Teaching in Lincoln and visiting Branson, Missouri and my son

Transcribed form the little red leather journal in April 2011

May 14th, 2007

Lincoln 048 While we were in Lincoln I worked during the days and Mo checked out the town. She found Pioneer park where we rode our bikes one evening after work. She found another lovely park with a lake where Abby got to go swimming until Mo later saw the “no swimming” signs. Then at Pioneer Park Abby went swimming again, although for Abby it really is more like wading.

One evening we went to dinner at what used to be the Fireworks Grill and had steaks with Charlie (a fellow teaching soil scientist) but it turned out to be a real disappointment. Evidently the real Fireworks place has moved out of town on the south end somewhere and we never could find it. Bummer. I ended up eating out with the survey people several nights, including a night at the Cajun place, a night with Doug and Jim and Doug’s wife at the Italian place, Mo and I had pizza at Chicago Pizza and that was really great! Mo also got a chance to see the Haymarket park and sculpture downtown and to visit the capitol.

Lincoln 055 Lincoln 054 When the weekend came, we decided to leave for Branson on Friday night so that we could get there early enough of Saturday to get settled in before time for our shows. I got off work at 530 and we took off south towards Missouri. We got to go into Iowa as well on the way so we could get another state on that trip! I drove a little bit but got tired and went into the back to rest. Loved that part, although it was pretty bumpy and I finally got up around midnight and Mo said she was looking for a place to pull over. Those roads in southern Missouri don’t have much shoulder so it wasn’t easy to find. We were really surprised when we turned a corner and there was a Wal-Mart just waiting for us! Mo said, hope there are some rv’s there and as we drove around the parking lot we found a lineup and we pulled in and settled in for a good nights sleep! Thank goodness for Wal-Mart. In the morning we had a MacD’s breakfast since it was right there and then decided to take HWY 65 all the way south past Branson to Arkansas so we could get that sticker as well. The gas by the border wasn’t too expensive. Back to Branson to find our campground and we were really glad that we had switched since the other one I had originally wasn’t nearly as nice. In spite of the chain link fence, it was a comfortable place.

Lincoln 056 We settled in and didn’t have much time to get ready for our 3pm Broadway show. Decided to leave Abby in the motorhome rather than the kennels and I made sure all the windows were closed in the MoHo and we took off. Turns out that I opened the window instead of closing it and when we got back Abby had jumped out of the truck, was running around on the highway until someone found her and brought her back to the park. She was down in the kennel barking like crazy! What a horrible feeling that was. Just too close, too close to losing her. She was pretty contrite after that and we could tell she was a bit depressed and even more worried than usual.

The Broadway show was really good with lots of great costumes and fun singing. We enjoyed it. We came back to the MoHo and settled in after the trauma with Abby and got ready to go for our evening show which was “that 70’s Show”. Well, what a shock that turned out to be. The venue was a crummy old restaurant in a Ramada Inn that had been converted to a dingy bar, exactly like the 70’s. We knew something might be wrong when a tall thin woman in a very bad blond wig and heavy makeup waved us in from the parking lot. There were probably 20 people altogether in the audience. Funny thing, though, with the free cokes and popcorn and the campy entertainment, it actually turned out to be fun, with some good singing and lots of comedy. We ended up really enjoying ourselves.

Lincoln 060 Lincoln 072 Our next show wasn’t until 11 pm at the downtown Owens’s Theater. We walked around early and watched the fireworks on the River Front but when we got to the theater, the show had been cancelled. We were pretty tired anyway and so it wasn’t too hard to just go home and crawl into bed after that very busy day!

Sunday morning we got up and got ready for my son Johnny and his wife Linda to arrive, cooked a good breakfast and sat out on the covered deck overlooking the Branson trees with our morning coffee. A really lovely moment. The kids got there around 10 or so and we had a great visit. Took them first to the Duck rides. It was great fun and we all enjoyed ourselves. Then Johnny drove us around the different places where he had lived and played as a young boy and we went to the little town of Harrison? For lunch. We ate rather boring food at the Olde English Pub restaurant and then just went back to the campground and visited until they headed back for Joplin.

Lincoln 064 Mo and I got ready for our big night out at the Mickey Gilley show. This one was interesting, and kind of fun, but the people were really really old who were there. It was country music from the era after the Merle Haggard and Hank Williams Jr time and before the current time so we didn’t know the music that well, but the entertainment was still fun. Sort of campy Branson kind of entertainment I guess. I would imagine that you have to have tickets for the special appearances and special shows, some of them were already sold out when we ordered our tickets so the shows that we saw were more ordinary. After the show we walked down to the riverfront area and really enjoyed seeing how nicely they have upscaled everything there. I could definitely spend some time in that place for sure! We were really lucky because while we were in Branson it wasn’t too hot and didn’t rain or anything unpleasant at all.

Lincoln 079 Monday morning we got up and had cereal for breakfast, broke camp, and headed north by traveling across HWY 65 through the Ozarks into Oklahoma (another state) and along the eastern border of Kansas on what was called the Military Road. It was interesting to see Fort Scott and the restored buildings where 160 people lived at what was once believed to be the final frontier of the west. Back to Lincoln that evening and off to work the next morning for the field day with the students.

Tuesday evening was our chance to ride our bikes at Pioneer park and it was really lovely. Cool and breezy and very pretty and green, with a truly wonderful paved bike trail. Mo finally figured out that we could put a muzzle on Abby and she does ok in the car waiting for us. The muzzle seems to keep her calmer than when she gets herself all worked up and barking.

