Saturday, August 4, 2012


If we accept that Baseball has a World Series then we been to the center of that world - Lincoln, Nebraska the center of the US. When the original government surveyors came to Nebraska they counted a total of 12 trees in the entire state; so new residents were asked to plant trees and the state's motto was The Tree Planter State - now it is the Cornhusker State so much corn is grown there now. To the Oto Indians the territory name was Nebrathka meaning flat water; the French called it Platte. The name Platte lives on in the river which is a mile wide and an inch deep.

On our first afternoon we went to a shopping center found a Trader Joe's did grocery shopping, went to the movie “Brave” a Celtic story which was very good about the relationship between mothers and daughters. We have not dined in the RV for over a month - it is just too hot; we are out most days so we eat dinner wherever - soon Adele may well forget how to serve up a meal.
The following day we headed east to the Omaha Zoo as we had heard it was one of the best zoos in the country; we were not disappointed! Among is exhibits are: a great collection of bats in a dark man made cave, an indoor jungle where one could walk around on a canopy complete with a platform and rope bridge; watch the monkeys on the tree tops and look down on the pools and rivers below; one could then go down and look up from the floor of the jungle. There are several bears - one we had never seen or known of before the - Sun Bear. They have a great aquarium where one can walk through a tunnel with the fish swimming above. Because of the heat even the Giraffes including an adorable baby born 16th April were indoors. We saw snakes and crocodiles, even an albino crocodile like the one in San Francisco. We took the train around the African Veldt as once again it was over 100F (38C) - we do try to stay out of the noonday sun.

We spent the next afternoon in Lincoln where we walked around the Historic Haymarket District the old part of town, bought a box of English liquorice in a store devoted exclusively to liquorice with over 100 varieties form all over the world - Lincoln is renowned for its liquorice.  We visited the State Capitol in Lincoln which has a tower rather than a dome; we took the tour and ascended to the top of the tower from where the terrain is flat as far as eye can see. The structure of the legislator is also different - one house, the legislators are part time, are paid $12,000 a year and have no health care or other benefits. On the tour we met some interesting people; the first a man from Minnesota via Taiwan who followed us around talking nonstop; then we meet two college students and had a political discussion - they want the President of the US to be a Saint we suggested perhaps the Pope - by the way they go to a Catholic College. That night we had a buffalo burger with trimmings courtesy of the RV Park and met a man from Texas, a staunch Democrat and had another political discussion; he invited for wine but we opted to go for a swim instead - we can only take so much politics in one day.
From Lincoln we headed west across Nebraska through Kearney (a one-nighter) and on to Ogallala. Ogallala was the end of the trail for the Texan cowboys; thousands of steers were sold here to ranchers to be fattened before shipping them to the east coast. The afternoon we arrived we drove out to McConaughy Lake – the big attraction in the area to see the Kingsley Dam one of only 2 earthen dams in the US; at the visitors center we watched a video of its construction; what was fascinating is that it has as much rebar in it as a concrete dam.

Next day was a momentous day for us, starting with breakfast at "Kathy's Kafe" at the Livestock Mart whose big days are Wednesday. We made reservations for dinner and a Western Show that night then as we were on our way we heard from our son Cearull that Sairsha Alice Horgan was about to join the family 10 weeks early via an emergency caesarian; Mom Leslie and Sairsha are both well and strong, for us it was very difficult to be so far away at a time like this. The Western Show was a fun two hours during which Tom ended up on the stage with a noose around his neck; it is put on by high school and college kids. Also in Ogallala there’s a wonderful collection of art made from petrified wood by identical twins aged 84 who still dress and look alike, their 90 year old sister came into the museum as we were leaving - it must be the clean water, good air and wide open spaces that has them all in such good health.
We started planning our onwards journey to September 3rd starting with friends in Colorado.

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