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Winter Camping Tips

Posted by on Nov 30, 2016 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Winter Camping Tips

Camping is one of summer’s greatest activities for families to partake in. While summer is the best time to camp due to the warm weather, it doesn’t have to end when the weather starts to turn cold. Winter camping is possible and can be quite enjoyable, if done right. Here are a few winter camping tips to help you not only survive your first winter camping trip, but also enjoy it.

Pack the snow
It is crucial that you pack the snow as you start to set up camp. Walk around where you’d like to set your camp and as you walk hard, stomp the snow to pack it down. If you do not do this simple winter camping tip, you run the risk of stepping on a soft spot in the snow through your tent and ripping a hole in the tent.

Pack extra clothes
This winter camping tip may seem a little obvious, but having extra clothes, hats, and gloves to keep you warm will save in the long run. Pack extra socks so your feet stay dry at all times, and extra shirts and even leggings so you can layer your clothes to stay warm.

Learn to pee into a bottle
One of the best winter camping tips we can give is to learn how, and embrace the idea, of peeing into a bottle. When it’s colder out, your body tends to pee more, and undressing and getting out of your warm sleeping bag to pee in the night is not fun, so properly label a bottle that can be designated as your pee bottle so you don’t have to go outside as often. Just make sure it’s properly labeled as color can’t always be trusted to differentiate between that and your drinking bottle.

Use a sleeping pad
Your body loses a lot of heat while you’re sleeping and especially through the cold ground. Having two layers underneath you to the one on top of you will help keep you warmer at night, which is a lifesaving winter camping tip. Be sure to pack a proper sleeping pad, one that has an R value of four or more, and if you have one, throw a closed-cell foam pad underneath. You can also pack clothes underneath you for extra warmth.

Sleep by candlelight
Sleeping under the stars is great in the summer, but in the winter, sleeping by candlelight becomes crucial. Having a candle burning lantern hanging in your tent will help to not only warm up your tent, but also reduce condensation on the inside of the tent. Be sure to hang it far enough away from you and the tent walls to reduce fire risk.

Camping in the summer is always a family favorite, but camping in the winter is not for the faint-hearted, so be sure to take the proper steps to ensure a safe and enjoyable winter camping trip.

Camping and RV in Nebraska: Tips for Winterizing Your Motor Home

Posted by on Oct 10, 2016 in Blog, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Camping and RV in Nebraska: Tips for Winterizing Your Motor Home

camping and RV | motorhomeAs the warmer months give way to fall and winter, the camping and RV season starts to wind down.  While fall and winter camping are both fun activities, it’s essential that you take proper care of your motor home.  Properly winterizing your motor home not only prolongs its longevity, it’s a necessary part of being a motor home owner and a camping and RV enthusiast.  Winterizing your motor home will help for preparation in the spring when you’re ready for another season of camping and RV adventures.  We’ve got some tips and tricks to help you with your motor home winterization process.

A vital part of winterizing your motor home is protecting the RV water system from potential damage that can be caused by exposure to freezing temperatures. Frozen and damaged water lines are the one of the most common problems related to not winterizing your motor home.

Cut the Fuel

If your motor home is equipped with a generator, you’ll need to drain it of fuel.  If you don’t, the fuel can turn to lacquer over the months, and they will plug the jets in the carburetor. You can save yourself a sizable repair bill if you drain the fuel over the winter.  Installing a fuel shut-off valve will allow to run the generator until it quits from lack of fuel.  Make sure you push the kill switch after it stops running.  Otherwise, some generators that have an electric fuel pump will run as long as the button is in the ON position.

Kill the Power

Some RV trailers might only have one battery, while some motor homes may have more.  For a single battery, simply disconnect it and store it in a warm, protected environment.  Make sure the water level is sufficient and that the battery is fully charged, then put it in a safe place.  Don’t set the battery directly on a concrete floor because it will allow it to slowly drain.  If you’re storing it in a garage or shed, put it on a piece of plywood.

If your motor home is equipped with multiple batteries and a battery disconnect system, you can prepare your batteries as stated and turn off the disconnect.  Don’t forget to remove all of the small batteries in your motor home as well.  They can freeze, leak, and become destroyed.  Remove the batteries from TV remotes, smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and don’t forget the clock on the wall.

