Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more.  If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.
– Oprah Winfrey 

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays… fun with family and food!  What’s not to like?  We have so much to be thankful to God for!  Hopefully we are thankful every day!

We were graciously hosted by Steve and Jeanne in Lincoln, Nebraska. (Jeanne is Cherryl’s sister). With kids and grandkids, great grandmothers, and five other guests, we had 18 or so for dinner.  It was fabulous, and I focused on eating rather than focusing cameras.  So you don’t have to look at our food!

Except for one fun part… Becky, our daughter the chocolatier, is very adventurous and loves trying new exotic dishes.  She had showed us a video about making an Apple Cinnamon Roll Cake.  Basically, you prepare a bunch of apples, place them in a pan, and then make the world’s biggest cinnamon roll and place it on top of the apples and bake.  When you turn over the finished product, you have nicely arranged baked apple pieces over cinnamon roll base.  Fantastic!  But on Thanksgiving day, the oven was always busy with lots of other good stuff, and the only pan we had available was a bit too small.  Whatever… So it had to sit out waiting for oven time, rising, longer than the half hour rising time recommended.  And when it did get in the oven, the oven had been broiling something and it got the temp settings changed, but not the “bake” option.  So instead of baking, it just kept rising!  It grew so large it overflowed the pan and kept going!  But it wasn’t cooking!  We finally diagnosed the problem, but by then it looked like Jabba the Hutt. We had to carve out the pan!  But it tasted great!  Below right is with all the extra carved off…




Between Omaha and Council Bluffs are two huge locomotives placed nose to nose overlooking I80.  We’ve driven past them countless times, and I’ve always wanted to investigate, but we’ve always been on a mission, in a hurry.  Guess what? I’m retired!  We stopped.  They claim to be two of the world’s biggest locomotives, one coal/steam powered, the other diesel/electric.

The “Big Boy” steam locomotive, #4023, was built in 1944.  It is considered the longest, heaviest and most powerful of the steam locomotives.  1.25 million pounds, 7,000 horsepower, it could move about 70mph.  This Big Boy was commissioned by the US government to help the shift from war in Europe to war in the Pacific.  It was used until 1959, after logging 829,295 miles.


These are HUGE!  No way to capture the immensity of these machines.  If you look closely you can see a little me beside a drive wheel.

Locomotive #6900 was built in 1969 for the Union Pacific Railroad, commemorating the 100 year anniversary of driving the spike that completed the first trans-continental railroad.  Hence they are called “Centennials”. #6900 had 6,600 horsepower, and could run at 85mph.  Her first mission was to be at Ogden, Utah for the Golden Spike Centennial Celebration.  She logged almost 2 million miles before retirement.




Another highlight of the trip was getting to see one of my former Dental Hygienists teaching!  Angie is now on faculty at Iowa Western Community College, teaching in their Hygiene program.  She said nice things about me, and had me do a Q & A with the class.  I felt very honored, and I think Angie is doing a great job!



We not only escaped doing any shopping on Black Friday, we escaped from a locked room!  Becky and Kevin are fans of escape rooms, as we are.  When we arrived, we saw a team being prepared for their escape room by being handcuffed together and then blindfolded, then led away!  That increased our heart rates a bit!


So then the four of us were locked in an escape room with a musical theme (no handcuffs, no blindfolds).  We had to solve many puzzles, find many keys and combinations, and even play the piano (one finger worked fine),  finally finding the last code to get out of the room.  We solved the puzzle with 8 minutes to spare!  Great fun!!


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