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On the Road 2019 Part Deux

Okay, if you didn’t read the last blog, I recommend that you do so that everything makes sense. Now, assuming you read the last one…

I left Oregon via airplane to work a meeting in Rhode Island, while Charlie pulled the trailer a 1,000 miles and picked me up in Denver. This was the first time I left the state one way and Charlie the other, but it wouldn’t be the last. I am so thankful that Charlie is so supportive of me and my work that he is willing to travel thousands of miles by himself in order to come get me. To be fair, he did have Lord Buttersworth and Wonkers as traveling companions (also known as the HCIC – Head Cats in Charge) and while English isn’t their first language, they definitely get their point across when needed. Charlie picked me up in Denver and off we went to Nebraska.

I consider Nebraska my second state (some people have second homes; I have entire

states). I have spent so much time in Nebraska, between visiting family and yes, vacationing there, that I have come to know and love the beauty of the fields and the heart of the people. When Nebraska came out with the marketing slogan, “Nebraska, honestly, it’s not for everyone,” I thought, this is brilliant, because this state is awesome, more clever than you think, and I love it.

For the past sixteen years or so, we have camped with our kids and a bunch of friends at

a lake outside of Cambridge, Nebraska and this annual pilgrimage didn’t get axed just because our home started to move. If anything, this annual vacation is more important to us because we can’t just see our friends anytime we want or visit with our kids. We spent two weeks at the lake and worked with Red Willow County S.O. before heading east to work with Crete PD, Seward PD and Sheriff’s Office, State Patrol.

While in Nebraska we:

- Learned that Wilbur is the Czech capital of America

- Czech Days brings thousands of people to Wilbur

- That kolace’s should be included in the food pyramid

- Interviewed four different officers from three different agencies and am still working on publishing two of them

- One of them is the Pie Guy from McCook, AKA Chief Deputy Koetter

- No one is nicer than folks from Nebraska

- Attended our first figure 8 derby

- Took some amazing photos of LEO’s in Crete and Seward

- Realized that Crete PD and their community have hearts of gold with Operation Under the Tree

- Decided to adopt Officer Arbuckle – not 100% sure if she is okay with that or is just too good natured to tell me no

- Heard, “If not you, then who?” for the first time – thank you Officer Hammond (one of the stories we are still working on) for sharing this with us

- Made a ton of new friend and if the slogan for Nebraska doesn’t pan out for the state, they really should just send out their LEO’s on goodwill missions as they are just the best

And while all good things must come to an end, we eventually left Nebraska (but we are headed back this June for our lake vacation, and then head east to work with Beatrice PD and Gage County SO, Nebraska – cannot wait!!!)

On then to Iowa where we spent a week visiting Charlie’s sister who showed up at our trailer wearing a Badges Across America t-shirt – love her! And from there on up to South Dakota to visit my good friend Jeff, who also owns Vishnu Bunny Tattoo in Sioux Falls. I love their work and absolutely adore Jeff. He is one of the kindest people and I treasure him. While there Charlie and I also had dinner with a former colleague of mine and her husband – I worked with her when planning a meeting in Sioux Falls while she was president of NCSL. Side note (welcome to the rabbit trail that is my brain) - the fun thing about working with her on the meeting in Sioux Falls, former SD State Senator Deb Peters wanted to highlight her state and ensure that attendees got to see the city so I worked with the CVB and created a hop on-off trolley beer and wine tour. It was a blast, and everyone had a good time.

While in Iowa and South Dakota we learned:

- How to herd the cows that escaped at our Harvest Host Wild Prairie Winery

- Harvest Hosts allows you to stay overnight at hundreds of wineries, farms, orchards, golf courses, museums and more! It’s awesome 😊

- That you may want to think about an Uber to the Des Moines Farmer’s Market

- But that it is also well worth the walk from wherever you find parking

- While you may not get good wifi at Big Sioux State Park, the nearby library has rooms that you can work in and their wifi works really well

- That transferring all your belongings from your airstream, to your new fifth wheel at Camping World may result in losing a cat

- And that losing your cat is devastating

-But that your husband can put on his, “What would Wonkers’ do?” hat and locate him the next day

- And then you can actually enjoy your new home

- That the folks at Sioux Fall Camping World are super nice and generous – going out of their way to look for Wonkers and letting us stay overnight to find him.

After leaving South Dakota, we dipped back into Colorado for a couple of weeks to register our fifth wheel and learned the expensive lesson of not turning too tightly when pulling a fifth wheel as you may blow out your rear window on your truck.

From there, it was on to Park City Utah where I had a couple of meetings taking place and while I worked my meetings, Charlie got to work with Heber City PD (who has some cool swag that I may have, "borrowed," from Charlie). It was then down the hill to Salt Lake City where we worked with Unified Police Department Taylorsville Precint while we stayed at Utah Lake State Park.

While in Utah we:

- Got to see Olympians freestyle jump into a pool of water

- Fell in love with Western Standard Saloon Lager but one we cannot seem to find it anywhere else

- Learned all about state run liquor stores

- Saw the first snowfall of the season on the peaks surrounding us in Park City

- Worked with two agencies

- Saw a Banksy!

- Interviewed Officer Franco – her story is coming soon!

- Had some friends from Denver swing on by - love you Jack, Chalene, and Lily

From SLC, I flew off to Washington, DC for another meeting while Charlie packed up and moved Vinny (our home on wheels), Butters and Wonkers back to Denver to pick me up – again. Seriously, this man is amazing, and I am so lucky that my 18-year-old self was smart enough to say yes back in 1990. We are now nearly to the end of 2019 and just have the, oh-so-small state of Texas to cover… Stay tuned for third installment where you can sing, “Amarillo by Morning,” will learn about pigs that fly, when your husband tells a docent what they can improve upon, and other stories from the great state of Texas.

Please note: all these photographs are the result of my less than stellar photography skills paired with my trusty iPhone. When Charlie takes photos for BAA, he actually breaks out a real camera :)

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