Every child remembers their family vacations: the beach, the mountains, lake resorts or even the “Wild West”. For the Butterfield family vacations might have included all the above destinations, in the same trip. Traveling in Fords for over a decade, Dave, Karen, and their two children take a two-week trip across the Midwest almost every year.
Packing up their 40’ camper, with all of the essentials, including 4-wheelers, snorkeling gear, camping gear, and a grill, they headed off across the states in late May.
Visiting family along the way, they’re never quite sure where they might find themselves. This year, they made their way out west like normal. Hauling with a 2005 F-350, they climbed the hills of Arkansas and battled the winds of the Kansas plains to finally arrive at their first destination: Bloomington, Nebraska.
Bloomington is a small town with a population of about 120 people, and it is nearly invisible on a map. However, it holds a long family history for the Butterfields and their relatives who meet annually for Memorial Day weekend.
“After my Grandmother passed away some time ago, my aunts and uncles began re-uniting every Memorial Day, at her home in Bloomington. We take the same route to western Nebraska regardless, so we began arranging our trips to visit with everyone while they were together,” says Dave.
After two days of riding the 4-wheelers through town, shooting off fireworks, and visiting relatives, the Butterfields packed their make-shift home up, climbed in their F-350 and headed north towards the panhandle of Nebraska. Traveling mostly two-lane highways, they passed through many small towns that once thrived as farming communities.
“If you’ve never visited Nebraska before, it is unlike anything you’ll find in Florida. It takes a certain amount of appreciation for great open spaces and miles of nothing, “states Tifany.
Growing up on farm just outside of Scottsbluff, an area rich in pioneer and Native American history, Karen’s family lived only a short distance from the Scottsbluff National Monument. The monument and nearby Chimney Rock were used by pioneers as a guide when crossing the Oregon Trail and are still accessible to tourists today
While visiting her brother, who now owns the family farm, Karen and Dave spent their two-day stay riding 4-wheelers up and down the miles of dirt roads, enjoying the view of the magnificent bluffs a few miles away, and visiting with Karen’s nieces and nephews.
“We took my nephew for a ride on the 4-wheelers to my uncle’s house – a couple hours and 20 miles later we arrived. By day’s end we were sore, but the smile on his face made the entire 40-mile trip worthwhile,” said Karen
Saying their goodbyes, they packed the camper back up and headed south to Oklahoma.
After battling 40mph winds across the prairies of Kansas and 14 exhausting hours later the family pulled into Dave’s sister’s home in Fairview, Oklahoma. Again, the jacks were lowered, the awning pulled out, and chairs unloaded from the camper, in preparation for the weekend celebration of Dave’s parents’ 60th wedding anniversary.
“Before we knew it, it was time to say goodbye again. We loaded back up, including our new addition, Big Mac, a Siberian Husky puppy we bought in Enid, and headed back to Florida,” said Karen.
Making one last stop on their long journey home, the Butterfields rested in Pensacola where they ate dinner and visited with Karen’s nephew, before hitting the road once more, and turning the truck towards home.
“If it wasn’t for Bartow Ford’s Service Department, I wouldn’t have the peace of mind to haul our truck and camper 5500 miles across the country,” stated Dave. “Bartow Ford has taken care of my trucks since I bought my first F-350 in 1996. They always take good care of me, and I feel they are always honest and fair.”
Ford is “built tough” and the Butterfields have certainly seen that the proof is in the pudding.