Clear the Shelves

Remove all of the food items in your motor home including boxed dry goods and canned goods.  Cans can freeze and split, and dry goods will keep winter rodents fat and happy.  Keeping your motor home free of mice can be a real problem.  They will chew up fabric or insulation to make nests, and they can damage wiring and other non-food related items as well.  Setting a good multiple-catch mouse trap will keep your motor home secure from the little four-legged intruders.

Wash and Cover

Any dirt, grime, or road chemicals that aren’t removed from the exterior of your motor home will continue to rust, dissolve, or discolor the finish over the winter months.  This will quickly age your RV and spoil that shiny new look.  Give your motor home a nice clean wash before your begin the process and invest in a good motor home cover to protect it from harsher elements.

Draw the Shades

Prolonged sun exposure can also damage the interior of your motor home and cause fabrics to become brittle, plastic to yellow, and carpeting to fade inside of your motor home.  Prevent this by lowering the shades, covering the windshield and windows, and doing whatever you can to keep direct sunlight from entering your motor home.  Make sure all of the windows are closed and latched, and that the roof vents are closed tight.  Unlike rain, snow will blow around and even with vent covers, it will get in through any opening.

Keep it Oiled

Motor homes need a little more attention than RV trailers.  The most critical thing is to make sure your engine coolant is protected from below-zero temperatures.  Any plain water you may have added over the summer will dilute the mixture, raising the temperature at which your coolant will freeze.  It needs to be protected at least to -30 degrees Fahrenheit.  Fall is a good time to service your motor home with oil changes and chassis lubrication.  A quick oil change will remove any impurities that might be lingering in your old oil.  Additives break down, and acids build up.  By doing your servicing in the fall, once those first warm days of spring return you’ll be ready to go.  Topping off the fuel tank will also prevent condensation from forming in the tank.  Moisture leads to rust and corrosion which can plug fuel filters and fuel systems.

Keep it Pumped

Keep your motor home tires properly inflated.  If your motor home sits for months with under-inflated tires, flat spots can develop.  Worse still, if allowed to go flat, the sidewalls will develop cracks and cause weak spots.  Constant sun exposure will also cause the tires to rot, so be sure to install tire covers for your motor home.

Flush it out

Camping and RV enthusiasts know that the plumbing system in your motor home is the most vulnerable system caused by freezing temperatures.   Camping and RV enthusiasts know that it’s also very easy to protect the motor home’s water system from the elements.  It should go without saying, but make sure you drain all of the water from your motor home.  Flush it out completely with an air compressor and then pump anti-freeze through your motor home’s plumbing system.  This will protect your motor home’s plumbing system from an expensive disaster.

Properly winterizing your motor home means that you’ll be reading to go for all your camping and RV adventures in Nebraska next year.  The Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental is your Nebraska Sandhills camping and RV vacation destination.  To make your reservations your next camping and RV adventure in Nebraska, give us a call at (308) 546-2206 or contact us online.  Don’t forget to Like Us on Facebook to stay updated on all things Sandhills Motel!

Why Fall Camping in the Nebraska Sandhills is Fantastic

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Blog, Relaxing Accommodations, Sandhills Motel | Comments Off on Why Fall Camping in the Nebraska Sandhills is Fantastic

Fall Camping in NebraskaAs the hot days of summer turn to the cooler days of fall, camping and the way we camp, changes pretty dramatically.  Mornings are chilly, the days are moderate and perfect for hiking.  Warm comfort food from a dutch oven refuels us with a renewed sense of vigor and warmth.  These things combine to make fall camping in Nebraska a must for any outdoors enthusiast.  Not only are the Nebraska Sandhills beautiful during the summer, they’re equally beautiful during the fall.  Not convinced?  We’ve got several reasons why fall camping in Nebraska to stay in camping mode well into the fall.

The Scenery

Ah, fall.  The colors start changing to create a beautiful collage of deep shades of red, yellow, orange, and brown.  In almost all areas of the country, these stunning colors take over the foliage during the fall season.  The Nebraska Sandhills are no exception, which makes it a picturesque time to go camping.  While the lush green of summer camping is always a pleasant view, there’s nothing quite like waking up to a palate of colored leaves on a chilly morning during a fall camping trip in Nebraska.