Wednesday morning I worked, met with the lab people, and managed to get out of the center at 11:30 when Mo picked me up in the MoHo. We bought a taco on the way out of town and headed west to Edna’s house. The trip was fairly uneventful, with clear skies and some cloudiness as we approached Colorado, but we managed to miss all the big rain storms that Edna was getting.

Off to Lincoln, Nebraska, to teach Basic Soil Survey

May 10 2007 Thursday

Lincoln 020 We left Jamestown traveling east to Winnemucca Nevada. Drove to Jackson via HWY 49 and then up 88 over the mountains. It was a great day with beautiful weather. The pass was open and the highway was clear. Abby did well on the trip and everything seemed fine. In Winnemucca we found our space, and even though it was near the highway with traffic sounds, we slept well. We made dinner in the motor home,  pretty sure we had hamburgers but I am sure that we didn’t eat out. We then went for a long walk through town via the highway. It was sunny and warm and the wind was blowing hard. We walked back behind the tracks and found the street where the Basque restaurant was that we saw last year. Quiet uneventful and delightful evening Lincoln 025in the MoHo for the first night out

5/11 2007 Friday

We got up early and had cereal and coffee before filling up with gas at the Maverick right in town. Our next destination to be Evanston, Wyoming. The day across the rest of Nevada was fun and then when we hit Utah the salt flats were really really what Melody calls “white hot nothing”. The Utah pavement couldn’t hold a candle to the Nevada pavement, though, and the bump bump bump was a pain. We stopped at a small rest area and made tuna sandwiches and took photos of the salt flats. There was an  interesting piece of sculpture along the highway that at first looked like some kind of radar tower, but as we passed it, we could see that it was some kind of intentional art. Completely out of place out there in the desert. Then, as we crossed the Nevada-Utah line we saw signs for Drug Dogs Present and all kinds of cop cars and random drug stops. Laughed to notice a few cars stopping and turning around before they got in the thick of it. As we went through it didn’t seem to be that big a deal, but the signs evidently did their trick.

Lincoln 036Later we managed to get through Salt Lake traffic without much hassle and the real hassle was driving over the pass up to Park City. It was long and steep and the MoHo really felt the pull. Finally on top as we reached Wyoming, things leveled out and got really pretty. Our little campground in Evanston was fine except for the owner who was a very old man and accidentally charged me 313 instead of 31.30. I got it straightened out later, but it was a big surprising when I found the ticket. We found a walking trail just a couple of blocks from our camp and took Abby on a nice long walk to town. Evanston was a sweet little town, with lots of museums and restored buildings all around. The park had a bandstand and the river walk was paved and signed well and full of flowers. Walking through the town was interesting, people were all lined up trying to watch an old theater being demolished that had burned. We asked what was going on and the people lined up on the sidewalk all said, “I don’t know”. Funny. Another quiet and peaceful evening in our little MoHo.

5/12/2007 Saturday

Lincoln 040 Up early since this was going to be a long day over 500 miles to North Platte with a stop in between to visit Mary Ann and Gail in Laramie. Wyoming was really lovely until we hit the over thrust belt where there were a lot of refineries and gas and oil wells. Then it got pretty again as we climbed up toward Laramie. We crossed the continental divide a couple of times and wondered how that happens. The best part was what we called the meringue mountains which was actually the back site of the Uinta range in Utah. They were really dramatic and lovely and I took a photo of them as we passed. Mid day we arrived in Laramie to visit with Mary Ann and they took us to lunch in town. Laramie was also quiet and clean and altogether enjoyable. I enjoyed seeing Mary Ann again, since we have been friends for more than 15 years now.

Lincoln Moana 013 Leaving Laramie at 2 we headed on east into Nebraska toward North Platte. About half way there we dropped down a few extra miles to get into Colorado at the little town of Julesburg just so we could put our Colorado sticker up. We had great fun adding the stickers to the MoHo window. Arrived in North Platte to another fairly simple and nice campground and made dinner again in the MoHo before a good night’s sleep.

5/13 Sunday

Mother’s Day. I wasn’t using my phone much so I didn’t talk to the kids on this moms day. We got up early again and had eggs and potatoes this time, cooked outdoors over the Lincoln 043camp stove and set out for our adventure to the Sand Hills of Nebraska. It was a nice drive, although we had to turn east on HWY 2 and didn’t have time to really explore all the way up to Valentine. Decided that it might be nice to try that sometime. We enjoyed the trip, but the winds of Nebraska are something neither of us will forget! Buffeted the old MoHo around pretty badly along HWY 2. Nebraska was pretty flat and boring, but we managed to find a small town along HWY 34 that we took to avoid the I-80 traffic and trucks. Looking for something to eat for Moms Day we found this great little Midwest place and had a moms day buffet. Just in time. There was corn fed amazing pork, fried apples, really really good corn on the cob and all sorts of goodies for 10 bucks each. Turned out to be really really fun and nice. A surprise.

On in to Lincoln along that back road and found our campsite at the CampAway park right by the freeway. It was a really nice place as well, with good facilities, close to town and Lincoln 046lots of parks and grass for Abby to play right outside our site. Even with the traffic of the freeway, the huge trees muffled the sounds and the wind sounded wonderful. I slept great there. The park was full of huge trees and green grass where Abby could play ball in the afternoons with Moana. There was a big park across the street that had Frisbee golf and we walked there one evening and watched people playing. Abby loved the walks.