Wyoming 2016:
Day 8 - Lincoln, NE


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Wyoming 2016: [Day 1 - Moline, IL] [Day 2 - Mitchell, SD] [Day 3 - Keystone, SD] [Day 4 - Gillette, WY] [Day 5 - Casper, WY] [Day 6 - Laramie, WY] [Day 7 - Cheyenne, WY] [Day 8 - Lincoln, NE] [Day 9 - Pella, IA]

Friday, November 25, 2016: Mileage: 2245; departure time: 7:15 AM.
An hour and a half later, we were on dirt road outside Gothenburg, Nebraska, headed to ...
... the Swedish Crosses Cemetery.
It's a small patch of land that houses the gravestones of ...
... three children who died between 1885 and 1889.
Singne Ester Berg was not quite four months old when she died in July 1885.
Her brother, Carl Alfred Berg, was three months old when he died the next year in September 1886.
The third grave belongs to their brother, Gustave Andrew Berg, who had just turned two when he died in August 1889.
In the guest registry mailbox attached to the fence, we found this laminated 4H report by Emma Peterson, written in 2015. We photographed every page. Nice job, Emma!
Back on mighty I-80 near Kearney, Nebraska, we spotted this huge thing over the road.
We could not resist finding out what it was. Whatever it was, it was clearly designed for tourists to visit, what with the buffalo statue here and additional buffalo wire sculptures in the attached park (visible in the distance in this photo).
Huh? This looked like a vintage motel sign that said, "Now Playing: In Search of the Oregon Trail."
Hmmm, this thing has a name: The Great Platte River Road Archway. Well, okay, let's go inside.
Whoa. Apparently that thing that stretches over the freeway is some sort of educational amusement park ride. For $12 each, you ride up the escalator into some sort of attraction. We could hear sounds coming out of it, but we didn't have enough interest to spend the time or money to see it.
Instead, we visited the gift shop for a few minutes. We didn't buy this extremely true sign, but we did buy a couple of ugly sweater bottle covers and an arrowhead for our souvenir shadowbox.
A couple of hours later, we were in Lincoln.
This street contained many banners with Abe Lincoln's face on them.
In the distance, we saw the state capitol (on the right) and the University of Nebraska's stadium (on the left). Cornhusker references were everywhere.
We were here specifically to visit the local Winchell's. Debbie loved Winchell's when she was young, but now they are only located in a handful of states, including Nebraska. This location is shared with two other businesses, Amigos and Kings Classic.
We had already called both locations to see if they had French crullers (or French donuts, as their website calls them). Nope. Neither location seemed to have even heard of them, but as of 2014, the Las Vegas location still sold them. We managed to dull the pain of disappointment by selecting other flavors to take with us.
Shortly before 2:00, we reached the Strategic Air Command and Aerospace Museum. We were greeted by a very imposing B-1B Lancer Bomber.
The parking lot has an impressive display of ICBMs. On the left is an SM-65D Atlas and on the right is a PGN-17A Thor. Both ICBMs were later modified to be orbital-class launch vehicles used by NASA for the space program.
This is an SM-62 Snark ground-launched cruise missle.
This is SLV-1 Blue SCOUT (Solid Controlled Orbital Utility Test) rocket.
Strategic Air Command was merged with US Space Command and is now part of the larger United States Strategic Command.
Another shot of the B-1B that stands in front of the museum.
An SR-71 Blackbird hangs in the lobby.
Here's a little educational play area for the tots.
Let's go look at the planes.
You can see how the CH-21B got the nickname of "Flying Banana."
A color version of the Strategic Air Command logo.
There were NASA-related items tucked away in one corner of the main aircraft display area.
This Apollo Command Module test article was used in the unmanned test flights of the Saturn launch vehicle prior to the manned launch of Apollo 7.
There was a section set aside for Clay Anderson, one of Nebraska's astronauts, and a member of the ISS Expedition 15 crew.
This is a prototype X-38 Crew Return Vehicle, intended to be used as a lifeboat for returning astronauts from the International Space Station.
This Space Shuttle cockpit simulator was used to test new avionics equipment and software.
This Rolls Royce jet engine was produced by the Bristol Engine Division, in Filton, England. Debbie's first business trip overseas was to the same company in 1985, because Rolls-Royce used her company's software to design their jet engine documentation.
An F-102A, one of the first supersonic fighter-interceptors.
The B-29 Superfortress was the exclusive bomber used by SAC when it was established in 1949.
A MiG-21F Fishbed, wearing the markings of the North Vietnamese Air Force.
This is a control console for an ICBM launch site.
This shows the layout of an underground Minuteman ICBM silo.
Another console from an ICBM silo.