The Weather

Watch a sun rise as your warm coffee or cocoa quietly seeps steam in to the crisp morning air.  The smell of bacon and eggs teasing your stomach in anticipation for the day’s events.  Through tired eyes you watch the sun crest in the east as you clutch your warm mug, steam rising into the fresh morning air. With the right clothes and gear, these temperatures make fall camping in Nebraska more comfortable than in the summer heat.

Less Bugs

Summer brings a lot of fun.  Good weather, warm nights, great memories with friends and families, and bugs.  One of the benefits of fall camping in Nebraska is that the bugs aren’t nearly as plentiful.  However, the chilly fall temperatures chase the usual overflow of bugs to a warmer climate. This is good for wooded campsites, which are often flooded with mosquitos and nagging insects.  Cooler temperatures means less bugs, which means less bug spray and a more comfortable Nebraska Sandhills experience.  Just remember to keep bug spray packed, just in case.

Fall Camping Food

Cool weather makes comfort food a campsite staple. Cast iron skillets and dutch ovens will become your best friend during the chilly mornings and nights.  Many of these recipes are good comfort foods that are high in protein, which means you’re body will be fueled up for a full day of adventure during your fall camping trip in the Nebraska Sandhills.

A Good Night’s Sleep

Sharing a small sleeping space in a hot tent during the summer can make your camping trip unbearable. During the fall, however, sleeping is more comfortable during the cool fall nights. Snuggle up with your little ones or significant other for a long, restful sleep under the stars and breathe in the cool autumn Nebraska Sandhills air.

Different Activities

The fall season is full of an array of different camping activities.  While fall used to be a time to slow down from the summer events, many people are finding fall events that are just as fun as summer events.   When you go fall camping in Nebraska, keep an eye out for events like:

  • Apple picking
  • Pumpkin picking and carving
  • Local harvest festivals like Oktoberfest
  • Halloween events
  • Fall fishing derbies

Fewer Crowds

One of the unexpected pleasures of going camping is meeting new people.  However, busy campgrounds can be a bit overwhelming.  Additionally, one of the best parts about camping is the quiet seclusion you experience when you go.  People are less inclined to go fall camping during the school year.  This means that you can enjoy having fewer neighbors and less crowded hiking trails during your fall camping trip in Nebraska.

Fall camping in Nebraska is a fun and relaxing vacation for you and your family.  The Nebraska Sandhills are home to some of the most scenic views you’ll find, and fall camping in Nebraska is an experience you won’t forget.  The Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental offers your perfect escape to go fall camping in Nebraska.  Give us a call at (308) 546-2206 or contact us here. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook, and we hope to see you soon!

Camping and Canoeing in Nebraska: A Brief History of the Canoe

Posted by on Aug 19, 2016 in Blog, Canoeing, Dismal River Trips, Middle Loup River Trips | Comments Off on Camping and Canoeing in Nebraska: A Brief History of the Canoe

This river is in Ohio. I didn't need the paddle very much. The sun was warm and the water was clean and cool.

During your camping trip in Nebraska, there are many outdoor activities you can enjoy.  Whether hiking, floating down the river in a stock tank, or canoeing in Nebraska, you’re sure to find an activity that Canoeing in Nebraska is one of the most relaxing ways to spend some time to yourself and take in the beautiful scenery.  Over the years, the canoe has evolved from a mode of transportation, trade, and even war into more of a leisure vehicle.

Wherever there’s water, there’s an indigenous watercraft. Usually, this comes in the form a canoe.  Although somewhat primitive, canoes are elegantly constructed and can range from 3 meters to 30 meters in length.  Throughout history, canoes have been made from logs, animal skins and tree bark.

Depending on its intended use and where it was built, the design of the original canoe varied.  Some canoes were open-topped bark canoes.  Others, like war canoes, were composed of a dug-out tree that reached to 130 feet!  The main difference between canoes and kayaks, in the beginning, was that kayaks were built so that the icy Arctic water did not enter the boat.  Kayaks were made by stretching animal skins over a wooden frame and could generally only carry one man at a time.  Kayaks most likely originated in Greenland where they were used by early Eskimos.  Canoes however, have been found all over the world.

