We couldn't have asked for a better place to go and hang while we wait for our next job to "come to us". We found Lake McConaughy by looking at the Road Atlas for the nearest big body of water, with little tents around it. Lake McConaughy fit the bill, and then Joey remembered the mechanic in Ogallala from last year, when the bus broke down while he was picking it up after just buying it, telling him about this exact lake. The guy couldn't say enough good things about it, and Joey had always wanted to check it out, so we were very excited to get there. We've seen plenty of midwestern lakes, but we never expected to find what we did. It was Hawaii in the middle of Nebraska! We couldn't believe the white sand beaches, and so much of it, it was beautiful..to say the least. We first see the lake while going over the dam.
Lake McConaughy is on the left, while Lake Ogallala is on the right. The later lake was formed when all the dirt was dug up to build the dam, and is now a quiet little fishing lake with camping and lots of shade trees. This being our first time we went for the grand daddy lake, Big Mac.
We pulled in on Sunday afternoon, and after checking out both campgrounds with electricity we found our perfect spot, overlooking the land and the lake.
Most visitors to the lake camp right on the beach
Or under trees between the road and the beach, but the bus was way too heavy to even attempt it, plus the fridge stopped working on propane so we have to have electricty to run it, and with the heat, the A/C sure was nice. Not that we were ever in the bus anyway, but the campground also had a playground so every night the kids enjoyed the rare opportunity of playing with the dozens of other kids, so the RV park was worth it.
At the beach we enjoyed watching the many windsurfers,
kitesurfers and even a parasailer being pulled by a Jeep.
The next day I had to go into Ogallala for groceries, and to do laundry. Joey called the recruiter for one of the companies he works for but she's out until after the Fourth and according to her assistant the nearest job for him is in Wisconsin. So since it is a holiday week, and he most likely won't get sent anywhere right away we go ahead and pay for the whole week. Nothing but sand, sun and itty bitty surf..oh yeah.
After four days of sun in Flaming Gorge and six days on Big Mac you'd think we'd all be fried to a crisp, but nope, not one sunburn. Some days we would hike our tent down to the beach so we would get a break from the sun, and one day, from the flies. The boys would also rotate wearing their "surf" shirts. We rarely used sunscreen (just noses, cheeks & shoulders) and often avoided the sun until after 3 pm.
Everyone else couldn't get enough of the sand, and while I loved the feel of it under my feet on the beach, with it's soft and warm crystals, stepping on even one granual while barefoot in the bus would drive me batty!
I dealt with it by laying around some more.
And taking pictures of flowers hugging themselves.
Once while taking pictures on the beach I saw a baby bird emerge from the sand. It's like it came out of an old sand castle. I yelled for Jewel and she chased that sucker around the beach until she finally caught it. I didn't want to miss a second of it so I didn't get any photos or video of the actual hunt, but I did capture the love afterwards.
I think it was a seagull chick, whichg was another cool thing seeing seagulls in Nebraska, by the way. Lake Ogallala also had pelicans!
Almost every night we were treated to private fireworks displays, so we were expecting big things on the Fourth. There were some fireworks, but not the show I was expecting. We were also so burned out by the fourth that it was the one day we didn't even make it to the water. We tried visiting the Visitors Center so I could find out where all this white sand came from, but it had burned down, so I still don't know. I was also surprised by how quiet the lake was. This is the perfect party place. Then we find out why. Alcohol was banned last year, because it was too much of a party place. Worked out perfect for us.
I asked Jake for one picture, that's it, so he gave it to me.
Jonas didn't, but I took it anyway.
Often my pictures are a one shot chance, and I got lucky to get two such great pics. It does help to have two such great looking kids. Some day they'll thank me...I just know it.
When the surf was down, they had to make their own waves.
And sometimes we just took in the beauty and serenity.
Friday morning before we left I drove to the nearby (seven miles) trailer park so I could borrow their wi-fi and by the time I got back Joey had talked to the recruiter, Judy, and she listed off a hand full of jobs to Joey and told him he could take his pick. We left after a lunch of sandy burgers, to take a Nebraska byway called "Sandhills Journey". I may just learn where this sand came from!
In case you didn't get enough pictures, you can check out my slideshow here.