mile ATV trail along the Dismal River among several others.
  8. For birdwatching: Enjoy birdwatching while taking in the stunning views of the forest and Sandhills. (Make sure to bring your National Audubon Society birdwatching book!)
  9. For horse riding: If you have a horse, Bessey Ranger District is the perfect place to take your favorite hooved friend out on an adventure.
  10. For an opportunity to relax: Take a breath of fresh air and enjoy a moment (or several hours) of relaxation. During these undeniably uncertain times, it has never been more important to find opportunities to get out and enjoy the splendor of our beautiful country.

While we capped our list of reasons you need to visit the Bessey Ranger District at ten, we hope you find plenty more reasons to make a trip to our favorite forest. If you do go, make sure to visit us in Mullen and share all of your photos! Have fun adventuring.

Scenic Nebraska Drives

Posted by on Sep 15, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on Scenic Nebraska Drives

The summer months are winding down and we are starting to see a change of seasons. Days are becoming shorter, temperatures are dropping, and colors are starting to change. Surely everyone enjoys the heat and long days that come with the summer months but there is just something so refreshing about the fall. There is crispness in the air that makes us all remember why we love the Midwest. The wonderful changing of seasons. Take some time this fall to go explore and find yourself in the beautiful autumn landscape.

Below we have made a list of some the most beautiful scenic drives in Nebraska. Read through this list and find a route near you to go explore and take in all nature has to offer during this time. There is nothing like a nice, long drive on a Sunday to clear your mind and fill your soul. Turn on some music, grab some company and go take in some of Nebraska’s best views.

1. Hwy 385 – Gold Rush Scenic Byway
This beautiful stretch of road used to be the main transport path for gold during the gold rush. It is rumored that somewhere around $200,000 dollars worth of gold traveled this route daily in its peak. This historic route connects Sidney with Bridgeport, Alliance and Chadron. There are plenty of places to stop along the way and enjoy a cold beer, great food, and plenty of entertainment options.

2. Bridges to Buttes Scenic Byway
Looking to catch views from rolling hills to the wonders of the western Nebraska Prairie? Bridges and Buttes is the route for you. Starting in Valentine and running as far as the Wyoming border this stretch of road offers diverse opportunities for fun. Take a stop at Toadstool Geological Park for a mars like experience that is truly out of this world. The rock formations will truly show you the power Mother Nature has.

3. Loup Rivers Scenic Byway
Loup Rivers has a little bit of everything for those looking to explore new sights. Drive along the scenic Calamus Reservoir to start your adventure out with breath taking landscape. After that, take a stop at the Valley County Museum to get some history on American aviation and how women paved the way in the 1930’s. Once you have gotten your dose of history for the day, take a walk through Happy Jack Peak and Chalk Mine. These caves offer over 6,000 square feet of honeycomb caves to explore.

4. Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway
The diversity of the landscape you will find on this drive is unmatched by any other in Nebraska. One moment you will be driving through rustic sand dunes and out of nowhere will see the Nebraska National Forest on the horizon. Make this a two day trip and take a night to relax with us at the Sandhills Motel in Mullen, NE. There are many small, unique towns to stop along this route that offer fun entertainment, great eats, and cold brews.

These are just a few of the gorgeous, scenic drive options Nebraska has to offer. A full list of scenic drives can be found here. Due to COVID – 19 many have been forced to stay inside and socially distance. One way to get out of the house and have some socially distanced fun is to go out and explore nature safely. So why not go take a scenic drive and explore what this beautiful state has to offer?

Fall camping tips for the adventurous

Posted by on Aug 26, 2020 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Fall camping tips for the adventurous

 

If you’re the type that thinks the camping opportunities end with the changing of the seasons, you’re missing out on some truly unique adventures. Sure, summer camping is great. Lakes, boats, swimming, and bathing in the sun on a sandy beach are activities we support 100%! But have you ever spent a couple days off the grid, enjoying the scenery that only comes to life during the cooler fall months? You should. In fact, you should start planning that trip right now. Your soul deserves it!

We’ve put together a short list of tips you can use to make the most of your fall adventure, but the best way to get into the fall camping spirit, is to just get out there and do it. Explore, be adventurous, and enjoy a new experience. Don’t forget the warm drinks.

 

Find the Perfect Location

Location is everything when it comes to fall camping. Think about what type of activities you’re hoping to engage in on your trip, and seek out a place that offers recreational opportunities that you’ll enjoy. Nearly every city, town, state, province or region, has a social media page dedicated to people sharing their favorite spots in the area, along with ideas on how to best enjoy those areas. Join a group, ask questions, get feedback, and find your next destination!