Canoes were used on a much wider scale than kayaks.  From Native American tribes to the Polynesians, the canoe enjoyed a variety of scales and uses, primarily transport, trade, and warfare. Today, though, canoes have evolved into many different types.

Recreational Canoe

The typical recreational canoes are what many people use while canoeing in Nebraska.  These canoes are stable and durable. They are generally made of either plastic or aluminum and contain no frills. If you want a versatile canoe that you can paddle around the local lake or down the river, you’ll want to choose a recreational canoe. These canoes are durable and can be left outside without worry for damage.

Minnesota lake

Intermediate and Advanced Canoes

The next type of canoe is an upgrade from the standard recreational canoe. They differ in the quality and workmanship of the boats from their less expensive cousins. Canoe enthusiasts will invariably want to upgrade from a plastic or aluminum canoe and the designs that usually follow. Intermediate canoes are used for longer paddles, bird watching, and fishing. These are the canoes of canoe enthusiasts.

Whitewater Canoes

There are canoes made specifically for whitewater and river paddling.  These boats have high sides to keep water out and have a high degree of rocker. Rocker refers to the curvature from bow to stern. They also have flatter bottoms which enable them to turn quicker but adversely affects the tracking, or the ability to paddle straight.

Racing Canoes

Canoeing and Kayaking have officially been an Olympic Sport since 1924. There are two types of canoe racing, flatwater and slalom (whitewater). Racing Canoes are for an elite group of canoeists and as such are not very common at all. These canoes are made of lighter materials such as fiberglass, Kevlar, and composites involving multiple materials. Racing canoes are also narrower at the beam, track very well, and are “tippy” to novice paddlers.

Canoes have come a long way over the years.  Many visitors who come camping in Nebraska find that spending time on the river is the perfect way to relax and have some peace and quiet.  Whether kayaking, tubing, tanking, or canoeing in Nebraska, you’re sure to enjoy the beautiful scenery.  Camping in Nebraska is even better with us! The Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental offers your perfect escape to go canoeing in Nebraska.  Give us a call at (308) 546-2206 or contact us here. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook, and we hope to see you soon!

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Things to do on Your River Tanking Adventure during your Nebraska Vacation

Posted by on Jul 11, 2016 in Blog, Dismal River Trips, Middle Loup River Trips, River Adventures | Comments Off on Things to do on Your River Tanking Adventure during your Nebraska Vacation

Nebraska Vacation | River TankingRiver tanking is one of Nebraska’s favorite pastimes.  What is river tanking?  It’s simple.  We take a stock tank, load you, your friends and your family up in one and float it down the river!  Over the last few years, river tanking (tanking, stock tank floating, stock tanking, etc.) has become an extremely popular way for friends and family to spend some quality time during their Nebraska vacation to take in and enjoy the beautiful landscape.+

According to the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality, Nebraska has approximately 24,000 miles of flowing rivers and streams and about 430 square miles of lakes and carried on throughout the state on the many shallow and slow-flowing streams.  These shallow, slow-flowing streams provide the perfect outlet to go river tanking and lazily float along under the big, blue Nebraska sky.  There are plenty of activities that you and your friends or family can take part in while enjoying the ride.  Here are just a few.

Relax – Tanking isn’t meant to be a high-adrenaline experience.  As your river tanking party mosies down the river, take the time to take in the beautiful, vast Nebraska landscape.  Use the time to listen to the sound of the winding river and the breeze as it makes its way through the tall grass.  Take in the bright sun and big, blue sky and enjoy the peace and quiet.  River tanking can be a truly rejuvenating experience for the mind, body, and soul.

Have Fun – There’s a reason river tanking has become so popular over the last few years.  It’s because people have so much fun doing it!  Bring a deck of cards or two and play some of your favorite card games with your family.  Magnetic board games aren’t just great for your Nebraska vacation, but they’re also really useful when floating down the river on your river tanking trip.

Bring a Book – What better time to catch up on your reading than while river tanking in Nebraska?  Bring a good book with you to help you relax and unwind a little bit.  The peace and quiet of the Nebraska landscape is the perfect opportunity for you to completely immerse yourself in whichever thrilling novel you’re currently reading.

