2013 Annual Migration of the Sandhill Cranes Rally Recap

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2013 Annual Migration of the Sandhill Cranes Rally Recap

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                                      The Annual Migration of the Sandhill Cranes Rally
                                                   April 2-5, 2013 -- Gibbon, Nebraska


Including the host couple there were 16 attendees that arrived at the Windmill State Recreation Area on Tuesday, April 2. Later that same afternoon a Wine and Cheese Social was enjoyed at Meier's Ballroom, a beautiful and historic building in the small town of Gibbon, Nebraska (located approximately 11 miles east of Kearney, NE). The Ballroom, formerly a hardware store has now been renovated by Bill and Rosella Meier.

Wednesday morning the group was transported back to Meier's Ballroom in our little bus for a continental breakfast which was followed by a short trip to Kearney to go through The Great Platte River Archway Monument. The site of the Monument is just south of Kearney and extends across 1-80. This is a historical and educational monument marking the site where the Mormon, California and Oregon trails crossed Nebraska. Entering the museum on the north side you than take an escalator to the first level and put on ear phones as you walk through all the displays and return on the second level. A delicious lunch was enjoyed at the Arch after the tour. We then proceeded south to the Ft. Kearney Road to observe the thousands of cranes that feast in the fields south of Kearney during the day The Cranes will spend several weeks in this area and put on 20% of their body weight before they fly north to their summer grounds. Every spring there is approximately 500,000 - 600,000 cranes in this area over a 4-6 week period of time.

After returning to our campground we got bundled up for the evening crane viewing at Rowe Sanctuary-approximately 15 minutes from our campground. Nebraska evenings can be quite cold at this time of the year, but everyone was prepared and the weather was not too chilly. We again entered our bus and headed for Rowe at approximately 3:30 that afternoon. While there we enjoyed a short presentation about the cranes and had a delicious box lunch before following our tour guide to the blind. The cranes come back to the shallow water of the river every night for protection from predatory animals. Watching the hundreds of thousand of cranes coming into the river at night is an incredibly awesome sight, especially if the weather cooperates-and it did!! We had a beautiful Nebraska sunset in the distance and it was a picture perfect view watching them come in with the sun setting in the background. A sight that is many times described as spiritual and one you will never forget!

Thursday morning after breakfast we enjoyed another short trip to Kearney to check out Cookbooks at Morris Press. We all received a free cookbook as we entered and then proceeded to check out a wide variety of cookbooks printed for US and foreign countries. This was followed by a tour of the city of Kearney before enjoying lunch at the Peterson Senior Center in Kearney. Avery nice facility built in 2010, it is surrounded by a beautiful park with lakes and hike/bike trails. After a very nice lunch we had some time to enjoy the Senior Center and some walks around the area on a beautiful sunny day. Our next venue was the Classic Car Museum, another new arrival to the city of Kearney, It has been open now for a little over a year and has 130 cars from one man's collection and another 40 from other individuals. All are in beautiful condition! Some vehicles are one-of-a kind and there are others that are quite rare. After a guided tour by the Museum director many of the group walked back through to again gaze at the cars and take more pictures. Since Cabela's is right next door a few wandered in that direction and the stay-behinds later followed. Our Thursday evening was again spent at Meier's Ballroom with a wonderful catered meal sponsored by Born Free.

Friday morning was breakfast at the Ballroom and saying goodbye to old and new friends after a very enjoyable Rally.

Submitted by: Bill and Rosella Meier

NOTE! This recap was posted for the authors by the Website Administrator (bfadmin-2).
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