For the first time since March 1 Hubby and I hit the road for a trip that took us more than 40 miles from home.

The words and tunes to “Eastbound and Down” by Jerry Reed and Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again,” played through my mind as we set out first for Lincoln on Saturday and then to Iowa on Sunday.

Back in February Hubby had purchased a stalk smasher for our tractor that we had planned to use in front of our strip till machine this year. Weather didn’t cooperate for a trip to Iowa at the time and when the snows abated, COVID-19 had us shutdown. Trips across state lines were no-nos so we advised the gentleman we’d purchased the piece from we’d pick it up when we could.

A week ago the quarantine restriction was lifted and a quick check of the calendar showed no conflicts (there’s not much going on these days anyway). With our full-time employee lined up to do chores we were good to go.

Phone calls back and forth solidified the seller was available to help us load up our equipment, and we took off. We headed to Lincoln where we spent the night at our house there. For readers who may have missed it, a year ago we purchased a home to rent to our daughter who is working on a master’s degree in ag economics at the University of Nebraska.

The Lincoln Cottage has been a blessing more times than we can count, and this time it allowed us to spread out our trip without requiring a stay overnight in a motel. We had not been to Lincoln since March 1 and there were plenty of odds and ends to attend to at the house.

We put up a mirror for the guest bedroom that had been purchased just before the shutdown and brought a painting we liked so there was some art for guests to enjoy as well. For better or worse, we can now see our bright shining faces in the mornings. With only one bathroom at the house, that mirror allows me and any guests our daughter Cicely hosts to be able to put on makeup, comb hair and so forth without going to the bathroom.

Since we hadn’t been to the warehouse since February, staples were running low at both our house and our older daughter’s. With shortened hours, we scurried to the warehouse and split up with two carts to facilitate quicker shopping. It was a good thing, too, as there were still limits on certain items, i.e. toilet paper, and that way we could get what we all needed without complications at checkout.

We found everything we wanted, which these days is a victory in itself and happily returned to the house to unload and order Chinese takeout. It was a treat to have different food from what we can get at home.

Sunday morning we were up bright and early for the rest of our adventure. We drove to Ames where we had lunch with some of Hubby’s Twitter friends and then it was on to State Center, Iowa, where we picked up our stalk smasher.

On the way back to Ames we stopped at a large farm store for a bit of retail therapy. The garden center there still had a good selection of plants and I was able to buy several to fill in gaps in my rock garden. My jalapeno peppers purchased in May had not done well and I found some replacements for those as well.

Because of his susceptibility to skin cancer, Hubby must keep his arms covered even in summer. We are always in need of long-sleeved shirts in lighter fabric, but tall sizes are often hard to come by. This particular store had four racks, and they were on sale. We came away with two new summer-weight shirts.

That mission accomplished, we headed west for Lincoln and arrived in time for supper with the daughter. It was nice to kick back and enjoy a good visit, as we had not been together for two weeks.

Monday morning we repacked everything in the pickup, adjusted the straps on the smasher in the trailer, and this time were westbound and down. While we had missed the horrific Nebraska winds on Sunday, they were still brisk enough to require two-handed driving all the way home.

The extrovert in me was quite happy today to travel outside the county line, meet a few new people and see some new territory.

Freelance journalist Barb Bierman Batie grew up near Battle Creek, Nebraska, and now farms row crops with her Platte Valley Farmer, Don Batie, northeast of Lexington. She has written for local, state, regional and international publications and joined the Midwest Messenger crew in 2010. She can be reached at

Barb is a freelance journalist who grew up near Battle Creek, Nebraska, and now farms row crops with her Platte Valley Farmer, Don Batie, northeast of Lexington. She can be reached at