Bring Snacks – River tanking can be a long adventure, so be sure you have plenty of fuel to keep you and your family prepared for whatever other activities you have planned for the day.  One of the nice things about river tanking on your Nebraska vacation is that you can keep your beverage and food cooler in the tank and still have plenty of room.

River tanking on your Nebraska vacation is a fun time for the whole family, and the Sandhills of Nebraska are a great place for your Nebraska vacation and river tanking fun!  Come unwind on one of our river tanking tours.  We provide the tanks, all you have to do is show up and be ready to have some fun!  The Sandhills Motel & Glidden Canoe Rental offers your perfect escape to enjoy your Nebraska vacation for your river tanking trips. Give us a call at (308) 546-2206 or contact us here. Don’t forget to Like us on Facebook, and we hope to see you soon!

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Are tents a thing of the past? New camping styles for your next trip.

Posted by on Jun 6, 2016 in Blog, Relaxing Accommodations | Comments Off on Are tents a thing of the past? New camping styles for your next trip.

Tents are seen as the traditional way to spend the night in the middle of nowhere, but are they becoming a pastime? As camping becomes more popular, people are finding new camping styles to get the most out of the fresh air. RV dealerships are starting to take off as well as campers that New Camping Styles | Great Outdoorsattach to vehicles. Campgrounds that offer lodges or cabins have become more popular for those who want to experience what the great outdoors has to offer without weathering the elements. With these new camping styles placed in your head, here’s a list on all the new ways you can experience the great outdoors on your next camping trip.

RVs/Travel Trailers/Campers

Recreational vehicles (or RVs for short) are great for those who pack too much for a tent. RVs are spacious and equipped with places to cook, sleep and relax. It’s an easy way to travel the great outdoors for those who are making a long trek and want the ability to travel at any pace that they choose. It’s a stress-free way to explore new places and create family memories. For those who enjoy camping but don’t want to give up on the amenities (ahem, bathrooms) that they’re used to, RVs are an ideal option to enjoy what the great outdoors has to offer.

Travel trailers/campers are similar to RVs, but require a vehicle to tow them. Trucks tend to be a requirement to haul these types of campers around. They can be easier for those who want to keep their spot at a campground but still have freedom to roam around the great outdoors. Trailers and campers can be compared to RVs for amenities, but may not have the same amount of room inside.

Lodges/cabins

Lodges and cabins are new camping styles that offer plenty of amenities for travelers looking for an easy way to explore the great outdoors. Some campgrounds (like Sandhills Motel) have rooms for people to rent if they prefer packing a little lighter than those driving in an RV. Since the area is already set up, time and energy are preserved for more entertaining things in the great outdoors, like hiking or canoeing. Lodges and cabins provide better shelter from the elements than a tent. However, these buildings can fill up quickly from those who want a quick, easy vacation. Open rooms can be scarce, so booking in advance is the best option for those who want a hassle free way to enjoy the great outdoors. Our motel is located in town and our cabins are at the motel with other rooms.

Unique accommodations

“Glamping” has become a new term in the travel world that can be defined as glamorous camping. It’s various new camping styles offer ways to experience rest and relaxation in the great outdoors in extremely unique housing. For example, yurts are large, round tents that use specific framework to hold their form. They can range in size from an office to a small family home. This type of shelter has a low ecological footprint and can provide stable shelter for long periods of time. They can be expensive, but there are places that offer this type of “tent” for rent. Teepees have been around for centuries and have been modernized to help ensure each guest is comfortable while experiencing the great outdoors. Although there are available options for building your own teepee, there are plenty of campgrounds that offer some to rent. Tree houses have become the most popular type of way to go glamping. Modern architects have designed tree houses to be placed all over the world to provide new camping styles suitable for all ages. This gives travelers a different way to experience the great outdoors around the world without having to stay in a hotel every time. It’s also a fun way to get in touch with your inner child.

Not all of the new camping styles are for everyone, so find the one that suits you the best and stick with it. If you feel like trying something new, there are plenty of options out there to face the great outdoors. Camping in Nebraska can be a fun and easy way to accommodate everyone in a relaxing manner. At Sandhills Motel, motel rooms are available along with spots for RV and tent camping. For more information, call 308-546-2206 or visit our website to make your reservation today.

