Omaha - Follow the Son
Last week's ride had been planned for months but we did not anticipate the impact that nature would have on us or our route from Ohio to Nebraska.
My boy's summer ball team was flying out to play in an Omaha baseball tournament running in conjunction with the College World Series. It didn't take long for us to plan this as a getaway ride, maybe spend a few minutes with our son, catch some baseball and do some camping near the Platt River.
We planned to stay over in Galesburg Ill. the first night then leave the slab behind and hop onto US 34 for a southern route across Iowa. Galesburg had a boil alert and the PM news was about Burlington's efforts to protect the town and residents from the slow but relentless disaster. Dinner was had at Jalisco's Mexican diner. The establishment's salsa will not win any awards but we found their shrimp fajitas and the flautas delicious after 450 miles in the saddle. In the morning the NBC Today Show was reporting live from the area and US 34 was closed. Our detour plan took us up I-74 towards I-80 after we had learned I-80 had reopened. Here is a shot of the swollen Mississippi from the back of our RT as we crossed over I-280 south of the Quad Cities.
The final 350 mile leg into Omaha was pleasent but the loss of cropland through central Iowa was devastating. We could feel, and smell, the helplessness of a region that had been altered by the flooding. As we traversed Iowa toward Nebraska our thoughts were with those who suffered losses.
West of Omaha we pitched our tent lakeside at Two Rivers Recreation area near the confluence of the Platt and Elkhorn Rivers. With an unsettling weather forecast we decided to turn off the foreboding NOAH weather guy and enjoy nature. The nearly full moon brought fabulous light onto the lowlands and accented odd cloud formations as it climbed into the sky. The peaceful night would bring sounds of bull frogs, Great Blue Herons and Barn Owls that blended into a chorus of bird songs early in the morning. This is living.
Day two brought good baseball and chit chat about our journey with astounded parents who flew in, rented boring cars and paid two bills a night for hotels in Omaha. The second night was a real roller coaster that found us either buttoned up in the Eureka Pinnacle Pass tent or out at the campfire that somehow survived the pelting rain and hail. We awoke at 3 AM to vivid light that had to be a car or park ranger. No, just another brilliant moon that finally won out over the storms.
We had planned to head north to see Sioux Falls S. Dakota then through Minnesota, Wisconsin, ferry across Lake Michigan and back to Ohio through Michigan. But that adventure will be for another time. Since our son was in the mix and the team was overachieving we stayed on for a few days then headed back east. US 34 was still under water so it was back I-80 to I-74, a gas stop in Peoria and some night riding into Bloomington Ill. A wonderful Italian eatery, can't go wrong kind of place, was found at the corner of Market and Main. Not just because we were hungry, but Luccos is the real deal. For sure though, even great food tastes better after many miles are behind you.
See you on the road,
We sampled some interesting eats in west Omaha. The Upstream Brewery features beautiful original artwork on their walls, distinctive microbrews and unique appetizers like portebello fries. And then there was the Stumble Inn. HUGE burgers are two for one on Wednesdays. On Thursdays they crank up the mechanical bull. No, we did not sample that.
Back at the Two Rivers campground, even the inclement weather did not go by without reward....