Home Story Free At Last

Free At Last

written by Christine Auten

On our first outing last year, we knew we wanted to be in a larger metropolitan area for the Presidential Election on November 8. A mechanical issue held us up in Lusk, Wyoming longer than we had planned, so we only had a few weeks to get from there to the closest “large town” – Omaha, Nebraska.¬† That meant we needed to travel the Cowboy Trail, with stops in Chadron and Valentine, Nebraska, before settling just outside of Omaha, in Greta, Nebraska.

I have already posted about our time in non-Omaha Nebraska, but I have not yet posted about our remarkable hosts at the Wacky West Travel Park in Valentine, Nebraska РDan and Phyllis.

I’ll be honest, the park itself was not in great shape, but you could tell that at one time the park had been pretty cool. As happens so often with family-owned businesses, as the owners got older, they could no longer keep the park up to the standards many travelers (and they themselves) might expect. Their children and grandchildren helped out when they could, but they had their own lives. When we arrived, the property was up for sale, and the family was holding a yard sale to empty out the rest of their belongings from the main residence, office, and workshop.

Meet Dan and Phyllis Mayhew.

This is not a sad story. Dan and Phyllis had a dream. That dream sat waiting just a few yards outside the back door, in the form of a 1997 Winnebago Land Yacht that would take them on their next phase: full-time RV life on the road. Free at last.

Before buying and settling down at the Wacky West RV Park some 16 years ago, Dan and Phyllis had had many jobs. They met in High School, when both were working for two different bakeries in town. Dan followed that up with 30 years of driving a propane truck, and Phyllis divided her time working at the local school and the hospital – jobs that they both maintained even when they started the park.

When I asked them if they knew when they met that they would spend the rest of their lives together, Dan did not hesitate to answer – YES! It seems Phyllis took a little convincing, which Dan was eager to do. Dan says that their decision to hit the road in their RV went about the way. But Phyllis did come around, and now they are preparing to embark on a new adventure together.

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