This jelly bean display is a representation of the ratio of dark matter in the universe to atomic matter. It is also a very good use of undelicious black jelly beans.
This plaque is dedicated to the concept that the USA, and specifically Stategic Air Command, won the cold war. In the open space behind this plaque, people were setting up for a wedding ceremony.
This is the B-58 USAF Supersonic Bomber. Debbie's dad used to work on supersonic airplanes in the early 70s.
There was a large display on the role of women in aviation, from the early days of flight up to the latest NASA astronauts.
A U2 spy plane hangs stealthily above the hanger floor.
This cut-away model shows the various sections of the EC-135 aircraft known as "Looking Glass", an airborne command post that could serve all of the functions of SAC headquarters in the event of a nuclear war. At least one EC-135 was always in the air from 1961 until 1990.
There was an extensive display on the Tuskegee Airman, and their role in World War II.
A section of the museum featured a display on the role of the B-25 Mitchell bomber in the Doolittle raid on Toyko. This aircraft had the left side of the fuselage removed so that you could see inside it.
Notice the Lucky Strike cigarettes stuck to the side of the cockpit.
The bombardier station in the nose was accessed by a tunnel under the cockpit.
The B-36J Peacemaker was the largest production bomber ever built. Nicknamed the "Magnesium Monster," it was the first bomber designed to reach targets in Europe from bases in the United States. It featured four jet engines and six pusher-type propeller engines.
The tail-guns on a B-17 Flying Fortress.
The B-17 was powered by nine-cylinder radial engines.
After looking at every plane in the place, Debbie got to go to the gift shop, but we left empty-handed since she already had a stash of astronaut ice cream from Sunday's trip to the South Dakota Air & Space Museum.
We crossed the Platte River for the hundredth - and final - time.
Just before Omaha, we turned off into a suburb where we saw what was going on in the real world -- Black Friday shopping, with cars parked on grass because the shopping center was overflowing. Glad we missed that mess.
After a lunch of donuts, we were ready for a hot meal, so we went to a regional chain restaurant, Runza, which features buns stuffed with ground beef, seasonings, and other toppings. Debbie opted for the Runza sandwich stuffed with Swiss cheese and mushrooms, and Tom went for the Southwest version, of course. Our meals came with crinkle cut fries and onion rings. Overall, the food was fine, but we weren't immediately addicted.
There's a Union Pacific museum in Council Bluffs that we'd be missing on this trip because we had decided to forego staying overnight in Lincoln and instead drive straight to Pella. This railroad display on the Omaha side of the river reminded us that we'd have to come back someday to spend more time in both towns.
We crossed the Missouri River into Iowa.
At the 24th Street exit, we encountered these monstrosities.
Here's a closeup of two of them. We discovered that these things can be easily found by Googling "council bluffs ugly sculpture." It turns out that these four things together have a name: Odyssey by Albert Paley. To be fair, these probably look much better up close. At least, we hope they do.
By 5:00 PM, the sun was down and we had a sunset at our back.
We encountered more windmills, ...
... and were amazed to see a single windmill blade as the featured artwork at a rest area. Sadly, the rest area on our side of the highway didn't have one, so we didn't get to see one up close. This photo is very blurry, but it gives you a sense of scale. That thing at its base is the rest area building.
More sunset and more windmills.
We passed through Des Moines around 6:00 PM. Iowa has a very beautiful state capital, but attempts to photograph it were unsuccessful.
Less than an hour later, we arrived in Pella. Everything was closed, but we got out to take photos in the pretty town square.
A block away, the Vermeer Windmill stood silently watching the town.
This side of the square features the two rival bakeries we'd be visiting in the morning.
Here's Jaarsma Bakery.
It has a gift shop attached to it right next door, so we peered in that window and got a shot of the bakery as seen from the gift shop side.
We passed Ulrich Meats next. It is the oldest retail store in Pell, established in 1868.
We got a photo of its meat and cheese goodness. It didn't open early enough the next morning for us to visit it, which is probably best.
Here's Vander Ploeg Bakery, ...
... and its pretty Christmas display.
The square was lit up in Christmas lights.
Here's another side of the square.
We drove past the huge 134 ft. Vermeer Windmill.
Even the local Walmart is decorated with a Dutch flair.

We checked into Baymont Inn for the evening.

Day 9 >


Wyoming 2016: [Day 1 - Moline, IL] [Day 2 - Mitchell, SD] [Day 3 - Keystone, SD] [Day 4 - Gillette, WY] [Day 5 - Casper, WY] [Day 6 - Laramie, WY] [Day 7 - Cheyenne, WY] [Day 8 - Lincoln, NE] [Day 9 - Pella, IA]

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