Destination Denver

Lincoln, Nebraska

Our campground in Lincoln (pictured above) was greening up nicely compared to our time there in February.  While all the green stuff loved several days in a row of rain, I’ll admit we got a little tired of it!  We took a drive down south of town to a couple of Nebraska State Parks: Wagon Train and Stagecoach.  The two parks are fairly close to each other, and each of them encloses a small lake.  As you can see below, the lakes were up a couple of feet!

 

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The geese didn’t seem to mind the high water – there were dozens of goslings being guided around the park by watchful adults.

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This farm is just outside Stagecoach Park.

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North Platte, Nebraska

We’ve driven the route from Lincoln to Denver more times than I care to count, and most often we stop at the midway point for fuel.  So all North Platte has meant to us was fast food and fuel.  This trip we decided to take it easy and spend the night there.

Our campground was quiet and very close to the Famous (?) Fort Cody.

 

Fort Cody is one of those tourist traps that you always drive by, but where you never stop.  Turns out “Buffalo Bill” Cody drove stagecoaches into North Platte from Kearney in 1865, and opened his “Wild West Show” here in 1893.  This “Fort,” is apparently full of his memorabilia, but I don’t know for sure, since the virus has shut it down.  I’m sure it was open the thousands of times I’ve driven right by, but the one time I have the time to check it out, it’s closed.  Ha!

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Tourists may not currently be allowed inside, but manikins still guard the walls, apparently from guests of the nearby Hampton Inn.

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Muffler Men

Bob Prewitt, in 1962, made a huge fiberglass sculpture of Paul Bunyan for the Paul Bunyan Cafe on Route 66 in Flagstaff, Arizona.  Paul held a huge axe in his hands, right hand palm up, and left hand palm down.  Prewitt’s fiberglass company was bought out the following year by a boatbuilder, who figured they could build more of these 20 foot titans fairly easily.  Many sprung up along Route 66 and other places around the country to lure people off the road and into shops, museums, restaurants and more.  So many were used by muffler shops (the hands held mufflers easily) that they became known as “Muffler Men.”  As the years went by, many morphed into other characters.  I was pleased to find that Fort Cody includes a Muffler Man turned Indian.  As most of the surviving Muffler Men, the pose is the same; looking a bit awkward without an axe or muffler!

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We decided to walk for a little exercise and exploration on a quest for groceries.  We used our little Burley trailer… and tried to get this chapped and saddled dinosaur to help pull it, but he wasn’t about to join in.  Posing for the picture was all the effort he was willing to expend.

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Now we’re back in the Denver area – at a nice campground nestled around a big rock outcropping.  The sky is beautiful and things are still very green.  Again, when we were here in February, we saw more snow than green…

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Last night was beautiful… and I love trying night photography.  This shot (at 10:30pm) is all Colorado… an SUV, with kayaks and bikes, in front of a rocky outcropping and a gorgeous sky.  Love it!

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That rocky hill beside the camp used to have a walking path up the middle.  It’s been closed for a long time, but at night this locked entrance took on a somewhat spooky look. On that strange note, I’ll close this blog.

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UN-L

Last week I showed a bit of old downtown Lincoln… on a bike ride this week we ended up touring University of Nebraska – Lincoln, and we were amazed at the size and architecture of this campus!

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The chemistry building looks impressive, until you compare it in size to the Huskers Stadium right behind it!  Says something about priorities…

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The Museum of Natural History is guarded by a huge Mastodon.

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The bell tower above has this plaque on the side… It plays beautifully… quite nice thank-you notes!

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Don L. Love

Love was Lincoln’s mayor for two non-consecutive terms, six years in between 1909 and 1931.  He donated money to Union College in 1939, and after his death his estate donated to UN-L.  Consequently, both Union College and University of Nebraska- Lincoln have buildings named for Don Love.  

Below is UN-L’s Don Love Library:

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Johnny Carson

Johnny Carson grew up from age 8 in Norfolk, Nebraska.  After high school, he hitchhiked to Hollywood, and the world was never the same.  Something of Nebraska must have stayed in his heart, however… Three months before his death, he gave $5.3 Million to the University of Nebraska Foundation, which was used to create the Johnny Carson School of Theater and Film.  Another $5 million was donated by his estate after his death.  So below is one of the Carson buildings.

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“Torn Notebook”

This huge metal sculpture apparently reminds student to hold tightly to their notebooks in high Nebraska winds.

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Johnny Carson’s name is on the door of this huge “Temple”.