We’ve got RV Camping Tips for Your Cross-Country Road Trip

Posted by on May 6, 2016 in Blog, Relaxing Accommodations, Sandhills Motel | Comments Off on We’ve got RV Camping Tips for Your Cross-Country Road Trip

Whether it’s penned in a journal, fastened to the fridge with a magnet, or logged safely away in your memory bank, chances are good that you’ve RV Campingdevised for yourself a list of things you’d like to see and do while here on earth.  Do you want to travel abroad and experience unfamiliar cultures? Or maybe you’d like witness the broad and diverse countryside of the United States.

A cross-country road trip is a dream shared by many. Each and every summer, we see travelers from all across the country.  It’s not surprising either, the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway is one of the top ten drives in the country!  If a cross-country road trip graces the bulleted items on your bucket list, we’ve got the RV camping tips and tricks to help you out.

In the spirit of “list making,” here’s an RV camping trip planner list to help guide you towards realizing the trip of your wildest imaginings:

Set Dates. When you pick the dates of your RV camping, cross-country road trip, scribble them on your calendar and request the appropriate time off from work.  You’re making a personal commitment to the adventure at-hand. Good for you! You’ve taken a huge step towards making your travel goals happen.

Figure your Finances. Do you need to rent or buy an RV? How much gas will it take to get you from home base to your final destination, and back again? What’s your “per diem” for food, drink, entertainment, necessities, etc.? Planning for these contingencies is an important part of your overall RV camping trip or your cross-country road trip.

Explore RV Trip Routes. There is so much to see and do in this great stretch of city, prairie, and wilderness between the Atlantic and the Pacific. Where you can go and what you can see are determined by how much time and money you can dedicate to your adventure.

Get Yourself Some Wheels! Choosing an RV for your cross-country road trip is like choosing a summer home. Make sure it’s comfortable and spacious enough to accommodate all of your travelers. RVs can either be rented or purchased, new or used. Prepare yourself for the “RV hunt” by making a list of must-haves before hitting lots and test-driving vehicles. Necessary amenities include a bathroom, kitchen, sitting room, and plenty of sleeping and storage space.

Stock your RV. While you’re out sniffing for the perfect mobile summer home, start making an RV camping trip master list of all of the necessities you’ll need to pack on board to get you through the voyage. This includes clothing, toiletries, onboard food and drink, activities for long driving stretches, etc.

Go! All too often, we find ourselves bogged down by the everyday grind, wishing that we were in a position to just get up and go! Kiss reality goodbye for the time being and spend some time taking in life from a different perspective—from the road!

If you decide to strike out and tour the country, make sure the beautiful Sandhills of Nebraska are on your list. We hope you’ll come visit us at the Sandhills Motel and tell us about all you’ve seen while on the road. With clean, comfortable rooms, RV camping sites, tent camping sites, canoeing, kayaking, and tanking (Nebraska’s favorite pastime) available, we’ve got just the relaxation you’re looking for.  Give us a call at 308-546-2206 or contact us to make your reservation today!

Camping in Nebraska: Essential Spring Camping Trips

Posted by on Apr 6, 2016 in Blog | Comments Off on Camping in Nebraska: Essential Spring Camping Trips

There’s nothing better than camping in Nebraska.  The wide open spaces and the beautiful landscape all come together to make a truly beautiful camping experience.  Spring is here and, while there still may be a few months before summer camping season picks up, we’ve got some spring camping tips to help for you and your family for your next camping trip in Nebraska.

Pack Warm Clothes

After being cooped up all winter, it’s nice to get outdoors, breathe in the fresh air and spend some time reconnecting with nature.  It’s refreshing to

Camping in Nebraska is a blast.

When camping in Nebraska, make sure you’ve got the right supplies.

spend a day outside in 60-degree weather.  It’s also not warm enough yet to stay in your shorts and t-shirt past sunset.  Not only that, it is still spring.  Rainstorms are generally cooler than they are in the summer, and there’s always an off chance for a light snowfall.  Take our advice to heart and pack some warm clothes.  Jackets, long-sleeved shirts, and wool caps are all essential clothing supplies to take with you on your spring camping trip in Nebraska.

