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Camping Vacation

Camping has been popular with Nebraska vacationers for well over one hundred years. Rail transportation to mountains or other scenic spots enabled even those of modest means to get away from their routine for a few days or more during the summer--if their plans were carried out. The Lincoln Weekly Herald of May 30, 1891, devoted part of an editorial column to the upcoming vacation season and the camping plans of a fictional Nebraska family, the Grinders:

"The camping-out season is once more upon us. These are the warm, inspiring days when the wearied grinder goes to the hay-loft and resurrects his motheaten horse blankets and scrapes the cobwebs out of his iron frying pan and old tin coffee boiler. He hangs them all up in full sight in the lower story of the barn so they will be handy when he wants them. He shakes the dust out of his rod case and puts the rod together and tries to see if it has kept its spring. He collects his tackle and flybook and handles them dotingly.

"He tells his wife they will take the children and go out to some new place in the mountains and have such a time as human beings have never had before. They will go where ozone is rampant, and they will stay till they are driven away by cold weather--and they will start as soon as school is out and the children can get off. Old Grinder makes inquiries about the prices of tents, and tells his wife to make up a list of the few little necessaries that it will be advisable to take along. . . .

"By and by school ends and somehow things don't jibe and the Grinders don't get started to the mountains. The children, happy little rats, become absorbed in the plays and liberties of vacation, and forget all about it. But Grinder does not forget. . . . And along about the middle of July he says to his wife, 'My Dear, I think we better give up our trip to the mountains,' and he sees no evidence of surprise or grief on her part. 'But I'll tell you what. We will send the children down to your mother's for a couple of weeks and you and I will run up to the northern lakes and have a real good time by our own two selves.'. . .

(June 1999)


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