I am the anomaly.
I am conspicuously alone, no family or friends have joined me.
My license plate does not say “Nebraska.”
My camper is less than 50 feet long and does not bear a name like Pioneer, Surveyor, Montana, Patriot, Zinger, Heritage Glen, or, my favorite, Vengeance.
Eagle is the camper model I have. I plan to add a “B” to the front of the word. Darwin takes a road trip. I am glad I have cleared the Bible Belt.
One of these RVs has an outdoor kitchen built into the side of it. I can see a coffee maker, sink, and refrigerator as I walk by. I am not sure if the man sitting in front of this kitchen has opened the doors so he can use it or if it is just for display. Although based on his shape, I suspect he uses it often.
There are 95 sites with electricity; they are mostly full for the weekend. I am the only person using one of the 25 tent sites. This is a good strategy: it is cheaper and I have no neighbors or all-night lights.
“There’s a kitty in that camper,” I hear repeatedly from people strolling by with their dogs. “He’s adorable!” three tweenage girls screech as they run back and forth on the road giggling and squealing at Big Cat curled up in the sun on the bench.
To recharge my computer, I poach electricity from the nearest campsite with an outlet. I am sitting outside in 20mph wind steadily typing away while the surrounding campers begin cleaning up last night’s parties and begin packing up their campers.
I came here for the Sandhill cranes. They migrate through every year in the hundreds of thousands. I went to the bird blind before sunrise to see the birds lift off from the Platte River but there were no birds to be seen. To the east, far downriver, we see flocks taking to the air against the lightening sky. To the west, upriver, half a dozen whooping cranes are spotted standing in the tall grasses; they take flight, moving north. I am late to the game and have missed the vast majority of birds. I see a few hundred in cornfields surrounding the Audubon sanctuary and the campground but the seasonal migration has passed.
The campers around me are local. They come for the weekend, to hang out with friends, to fish, to take in whatever crane activity falls into their view. It is an easy weekend get-away; they load up and go home again on Sunday. Theirs is also a temporal migration: workweek to weekend.
I stay another day and then, like the cranes and the Beagle, I continue my journey.