Towing equipment manufacturer Blue Ox encourages motorhomers to take a diversion from the main Interstates and venture into the heart of the Great Plains.
All motorhome owners are invited to visit the Blue Ox campground and manufacturing facility in Pender, Neb. This area of eastern Nebraska also offers plenty of historic sites and venues for fun.
All Blue Ox customers stay at the campground for free. Non-customers pay $15 a night. The campground has full sewer and electric hookups, with primitive camping sites also available.
Tours of the Blue Ox manufacturing facility are conducted weekdays at 10:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The plant tour shows the broad family of Blue Ox products, which includes tow bars, baseplates, braking systems and towing accessories.
Summer picnics and ice cream socials are planned, and customers can schedule maintenance on Blue Ox products.
To make arrangements, or for more information, call (800) 228-9289, ext. 3107, or e-mail [email protected] Group tours are especially encouraged to call ahead.
Pender is located just west of “The Wide Missouri” and about 40 miles southwest of Sioux City, Iowa. It rests in an area where early explorers got their first look at the great West beyond the Missouri River.
Motorhome travelers can sample this Western flavor in nearby Bancroft, home to the John G. Neihardt Center. The facility celebrates the life and work of this Nebraskan poet who chronicled Western life and Indian culture.
For a different taste, head west to Pierce and the Cuthills Vineyards. Nebraska's first winery produces wines from 100 percent Nebraskan-grown grapes and raspberries.
Also to the west is the Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park — a unique fossil field created by the ash from a volcanic explosion 12 million years ago. The explosion left skeletal fossils of prehistoric animals preserved in their death positions, including giant camels, rhinos, horses, sabre-toothed deer and giant tortoises.
Heading back toward the Missouri River, take a historical and scenic tour on the Nebraska Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway. It runs along U.S. 75 between South Sioux City and Omaha. Views include wooded bluffs, open bottomlands, bountiful cropland, historic waterways and such sites as Fort Atkinson, the first military post west of the Missouri River.
Several casinos are also located in the Pender area. Recreational and other entertainment options abound in nearby Sioux City, and also farther south in Omaha.