Stay Dry

It’s such a wonderful feeling waking up to hear the rain gently falling on your tent.  You feel nice, dry, and cozy, and it can be a truly amazing experience.  Once you realize it’s raining, the doubt can creep in and you might be wonder exactly how much longer you’ll be dry and cozy.  Nobody wants to be soaked after the sun goes down.  Spring camping tips also mean tips on how to stay dry, so do these simple things to stay dry during you camping trip in Nebraska:

  • Set up a tarp over your tent. This means a big tarp, and hopefully one with grommets in it at several points.  Tie it off tightly to the trees so the center forms a peak and the sides slope down, like the roof of a house.
  • Also, put a tarp under your tent for protection against the cold and wet.
  • Sleep on foam pads, not directly on the tent floor.  That’s for warmth as much as for dryness.
  • Pack rain gear like rain jackets or ponchos, rain pants and boots.

 Plan for Bugs

One of the many nice things about spring camping is that the mosquitos aren’t out in full force yet.  It’s not just mosquitoes either, many bugs won’t be out for a while yet.  However, it’s a good idea to bring some insect repellent just in case.

Bring the Sunscreen

Just because it’s not 70 or 80 degrees out doesn’t mean the sun isn’t shining.  Depending on how much hiking you’re going to be doing, or how exposed to the sun you are, you still need to protect your skin from the sun.  Many people don’t include this in their spring camping tips, but it’s still extremely important.

Normal Camping Supplies

First aid kit, flashlight, local map…these are all things that you’ll need to pack.  In fact, they’re just as important, if not more so, than summer camping.  Spring camping means there will be less people around than there typically are during the summer camping months.  Another spring camping tip that many people forget to mention is to be aware of any wildlife that may be coming out of hibernation.  While chances are slim that you’ll come across any dangerous wildlife, you should make sure your food is secured away from your campsite in an airtight container.  This will keep it dry, fresh, and keep the scent of the food to a minimum for any animal waking up from their winter nap and hungry for a snack.

Camping in Nebraska can be a treat for you and your family.  These spring camping tips will help you enjoy your camping trip and allow you to relax and enjoy nature to the fullest.  At Sandhills Motel, we’ve got motel rooms, RV camping, and tent camping all ready for you and your family.  Give us a call at 308-546-2206 or contact us to make your reservation today!

The Sharptail Grouse and Prairie Chicken Mating Ritual Nebraska’s Birding Event of the Year

Posted by on Mar 10, 2016 in Bird Watching, Blog, Relaxing Accommodations | Comments Off on The Sharptail Grouse and Prairie Chicken Mating Ritual Nebraska’s Birding Event of the Year

Nebraska’s Sandhills are one of the strongholds left for the prairie grouse in North America. The Sharptail Grouse and Prairie Chickens, inhabit theSharp-tailed Grouse majestic, ancient dunes of Nebraska. Every spring, visitors and birding enthusiasts alike are in for a treat as they witness the mating ritual of these beautiful birds.

Sharptail grouse, which have pointed tails, feathered feet, and brown v-shaped markings on their overall whiter feathers, are more widespread than their prairie chicken cousins. Sharptails range from western Nebraska, throughout the Dakotas, Montana, and prairie Canada, all the way up to Alaska.

Prairie chickens, on the other hand, sport squared-off tails, bare chicken-like feet, and darker, brown-barred feathers, have a more limited range. Their territory has shrunken to portions of Kansas, where populations are struggling, central South Dakota, where numbers are limited, and Nebraska.

Each spring, the Sandhills of Nebraska plays host to thousands of birding enthusiasts and tourists who are treated the grassland mating dance between the Sharptail Grouse and Prairie Chickens. The amazing energy of the event and the pure spectacle of nature up close makes birding enthusiasts and visitors go out of their way to get an up close and personal look at this amazing display of nature. This ritual has been covered by media from the east and west side of the country and is a wonderful life experience.

Birding enthusiasts and visitors alike are amazed to watch a ritual charged with a display of gobbling, hooting, dancing, strutting, and inflating air sacs. The grassland dance is a “must see” ritual that avid birding enthusiasts, tourists, and those new to the birding world.

