I have lived in Nebraska for most of my life, but it wasn’t until we got our Leisure Travel Van that I started to research cool places to travel. I was looking at places to go in Nebraska (we are not retired yet, so we need to stay semi-close to home), and I found a place called Fort Robinson State Park in the northwest corner of Nebraska. Who knew?! Not me! It is over 22,000 acres of land and was a former US Army Fort that began in 1874. It was one of the largest operating forts starting during the Indian Wars and ending after World War II.
I decided it just might be the perfect place to have our Midwest LTVers Spring Rally. After all, it was my home state, we had never been there before, and it sounded like there was a lot of stuff to see, do, and learn. Reservations were made and we met up with 21 other LTV owners for a five-day journey back in time.
As we headed up to Fort Robinson State Park, we stopped at two Harvest Hosts locations to boondock. Our favorite stop this trip was a vineyard – yes, you might be thinking, “Nebraska wine… yuck,” but this vineyard has some really good wine and we may have left with a few bottles! The vineyard is called Niobrara Valley Vineyards and is located in Nenzel, Nebraska, just a couple hours from Fort Robinson. We met up with some fellow LTV owners and headed inside for wine tasting. We grabbed our tasting sheet, selected the five we wanted to taste and off we went. To our surprise, it was really good wine! Who knew?! We parked our coaches out in their land and had dinner outside where all we could hear was cows mooing (I think they were happy we were eating chicken), and sipped a little more of that Nebraska wine. Our hosts couldn’t have been more accommodating. As we retired for the night we heard the sounds of nature. Nothing better!
The next morning we headed to Fort Robinson. As we were getting closer, we saw a sign for Staab’s Drive Inn in Crawford, Nebraska about four miles from Fort Robinson. It was almost lunch time so we decided to stop in, have some ice cream, and ruin our lunch. Why not, right? It was so worth the stop!
Then we were back on the road to Fort Robinson. As you pull into the park, you see the buildings that once held the US Calvary, vet hospitals for all their horses, and a few museums too. We walked up to the main building to get our campsite and saw this sign above the door: “Through these portals passed the world’s finest horsemen.” How cool is that? We were walking through the same doors that the world’s finest horsemen walked through. You just have to sit back and soak that all up.
There is so much history here at this park. On September 5, 1877, Crazy Horse died here, and it was the site of the Cheyenne Outbreak in 1879. Over the years, the Fort served the Red Cloud Indian Agency as a cavalry remount station, K-9 dog training center, POW camp, and beef research station. It was established as a state park in 1962. Who knew?!
There was so much to do here that the task was trying to fit everything into five days. First, our group took an hour-long horse-drawn wagon ride around the park for some history of the park. Who knew there was so much history in Nebraska?! Not me… until now. We also rode in a real stagecoach for a short ride around the pastures and across Soldier Creek. I decided that traveling in my LTV was much more comfortable. We took a jeep ride up to the top of the bluffs, which had an amazing panoramic view of the Fort and surrounding area. I stood up there looking out and really questioning whether I was still in Nebraska. It was breathtaking!
Another highlight was taking a hayride to a butte for an amazing steak and potato dinner. We ate outside with fellow LTV owners/friends surrounded by nature (luckily no critters came to help us with dinner). It was a perfect night to enjoy this great dinner with friends and amazing views. Again, are we still in Nebraska? Yep! Who knew?!
There is also an indoor Olympic-size pool, lots of historical buildings to go in and learn about the history, lots of places to ride your bikes, and, to top it off, every Thursday night they have a FREE rodeo! As you can see, there is a lot to do in Fort Robinson. And we did as much as we could.
If you are ever in the northwestern part of Nebraska, you have to stop at Fort Robinson… you will be glad you did!