One of the most compelling reasons to camp during the fall is the stunning fall foliage. The great outdoors comes to life during the autumn months, and can offer views that we only get during a very short window of opportunity. Depending on your location, September through October usually provides the most beautiful scenery. Use that backdrop to get the most out of your adventure, and don’t forget your camera, as the sights are something you’ll want to remember for years to come.

 

Pack the Right Gear

If you’re new to fall camping, this is especially important. The elements are much different than during the summer months, and the weather can change on a dime. Be prepared for the unexpected, and don’t be caught off guard.

Though the daytime temperatures can feel like the perfect conditions, the sun will set, and you’ll need to be ready for it. Pack a cold-weather sleeping bag that is rated for 0-30 degrees Fahrenheit. You can always layer down if you get too warm, but you don’t want to ruin your adventure by freezing through the night. Mummy bags are your best bet for keeping yourself cozy and comfortable during the sleeping hours.

Investing in a quality tent is a must, especially for fall camping. Find yourself a solid three-season tent, and be sure to include a rain fly to keep moisture out. Bringing along a couple tarps is a great idea, one to place underneath the tent, and one just in case. “Just in case” is generally a good phrase to keep in mind when packing for fall adventure!

Bring along a mix of clothing for layering. Breathable, water resistant clothing such as wool, fleece, and synthetic materials will help keep you dry and comfortably warm. Open up your closet and check these items off your list:

  • Thermal underwear
  • Fleece jacket
  • Winter cap or beanie
  • Gloves or mittens
  • Sturdy boots or all-weather shoes
  • Extra shoes and socks
  • Plenty of changes of clothes…just in case

Don’t forget your bug spray, stock up on firewood if you’ll be in one spot for the trip, and be prepared for rain. This means investing in a good backpack with a rain cover, or bringing along some plastic bags, and using water tight containers for your food items. Those tarps you remembered to bring along can be hoisted and tied above your area to provide shelter if needed.

 

Setup Your Site

Keep warmth in mind when setting up your camping site. Try to find a place that will be hit with sun during the day if possible. The warm morning sun will feel amazing shining down on you as you prepare for another day of adventure.

Hang a tarp between trees to provide some additional shelter from wind, rain, and to give yourself some shade if the daytime sun gets a little toasty. Be sure to make sure your tarp and tent are secured extra tight in case of high winds.

 

Keep Yourself Warm

There are plenty of ways to keep warm in cooler temps. Nobody enjoys being cold, and you can avoid it quite easily.

  • Layer up– Start with a base layer such as thermal underwear to keep moisture away from your skin. Add a layer for warmth, and an outer layer to keep heat from escaping.
  • Eat the carbs– Carbs and fatty foods help your internal furnace burn!
  • Sip on something hot– Bring insulated cups for hot beverages or soup, they’ll increase your body temp whenever you need.
  • Keep it moving– You’re out there for adventure, so get out and move around. A busy body is a warm body!

 

Fall camping trips are an amazing way to enjoy the Great Outdoors. With a little planning and an adventurous spirit, you may find exactly the escape you’re looking for. If stunning sunrises and sunsets are what you’re after, we hear the foothills of Mullen, Nebraska are perfect for fall camping!

Contact us for all of your daily entertainment needs from kayaking and canoeing to bird watching and river tanking. If camping isn’t your thing, our Sandhills Motel is the perfect way to get out and enjoy the beauty of fall in Nebraska while still enjoying the luxuries of home.

Essentials for Your Nebraska Tanking Adventure

Posted by on Jul 27, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on Essentials for Your Nebraska Tanking Adventure

Essentials for Your Nebraska Tanking Adventure

With Nebraska containing around 24,000 miles of rivers and streams, it’s no wonder that going on a river adventure has become such a popular pastime in our great state. Tanking in particular, which is when a group of people float down the river in a stock tank, has become the river adventure of choice among both Nebraska natives and visitors. If you’ve never been on a tanking trip, you’re in for a treat – it’s an inexpensive, safe and fun way to spend time with friends and family on the water, with lots of room to spread out, relax and enjoy the big, blue Nebraska sky. If this all sounds great to you, read our list of tanking essentials below to get an idea of what you’ll need to start planning your own tanking excursion during your Nebraska vacation!