On an area called a lek, the male birds stake their ground. This is where they intimidate other males and attract the hens. The males show off their dancing, booming, and strutting skills to attract the attention of the females. This also acts as a signal for other males to move on. The ritual has evolved over time to ensure the survival of the species, which is why you’ll see food stomping, erect tail feathers, and inflating neck sacs. It’s all part of a delicate ritual that’s truly a sight to see.

As any birding enthusiast knows, having this special ritual take place in a central, accessible location is an additional treat. The area is monitored during the dance to prevent viewers from disrupting the activity, but the fact that viewing this spectacular event is easy means that you won’t have to go on any dangerous treks to see it. Even the local economy has developed around this ritual, while tours and lodging are widely available.

Millions of birds migraPrairie Chickente through the Sandhills of Nebraska, even though the Sandhills themselves only cover about 20,000 square miles of grassland. The birds migrate by using North Central Flyway, which stretches through the middle of the country from North Dakota to Texas. The North Central Flyway is one of the four major flyways in the United States. Each flyway stretches from north to south and offers migratory species the food, water, shelter and habitable land needed for the winter feeding and summer breeding for many species.

Birding in the Nebraska Sandhills can be a truly amazing experience. Being able to view the mating ritual between the Sharptail Grouse and Priarie Chicken is a “must see” event that you don’t want to miss out on. Don’t miss the chance to discover this truly incredible act of nature in Nebraska Sandhills this spring. Visit our website, or give us a call at (308) 546-2206 to find out more information. Like Us on Facebook to stay up to date for all your Nebraska Sandhills fun!

Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Gets a Boost from the 9th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race

Posted by on Feb 19, 2016 in Bird Watching, Blog, Dismal River Trips, Middle Loup River Trips, Polar Bear Tank Race | Comments Off on Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway Gets a Boost from the 9th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race

The Nebraska Sandhills roll gently across the Ogallala Aquifer. They provide us with an ever-changing backdrop for scores of wildlife and millions of birds that traverse the North American Central Flyway every year, including the Sandhills Crane, Sharptail Grouse, and Prairie Chicken. Springtime is approaching and it is nearly time for the annual spring migrationSandhills Journey Scenic Byway of the Sandhill Crane. A natural wonder in and of itself, it’s something that everyone should see in their lifetime.  You’ll can experience all of these things on the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway, the most popular route through the Sandhills of Nebraska.

Extending from Alliance, NE all the way down to Grand Island, NE, the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway provides a beautiful and majestic backdrop for you and your family as you travel across Nebraska. The drive gives you a chance to experience incredible starry nights that you only see in your dreams. You’ll see historic towns and villages, meandering rivers, and the history of pioneers and the plains. You’ll find it all along the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway.

The Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway is rated in the top 12 scenic routes in the United States by Marketwatch.com and is listed as one of the highways to drive in 1,000 Places to See Before You Die. These are both pretty big claims, but we do love our Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway. We want others to experience the beauty and wonder that we all know, love, and are accustomed to. Every winter, we work with the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway to put on our Polar Bear Tank Race.

This year will be the 9th Annual Polar Bear Tank race and we’re just as excited for it as we have been in the past. See, the people that live along this byway have worked hard and created some really cool American hidden treasures that you won’t find anywhere else.

What is a Polar Bear Tank Race? To the uninitiated, it’s fairly simply. Tanking involves loading up some friends into a stock tank and float down the Dismal or Middle Loup Rivers. It’s a favorite pastime in Nebraska, and we love it! The Polar Bear Tank Race takes tanking to a new level. Not only are you and your friends out tanking, but you’re also racing to the finish line in late-winter temperatures. It’s a fun test of mettle that helps raise awareness for our beloved Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway.

Help us raise awareness for the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway and spread the word about the beautiful landscape and treasures that Nebraska has to offer. We still have spots open! Get your team together and get ready for the 9th Annual Polar Bear Tank Race! For more information you can visit the Sandhills Journey Scenic Byway’s website. If you have any questions, please feel free to call 308-546-2206 for more information. Don’t forget to Like Us on Facebook to stay up-to-date on all of the latest Sandhills fun!