 

This artsy building is where apparently someone lost his head… It reminded me of Medusa’s Head sculptures in the huge cistern underneath the city of Istanbul… but that’s another story…

 

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North Bottoms Neighborhood

Many Germans moved to Russia in the early 1800’s, promised free land, exemption from Russian Military and political autonomy.  When the Czar revoked those privileges in 1971, a flood of German emigration to the Americas began.  Lincoln was a great destination, with land and jobs available.  Most took advantage of “Bottom Lands” along Salt Creek, where frequent flooding reduced land values and the rail yards offered jobs.  The many homes in the area show a mixture of architectural styles – some like the “Old Country” and some more American.

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The neighborhood is not too terribly far from our campground, but we haven’t explored the area very much.  Here are a couple of examples:

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PS: the Iris blooming in the sunset are in our campground north of the North Bottoms Neighborhood.

Downtown Lincoln

 

 

The boundaries of Lancaster County, Nebraska were drawn up in 1855, and settlers started arriving soon after.  A Methodist Elder was among them, and he staked out claims and laid out the township of Lancaster.  He erected a two story building used as a female seminary and governmental meeting hall.  (It burned down in 1867).  A Methodist Church was built in his center of town, which was later replaced with the huge church in the picture above.

The State Capital Commission designated Lancaster as the new seat of State Government in 1867, and renamed it Lincoln to honor the martyred President.

 

This Telephone Building interested me with its covered emergency exit stairway.  Covered only to the second floor… maybe the Telephone people rented out the top floor to others they didn’t care much about?  It’s covered far higher than would be needed to keep baddies from jumping on it from the ground (Batman hadn’t been thought up yet).  It looks original, since the windows are staggered to allow room for it.

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Whoever works in Woods Brothers was practicing social distancing with her mask on.

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Several buildings have entrances or windows covered with nice canopies.  And the many covered walkways over the streets would make you think the weather is often bad here!

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This one even has huge pedestrians built in!

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The old Gold’s Department store building was completed in 1924, abandoned in 1980, and has had many abortive attempts to remodel/restore it.  Someone is trying again, and hopes it will house a fancy hotel in a couple of years.  I’ll keep you posted.

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There are signs up promising the “Return of Downtown Lincoln” is coming soon…

 

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It’s already an interesting blend of old and new.

 

 

The Sharp Tower building was finished in 1927.  At sixteen floors it was a skyscraper!

 

Sometimes the old and new are in close proximity…

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This building reflects patterns of buildings across the street.

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This next one is a microwave tower, that from what I’ve read, is abandoned.  It was supposedly given its unique shape to help it blend in with downtown architecture.  It this Mission Accomplished?

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The Lied Center is a modern concert/performance center.

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Near the train station there are many quaint shops and restaurants.

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We went to Leadbelly’s last time we were here (Remember the Cinnamon Roll Burger?) but I never noticed there is a caboose squeezed up against one end of the building!

 

Speaking of squeezed, this guy somehow squeezed his beautiful ’57 Chevy into this short thing.  Maybe to fit in this little shop squeezed between two much more stately buildings.

 

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Almost adjacent to the train station is a funny little alley with sculptures down the whole length – up out of reach.

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Other places boast interesting sculptures also:

 

And I rest easier knowing that should a proper emergency arrive, the Emergency Donut Vehicle is ready to respond!

 

 

Social distancing is also being practiced by an overweight bench sitter, and even the fire hydrant is asking to be avoided!

 

 

Walker Tire was founded a LONG time ago.  Bought later by a car enthusiast, it is now run by his kids and grandkids… they have 4 locations in Lincoln, and I went there when the Tire Pressure Monitoring system on the Suburban gave me some screwy readings.  Turns out that in the past, when someone rotated the tires, they didn’t recalibrate the sensors, so the system was reporting low pressure in the left rear when really it was the right front.  Walker recalibrated the sensors, but over the next few days the right front leaked about 7 pounds out… so today I had them attempt to fix the leak.  A staple and a screw in the tire.  Sigh.  We’ll see if it works.  The tires are close to needing replacement… maybe that will be next week’s story!

 

 

 

American Business Starting Up Again?

Lincoln, Nebraska

We’re back in Lincoln, probably for a few weeks… spending a bit of time with family.  We’ve had a couple of days in the 80’s – a nice time to have dinner Al Fresco!

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Bike Ride

Across the highway and down a bit is a nice park.  We took the bikes and explored a bit.  It seems there is so much “Flying Saucer” traffic that they warn you to take care.  We saw a few Frisbee-Flingers, but were never seriously threatened.