  • Sense of adventure. This one is arguably the most important thing you could bring, especially since we provide all of your tanking equipment, including lifejackets. Every tanking trip is a little different and presents different opportunities to view area wildlife, making every journey a once-in-a-lifetime venture that you’ll look back on fondly for years to come.
  • Great company. This is the perfect time to grab your favorite people for a bonding experience unlike any other!
  • Make sure to regularly apply sunscreen throughout your trip so you don’t end up spending the rest of your vacation sunburned and miserable.
  • Card games, magnetic board games, charades – whatever games you choose are bound to be even more enjoyable while you float on down the river!
  • A great thing about going down the river in a tank is that there is plenty of room for a cooler, and we recommend making sure you load up on cold beverages and tasty treats for your venture! Our tanking trips last anywhere from 2-6 hours, so packing some food is a must if you don’t want your stomach grumbling by the end!
  • A good book. If you and your crew plan on taking a relaxing, quiet trip, unwinding with a book is a great way to spend part of your journey.

Add a tanking adventure to your itinerary for your next Nebraska vacation, you’ll be glad you did! Whether you’re looking for some fun or to relax, you’ll find what you’re searching for during our tanking tour. The Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental is your one-stop destination for river fun during your vacation, simply give us a call at (308) 546-2206 to plan your visit! We hope to see you soon!

The 13th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race

Posted by on Feb 5, 2020 in Blog | Comments Off on The 13th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race

The 13th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race

Are you ready for another winter celebration full of friendly competition, food and friends? Then get ready for the 13th annual Polar Bear Tank Race! Festivities kick off Friday, March 6, and it’s the perfect way to say goodbye to the winter blues and enjoy a weekend of adventure, laughter and good old-fashioned rivalries on the river.

If you’ve never been tanking before, then this is a great opportunity to find out what all the fuss is about! During the summer months, tanking is a wildly popular and relaxing way to beat the summer heat. Floating down the Middle Loup River in a big round metal stock tank, enjoying the beautiful landscape and scenery while sharing a few cold beverages with friends, is a fantastic way to spend the day.

You can do all that during our annual gathering of tank racers, just be prepared to see teams of diehard tanking fans race past you as they holler out their battle cries and go full steam towards the finish line! The Polar Bear Tank Race is a timed event, and excessive decorations are encouraged, both on the tank and yourselves, so bring your creativity. Your team’s tank decorations must be completed while racing down the river, and prizes for most creative themes and tanks will be awarded.

This annual event is awesome in every way possible, and benefits the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway through awareness and charitable contributions. Get your friends, make a game plan, and go for gold during the big race on March 7, 2020!

Registration Information:

  • Must be 21 to enter
  • There is a non-refundable $200 registration fee per person
  • A minimum of four people are required for each tank racing team
  • When registering your team, please submit a team name. If a name is not submitted, the team name will be the last name of the team captain or registrant

Registration Includes:

  • One racing tank per team
  • One life jacket, paddle, and Polar Bear Tank Race t-shirt for each participant
  • Two nights of accommodations (double occupancy) on March 6-7 in Thedford or Mullen
  • Welcome reception and soup cook-off
  • Breakfast before the race
  • Polar Bear Tank Race
  • Lunch following the race
  • Polar Bear Tank Race Awards Banquet – prime rib dinner
  • Team trophies for the top 3 men’s and women’s teams

Once your registration is received, you will be sent a complete informational packet that includes maps, lodging details and a complete schedule of events.

2019 Polar Bear Tank Race Agenda:

(All times are in Mountain Time)

Friday, March 6th

  • 4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.

Registration of Teams & Welcome Reception

Location: Mullen Event Center, fairgrounds west of Mullen on the north side of Highway 2.

You must attend the registration and the welcome reception in order to be a qualified racing team.

  • 5:00 p.m.

Soup Cook-Off

Various soups from Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Communities will be available to sample.

Directly after the soup cook-off, there will be a drawing to determine race departure times.

Saturday, March 7th

  • 8:00 a.m.

Meet in Mullen for Breakfast

Location: Mullen Event Center

After breakfast, transportation will be provided to the launch site on the Middle Loup River.

  • 9:00 a.m.

First Bus Leaves Mullen, Race Begins

The tanks will be launched in short intervals according to the draw order.

Transportation is conveniently provided for travel from the finish line back to the Mullen Event Center.

  • 5:00 p.m.

12th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race Awards Banquet

Location: Mullen Event Center

So, get the gang together, and make plans to attend the 13th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race, the ultimate in winter warrior extreme sports! And just a really, really good time.

To stay up on the latest Polar Bear Tank Race news, visit the Sandhills Journey event page.