Once a year, our company takes a three day weekend and we all head to Lake McConaughy near Ogallala, Nebraska, for some time on the water, sleeping in the tent, and enjoying each other's company outside of the office. It's a nice break away from the 9-5 grind.
The drive there is right about 200 miles from Chateau JBro, and an easy drive at that. Run east on Co 14, take a left in Sterling to get on I-76, go north-east and merge to I-80 East, then take exit 126. Couple miles and a stop for beer and ice later, and you're there.
I was rather surprised to find that the beach on the lake was of such fine and soft sand. My Midwest roots have always known inland beaches to be of a coarser grain sand, but this stuff was really quite fine and soft. It was so soft, in fact, that I witnessed several vehicles get stuck in the sand on the beach, and needed a tow truck. Well, it's actually a tow-tractor, and the fee for a tow, according to the guy driving it, "depends on how much of a jerk the stuck driver is being..."
This lake, being in the middle of the Nebraska Sandhill region, is very much a testament to earth engineering. The Kingsley Dam gives the lake form, stopping the North Platte River and creating the lake. The dam also provides hydroelectric power, and during dry spells it can be opened further to provide additional down-stream water.
We arrived Friday, and my boss had arranged boats for us all weekend long. We started off taking the pontoon boat for a leisurely ride, jumping into the cooler water out towards the center of the lake, and enjoying the sun on our shoulders. I was the only person there who was solo, as everyone else had brought spouses, significant others, and children. My dogs had a swell time, being doted on by the kids, playing fetch, and splashing in the shallow waters. Saturday, we took a speed boat out for some tubing, and eventually migrated to Wave Runners.
Dinner was cooked and consumed. We had burgers and hot dogs, beans, potato salad, chips, the usual stuff one associates with a cook out. I lopped the top off a green bell pepper, stuffed it with a chicken and rice mixture I'd made up earlier that week, wrapped the whole thing in foil, and let it heat up over the grill. Quite pleasant, actually.
Sleeping arrangements on this trip were a new to me tent that fits into the bed of my Tacoma. It took a bit of effort to set up alone, being new to me and all, and quite a few adjustments before I was satisfied with the sturdiness of the tent, but once done, it worked well. Really the only problem I had was when I was packing up: It was somewhat difficult to get the sand shaken out of the tent. I'm not sure I prefer this to my normal "on the ground" tent, but it was a good trial run anyway.
Came home Sunday, and I certainly noticed that I hadn't used enough sun screen over the weekend, as my shoulders, neck, back, chest, and feet are rather toasted. I'm slathering on the aloe lotion frequently, and it's tender but not painful. I've survived worse.
All in all, a fun weekend on the water at a unique lake. I'll likely make a return trip there for some camping, kayaking, etc.