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Shocking News

A couple of weeks ago I closed the blog with the hint that the following blog might have “Shocking Project”.  It was a ridiculous teaser, since I was planning on replacing the front shocks on our home.  (How long has it been since you replaced the shocks on YOUR home??)  I actually did it, but didn’t take any pictures, and if there are no pictures I can’t tell if it really happened!  I spend too much time on the RV forums, and have read a lot about a certain KONI shock absorber that will help Freightliner Chassis Motorhomes ride better.  Ours rides like a dream – when the road is pretty smooth.  But when there is a pothole or big ridge in the pavement, it feels like it hits really hard.  So thinking any improvement is good, and having far too much time available, I ordered the shocks.  Installing them was every bit as much work as I’d expected, but with a tool borrowed from helpful neighbor David (The one buying the hunk of Arizona), I got ’em done.  Then didn’t test drive them for a week or so.  When we finally moved, last week, we found they were (Wait for it…         ) … fine. Cherryl is very polite, and knowing how hard I worked to change them, said it felt a bit better.  But in reality, I can’t say I feel a difference.  Maybe they will last longer, or… something else better.

 

DI Tanks

Last year I installed a pressure washer and some De-Ionizer tanks under the front end of our Motorhome.  It’s really wonderful – De-Ionized water doesn’t leave any spots or streaks when it dries, so it makes cleaning the Motorhome easier and better.  The problem is that I had to winterize the system before the frightfully cold winter.  I apparently didn’t do it well enough, because when I tried to de-winterize it, nothing worked well.  It turns out the “Distribution Tubes” in each tank cracked, so the resin inside the tanks got in the wrong places and contaminated itself.  The good news is that the pressure washer is still OK, and the parts for the DI Tanks and new uncontaminated resin are supposed to arrive tomorrow.

 

Cracked Windshield

It was terrifically windy one day on our trip to Lincoln.  The first time I’ve really felt the wind try to push our Motorhome around.  We drove a long ways on a two lane road, and when trucks going the other way passed us, the wind was dramatic.  That afternoon, when we stopped, we noticed a crack in our windshield!  Ouch!  We’ve already gotten an estimate from the manufacturer, where we are planning some work next month anyway.  I won’t say it’s astronomical, but it is over four times what I paid for my first car! (Which says something about the quality of my first car and how long ago that was!)

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The Country is Opening Up for Business!

On a walk in my brother-in-law’s neighborhood we saw this nice evidence that the country is opening up again…  cute kids must have decided the overhead on a lemonade stand it too high… so they are selling jokes!  And payment is delivered with a small bucket on a long stick, to maintain social distancing.  Very cute.

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On the Road Again!

Our next-door neighbors in Kingman were David and Glenda.  A very nice couple, they had just purchased a good hunk of Arizona land near there.  They plan to live in their 5th wheel trailer on site, as they build their home.  They already have a septic system in place, have moved a water tank into place (with a well to be dug soon), and will use solar to meet their electrical needs.  They also have that shiny red tractor that I showed on a previous blog!  What could be cooler?  Except an invitation to visit the property…

 

Just before you reach their very secluded site, you drive through what looks like a fairly well maintained ghost town.  I guess it is a Dude Ranch that never really took off.  It’s a cool place anyway.

 

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This area is open range, so you see many cows open ranging around…

 

Here we are with David and Glenda – and off to tour the 80 acres!

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Just outside of their property is this abandoned house.  We didn’t go in (Social Distancing!) but were told that it looks like the owner just disappeared!  Even left a note of some kind on the table.  A bit of a puzzle.

 

The desert views from the property are stunning.

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Glenda called this “Jesus’ Tomb”

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Of course, I had to shoot some of the spring color growing out of the desert.

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Here is a greatly-shortened video I shot of their property…

 

 

Finally Moving!

It was finally time for us to move!  Family called us to Lincoln, and since everything is closed due to the virus, we decided to pretty much drive straight there and not stop at all the interesting points along the way.

Before we left, Cherryl got a bit of baking done.  Here she uses the grinder to grind the wheat into flour, and then the Bosch to mix it, and producing some wonderful whole wheat bread!

 

Adjacent to our campground in Gallup, New Mexico, was a large wash that looked like a fun place to test the Suburban’s sand cliff climbing abilities.  Too bad we didn’t have time for the test!

 

I have no pictures of the campground in Dalhart, Texas.  Maybe that says something.

 

We shared a campground with some Bison (Metallic) in Salina, Kansas.

 

Taking on fuel…

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And finally arriving in Lincoln, Nebraska

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Current plans have us staying in Lincoln for a while.  It is far greener than when we were last here in February!