Home » 2009 Cross Country Camping Trip

Lake McConaughy State Park, NE

Friday, July 17, 2009 - 11:00am by Tommy
500 miles and 10 hours from our last stop - 1 night stay


The boys have been at college for a month now, and I expect that there are more pressing priorities than documenting the last two days of their trip. Therefore, I'll try to update these pages with what I was told.

Lake McConaughy camping on the beachLake McConaughy camping on the beachFrom the overview of this trip Jake describes an episode at the Lake that qualified as a trip "Lowlight" as follows:

Getting stuck in the sand. Lake McConaughy is a giant lake that allows 4-wheel-drive vehicles to drive on the sand beach down to the waterfront. Just in case any of you are wondering, 2005 Toyota Sienna minivans full of five kids, three weeks worth of camping gear, food and clothes, will not make it to the water. We were stuck in the sand for not even 5 minutes when two really nice guys came over (without us asking) in their powerful pick-up truck to pull us out. They attached the line to the van’s frame, and started to pull. Both vehicles moved maybe three feet, and now not only was the van stuck, but so was the guy’s pick-up that was supposed to pull us out. So over came another truck to pull out the original truck, and together they pulled out the van and us. Is it worth mentioning that John was driving?...

My understanding is that after the vehicles were rescued, the weather started to turn for the worse. Faced with the prospect of huddling in the broken tent during 20+ hours of possible thunderstorm, the boys decided to make the push for home.

We got the call that afternoon and were sworn to secrecy from Tom. The plan was to take 5 hour shifts with driver and co-pilot. Lorry calculated that they could possibly be home by Sunday night if all went as planned. We were uncomfortable being the only parents that knew of the plan at this time, but soon found out that Jake's parents knew of it by Sunday morning.

We got ready to greet the intrepid travelers when they were scheduled to arrive in Allendale, NJ the next night.

- Herb


Lake McConaughy, nicknamed "Big Mac," is the largest reservoir in Nebraska. It is located just a few miles off Interstate 80 near the Colorado border. The reservoir, which is over 20 miles long and 4 miles wide when at full capacity, was formed on the Platte River by the Kingsley Dam. The lake has over 100 mile of white-sand beaches along its shore line.

To Nebraskans, the main attraction of Lake McConaughy is water activities--swimming, boating, windsurfing, skiing, and world-class fishing. Trophy size catfish, walleye, stripers, bass, and trout have been caught in "Big Mac."

The park has 200 tent and RV sites. However, most people choose to primitive camp right on the beach at the water's edge. Camping is on a first-come first-serve basis.

- Lolo

Lake McConaughy State Park location map

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