Monday, August 31, 2015

Nebraska 2nd stop


We traveled to Henderson on August 11th. We stayed at the Prairie Oasis Campground, which is about 10 miles north of Henderson, or 10 miles north of nowhere. The campground is right on I-80, so the traffic noise is a little louder here. Patty and Todd the owners are super nice and very helpful. We even got homemade oatmeal cookies one morning. The grounds are maintained very well. There is a large field with horseshoe pits and a volleyball area. A small pond boarders one side of the grounds and they have paddle boats and a rowboat to use for free. There are wooden bench swings around the park for just sitting and relaxing.
They have a small store with basic needs, and ice cream, which is a basic need as far as we are concerned, and a book lending library. Ice cream and books, how can you go wrong? The bathrooms have been updated and were very clean, as was the laundry room.
The only drawback to the place was that the sites were very narrow. Not much space after opening the slide outs.

Lincoln, NE was our favorite stop of this trip. It has a nice downtown and river walk area. Parts of the river are very narrow and shallow. In those sections they have built raised cement reflecting pools and gardens. It was really quite beautiful. There is a walking/biking path that runs the whole length of town.
We of course were on the lookout for oddities.
The Big Clanging Head of Bricks is on the river walk. It is also called the Groundwater Colossus. Loudspeakers inside the head occasionally play sounds of clanging metal to represent the jarring impact of people on the environment.

The Peter Toth Indian is what brought us to Lincoln. Detial is in front of the Indian Center, a treatment center for kids. This one was carved out of cottonwood in 1980, and stands 25 feet tall. He is the 35th carving on the Whispering Giants Trail.

The Sunken Gardens are an amazing oasis of beauty and color in the heart of Lincoln.

As you approach the gardens you are greeted by the sun embedded in the brick walkway. Then you walk through a beautiful carved metal topped gazebo and enter a kaleidoscope of color and textures.

The beds rise up from the walkway so you are surrounded by flowers of all shapes, sizes, heights, and colors.

There is a small water fall in the center of the garden. Benches throughout give you a place to rest and reflect.

Two metal sculptures grace the grounds, one is a lady pouring water out of a jug, and the other is blowing a trumpet to the skies.

Three ponds offer a tranquil place to sit and relax while watching the gold fish swim among the water lilies. This place makes the list of one of our favorite places.

The Rose Garden is just down the road, but we took a much more scenic route to find it. It is a small garden just outside the children's zoo.
It is pretty but not as elaborate as the Sunken Gardens.
There are two portico's where you can relax and get out of the sun.

A labyrinth is at one end of the gardens, surrounded by flowers and white metal orbs.

One of the beds has a small statue of a little boy with a turtle in each hand. We imagined this is what our son-in-law, Steve looked like when he was little.
A fountain borders the north end of the garden. 

The Backyard Zoo in York, NE was a little weird. It is a side yard filled with metal and wood sculpted animals, zebra, a giraffe, buffalo, and an eagle. In front of the house, is an old buggy and farmer and lots of signs with rather anti-government sayings and anti-people in general.

Just outside of York we got to stop and watch a crop duster plane swoop over the fields. Seems like a fun job to have.

Omaha, NE was nice but not one of our favorites. When we got into town we missed a road and ended up crossing the river back into Iowa again. This opps turned out okay as we got to see the Odyssey - Spiky Towers on the overpass we used to turn around. Reminded us of Edward Scissorhands or Freddy Krueger.

Once back in Omaha we found a few more Roadside Oddities.

The 15 foot Tall Fork with Pasta in Little Italy.

The Chef Boyardee statue on the grounds of ConAgra Foods, that takes up a number of blocks of the river front.

A Monument to Firefighters was just off the river front. 

One of the reasons we went to Omaha was to go to the Lewis and Clark Landing. This one was a real bust. It is in the building that houses the main offices for the National Parks Service. The Lewis and Clark display was in the lobby of the building and consisted of a few display cases with objects similar to what would have been used at the time. Pictures on the walls depicting their adventure and a gift shop.
We were glad that we went because we saw a cool walking bridge over the river and a beautiful metal sculpture titled "Labor". The river walk is not a elaborate as others but it is nice.

Florence Mill was on our agenda because of the name. It is a cool old building that has been turned into a museum. There is a covered wagon and a metal horse sculpture on the grounds and they host a farmers market each week. This was one of the earliest mills built in Nebraska. It was built by the Mormons during the winter of 1846-1847.


Legend says that Hummel Park is haunted, and an ancient Indian burial ground. During the few hours we spent here going to the overlook and walking the "morphing stairs" we did not encounter any spirits. Nancy is pretty sensitive to energy and didn't feel anything out of the ordinary.

They are called the "morphing stairs" because no one can count the same number of stairs going up or down. Nancy's count was 188 up and 186 down. Les's count was 194 up and 191 down. Either way it is a lot of stairs.                    

The picnic area has leaf prints in the cement which was very pretty.  

The Great Platte Archway is in Kearney, NE. It is an historical museum that crosses over I-80 on an overpass.                                  

When you enter the building an old pioneer greets you and tells you all the things you can do while visiting. Nancy tried very hard to get him out of character but it didn't work. Kids that came in loved him. You ride an escalator up to the museum, both sides of the escalator are decorated with historical pieces and statures. There is also an elevator that you can use. The entire complex is handicap accessible. 

There is a gift shop inside. Outside is a large maze to get lost in. We had the dog with us so we didn't take the time to explore the museum.

We did explore the outdoor museum across the road. A paved walkway with informational signs takes you past a sod house, mud hut and buffalo statues. You cross a metal bridge to get there and we got to watch a fisherman reel in a large fish.

Sod House 

A "Narrow Escape" sculpted by David Biehl is at the entrance to the building. The life-size bronze shows Nat and Bob Martin, ages 15 and 12, atop a galloping horse. The brothers were pinned together by a Sioux arrow in 1864. Other arrows fired by the Sioux also embedded themselves in the boys. The brothers tumbled from their horse, still pinned together, and were left for dead -- but they survived. 
An inspiring tale of prairie pioneer invincibility. 

On our way to Kearney we came across a yard full of old cars in Gibbon. Nancy couldn't resist stopping to get picures.

We have found many more interesting things in Nebraska then we figured we would. It is funny how you can have a preconceived notion of a place or even a person for that matter and once you start to explore you find a much different place than you expected.

Till we meet again...

Happy Trails to You!

Tips and things we have learned along the way. 
~ Sometimes you have to customize things to suit your purpose. Les has two razors that need to be kept plugged in and the bathroom counter doesn't really have space for them. They were on our dresser in the bedroom, but when traveling they didn't want to stay in place. So, a customized plastic basket to the rescue. We cut some of the slats so the plugs would fit through and the razors could sit inside. This keeps them in place at all times and also gives us a spot to put other items from our dresser top when we are on the move.