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Old 12-28-2012, 10:20 AM   #1
Boondox OP
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34 west..and then there's Omaha

Traveling west next summer. Taking 224/24 as far as Peoria then 34 which leads right to the sort of Big City I try to avoid at all costs. So...should I bypass it to the north and take 20 in the general direction of Badlands NP or to the south to pick up 2 till I cut up to the Badlands?

Traveling with a dog in my hack, so bonus points for shady spots to play and rest in, and running water to cool off.

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Old 12-28-2012, 10:27 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by Boondox View Post
Traveling west next summer. Taking 224/24 as far as Peoria then 34 which leads right to the sort of Big City I try to avoid at all costs. So...should I bypass it to the north and take 20 in the general direction of Badlands NP or to the south to pick up 2 till I cut up to the Badlands?

Traveling with a dog in my hack, so bonus points for shady spots to play and rest in, and running water to cool off.

Pete and Barley
If you stay on 34 to the NE/IA border, you can cross at Plattsmouth and head west on NE 66. I would take NE66 or NE92 west to St. Paul, NE. Continue from there on NE92 until it meets NE2. Take NE2 all the way to Thedford. From Thedford, go north on US83.

The Nebraska Sandhills are quite an interesting experience. I'd suggest you include them, which is why I'm advocating for the NE2/US83 routing.


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If, when in the Sandhills, you find you are enjoying yourself, you'd get some bonus points for detouring off US83 and onto the Brownlee Road.


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Old 12-28-2012, 12:14 PM   #3
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Fantastic feedback! Thanks!

So that Natl Forest your route passes thru...camping okay?
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Old 12-28-2012, 12:20 PM   #4
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Fantastic feedback! Thanks!

So that Natl Forest your route passes thru...camping okay?
Yes, there is.

http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/rockymtn/mckinfo.htm
http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nebra...10611&actid=29

There is also camping available in the Nat'l Forest that is on the south side of NE2.

http://www.forestcamping.com/dow/rockymtn/nebcmp.htm
http://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/nebra...10605&actid=71


I'd be happy to provide you with details along whatever route you decide, and if by some unfortunate circumstance you find yourself needing assistance near Omaha, I would be happy to lend a hand.
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Old 12-28-2012, 07:18 PM   #5
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Yeah, skip the Omaha thing. 92 is DESOLATE past St Paul. Interesting little towns from Omaha burbs to there.

So if you do the 92 route, drop south through Ansley and pick up NE 2, you'll pass through the "Gateway to the Sandhills" Broken Bow. Be sure to stop at the Sandhills visitor center barn on the way into town.

Yes, good camping at Halsey Natl forest and at the NE Natl Forest further along. Don't know how you feel about grasslands, but the Ogallala National Grassland and Toadstool park is its own sort of badlands if you 're going that far.

Yes, us flatlanders do love our flatlands. Mountains and trees are OK, but there's something about watching the flow of life clear from the horizon.
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Old 12-28-2012, 11:42 PM   #6
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IA34 is only about 15-20 miles south of me, if you need any info on this area, place to camp what have you give me a shout. Feel free to send me a pm...I'll probably forget to check back in.. If the time lines up, I'd be up for tagging along for a day ride perhaps. I'm in Melcher, IA if you're looking at 34 there is a town call Chariton, IA that has a decent size multi brand dealership right on 34 and there is also a state park just a mile or two east of chariton.
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Old 12-29-2012, 04:09 AM   #7
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Old 12-29-2012, 06:51 PM   #8
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Do what Yossarian says. Hwy 2 is not bad at all. The Nebraska National Forest is a neat stop, and there is good food on the East side of Thedford. Brownlee Rd is a must do if you are heading that way.

Lots of places to camp, and most small towns have camping available in parks or fairgrounds. I know there are some off the beaten path campgrounds that are almost never occupied, but I can't remember who has posted them... boy, I'm lots of help
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Old 12-30-2012, 05:41 AM   #9
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Okay guys, thanks. This is what I have...

34 across the river, pick up 66. It looks like this is well south of the congestion of Omaha and Bellevue which works for me especially since my timeline for that day had me reaching the area around 5pm - just in time for rush hour!

Zig up to 92 and continue west picking up 2 several miles past St Paul. Check things out at the visitor center in Broken Bow. Continue to 87, north to Brownlee Road. Camp in Sam McKelvie NF. Press on along State Spur 16F to 20. Then on to the Badlands.

I hear you about the endless horizons. I never really thought about it till we were riding through northern Iowa, Illinois, and Indiana two years ago. I could see forever, unlike Vermont where you can only see across the valley to the next mountain. It was very different...
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Old 12-30-2012, 06:10 AM   #10
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Do what Yossarian says. Hwy 2 is not bad at all. The Nebraska National Forest is a neat stop, and there is good food on the East side of Thedford. Brownlee Rd is a must do if you are heading that way.

Lots of places to camp, and most small towns have camping available in parks or fairgrounds. I know there are some off the beaten path campgrounds that are almost never occupied, but I can't remember who has posted them... boy, I'm lots of help
A bit of a recommendation to that route, Hook up with NE 2, but when you get to Merna, stay on NE92 west to Arnold, then turn north on the Dunning road to get back to NE2.
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Old 12-30-2012, 08:20 AM   #11
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Yay, Brownlee Road

After getting back on NE2 head West to Merriman, NE. Go North on 73 to Martin, SD. Go West on SD18 to Cr-10, follow Cr-10 it will turn into BIA-2 & go through Potato Creek on Big Foot road. It will intersect with SD-44. Take 44 to Interior, SD. There is an entrance to the National Badlands park there.



There is primitive camping (A few shelters & picnic tables are available) at Sage Creek Campground in the North West corner of the Park. The Sunrises & Sunsets are worth seeing!

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Old 12-30-2012, 10:00 AM   #12
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Thanks, Sleddog. I checked my maps after reading your response and as luck would have it, that's exactly how I laid out that leg of the trip. Unless I'm exhausted by the previous day I plan on hitting the Badlands in the early morning light, and Rushmore close to sunset.

I really appreciate all the help getting me around Omaha and lined up not just to cross Nebraska, but to actually see part of what makes your state special!
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:03 AM   #13
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A bit of a recommendation to that route, Hook up with NE 2, but when you get to Merna, stay on NE92 west to Arnold, then turn north on the Dunning road to get back to NE2.
I'll volunteer to ride it with you when you get here. Might even be able to get you breakfast when you're here.
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Old 12-31-2012, 07:10 AM   #14
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There is a primitive campground on the SW corner of McKelvie National Forest (on 16F just as it leaves the SW corner). Big pine trees, and usually deserted. Pretty sure there is a water pump there (really good Sand Hills water).

Nearest gas is probably at Merritt Trading Post (near the Merritt Reservoir dam) SE of the Forest.
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Old 12-31-2012, 08:42 AM   #15
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Yep, that's Steer Creek, more info in the first link Yossarian posted.
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