The Original RV – The Covered Wagon

 The Original RV – The Covered Wagon

We RVers have our heritage and it really starts on Interstate 80 in Nebraska, America’s heartland.

That’s where the Great Platte River Trail became the Oregon Trail…The California Trail… the 49ers Trail…the Mormon Trail.

This was the pioneer route that linked east to west.

civeredwagonAnd today,  spanning the interstate near the mid-Nebraska town of Kearney, is a must stop for tourists and especially RVers…the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument

Of all the places we’ve been to, this is one of the most amazing and fascinating historic displays we’ve seen anywhere. Admission is $12 and a bargain at that price. The monument is built literally across the interstate, spanning north the west and east bound lanes. Visitors walk above and across the interstate inside a covered archway, watching an interactive multimedia display that documents the first RV – the covered wagon which opened up the country.

It’s hard to believe how difficult this migration must have been, or how big it was.


But  From 1843 to 1869, the archway folks tell us, nearly half a million men, women and children rode and walked the trails to the West Coast. The distance was vast, the prairie endless, the sky overwhelming and the mountains and wildlife were unlike anything they had ever seen.

As the early settlers established their homesteads, following roughly their same route came the railroads, and then automobiles on the Lincoln Highway, America’s first transcontinental road; I-80, the nation’s first interstate.

Mark down the archway as a must visit as you visit in a different sort of covered wagon… the RV.

Mike Wendland

Mike is a veteran journalist who, with his wife, Jennifer, travels North America in a small motorhome, blogging about the people, places, joys and adventure of RV life on the road. He enjoys camping (obviously), hiking, biking, fitness, photography, kayaking, video editing, and all things dealing with technology and the outdoors. See and subscribe to his RV Lifestyle Channel on YouTube, where he has hundreds of RV and travel related videos. His PC MIke TV reports, on personal technology are distributed weekly to all 215 NBC-TV stations.


  • Nice job, Mike. I always wanted to visit that arch when we headed west the last couple years but never did. We’ll definitely do so the next time. Very interesting how that interstate follows the same route of those covered wagon pioneers. Wonder what they’d think of our “covered wagons” today!

  • Mike, this is on my bucket to stop by on trip out west this summer.

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