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Author Topic: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks  (Read 33999 times)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« on: September 24, 2011, 09:07:48 AM »
Day 3                     Grand Junction, CO

We are off on our adventure to Iowa (?) and Missouri.  We have done our homework, but schedules have changed, so our itinerary is going to be fluid (in fact, I fear it may look like we have been imbibing a bit!)  The main reason that we chose to visit Missouri is to spend time with our best friends at their new 31-acre pride and joy.  It is all forested, has lots of wild turkeys, Canadian geese, furry animals whose eyes glow in the dark,  a 5-acre fishing lake, and a lovely home.  They worked hard all their lives, and they deserve this piece of paradise.  Unfortunately, they will be coming back to CA in early to mid-October, because they have reservations for a week in Sedona that they had made prior to purchase.  So we may go south to them and come back north to visit the rest of Iowa—a circle route.  Right now, it’s one day at a time.

Day 1—We drove from Cypress to Las Vegas, stopping at the M Casino on the southern outskirts of town.  I discovered this place when looking for a casino my daughter could enjoy.  She’s highly allergic to tobacco smoke, and I was told that the M was all non-smoking.  It isn’t, but it has the best ventilation I’ve seen (smelled?) in any casino anywhere.  We called ahead to ask about RV parking, and a security guard met us and escorted us to a locked big-rig parking lot.  Very nice!  The buffet at the M is very large and has a lot of Asian food, as well as American food.  Hot food is hot, cold food is cold, lettuce and vegetables are crisp, and  sliced fruit is ripe.  It is very nice, but not elegant like the Wynn.  However, it’s also half the price.  It is a very large casino, very modern, and very clean.  I have stopped there 3 times, and their slots have paid me each time.  I think this is a good omen!  We are going to have a lucky trip and no problems on this trip.  My husband won at blackjack, and my friends have also had only winning experiences there.  I know that players’ dollars pay for the employees and the nice facilities, but so far it hasn’t been this player’s money.  We ate dinner and rolled into Bally’s about 10:00. They have big-rig parking behind the casino, and we checked in with security once we were registered in the hotel.  They do patrols of the area where we parked the coach.

Day 2—We slept late and went to see “The Lion King” at Mandalay Bay.  I got front row tickets for $80 total cost through travelzoo.com—and that was about 40% off.  The show was amazing—it really was an extravaganza.  Words can’t describe it—but if you have a chance to see it, don’t miss it!  We saw “Jersey Boys” last time, and it was also terrific!  Try travelzoo for your area—they have sporting events and all kinds of performances—and they have saved us lots of money—and who doesn’t love to save money?

Day 3—We started off the day early, but on the wrong foot, and it was an omen of things to come.  I had a coupon good for a free buffet at 7 Harrah’s properties.  They listed the buffets by title, not by hotel, and I thought surely they had all the hotels in Vegas covered.  NOT!  The Paris Buffet is the only Harrah’s buffet not listed (I learned its name is “Le Buffet”.  They had “The Buffet” on  the coupon, but it’s at a different site in Vegas.)  Anyway, we had a delicious, if expensive, breakfast.

The RV needed gas, and Dean knew that Flying J and Pilot had merged, and that only one was still open.  So I used my handy iPhone and discovered that the Pilot was the one we needed.  AVOID THE NORTH LAS VEGAS PILOT AT ALL COSTS!!!  First, we drove into the “AUTO” entrance, which would have worked, but the only pump with diesel was the very first one—not possible to turn that quick.  This place is beyond “busy”—and this was a weekday.  People were honking at us because they wanted out of their parking places for the store.  Dean finally pulled into the end pump, and it didn’t have diesel.  So he decided to circle around back.  We ended up in the pocket parking lot for Pilot’s KFC.  He had to detach the Jeep in order to get out of the pickle we were in.  He was going to make 2 lefts to go down to the “TRUCK” entrance, when we saw that there was a huge truck totally blocking the 4 way signaled-intersection.  Traffic was a nightmare, so we turned right and returned to I-15.  7 miles north there is a great PETRO station.  We paid $3.96.9 per gallon.  I don’t know how that compares, but there isn’t enough savings to ever make me go back to that Pilot—and, I truly love a bargain.

We sailed along great for a couple of hours—until I-15N came to a dead stop.  We just turned off the engine and waited.  Eventually, cars started moving slowly.  Then we saw an “Accident Ahead” sign, and everyone had to merge into one lane—not my idea of fun, though people were very courteous.  As we passed by what must have been the accident site, they were picking up the cones, and it was totally clear sailing.  While no one likes a delay, I always think of the people involved in the accident whose day was so much worse than mine, say a prayer for them and a “Thank you, God” for us.

I-15 in Utah is dreary, and we pushed further than we would have liked because there was a lack of spots that we wanted to stay the night.  There were rest stops, but they are our last choice.  We decided to go all the way to Grand Junction because I had in my notes that the Wal-Mart Supercenter there was wonderful.  We got into the lot at 10:00, only to be greeted by a “NO OVERNIGHT RV PARKING” sign.  I had a long list of supplies that I wanted, too!  We had passed a Cabela’s on our way to the Wal-Mart, and we decided to give it a go.  And it worked!  So we had a quick microwave dinner at 11:30, and Dean went to bed, and I wrote my log.

We went far safely today, but I hope tomorrow will be an easier day.

Miles traveled:  508   
Weather: Vegas 84° when we left—Grand Junction 62° when we arrived.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Betty Brewer

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2011, 09:54:14 AM »
Oh Linda, how I love your travels.  To  write in your journal after the day you had sure shows  your commitment to your RVing friends. Sorry you had to travel so many miles in one day and that your  buffet was not as advertised.  Your homework  is impressive.  I had a little chuckle over your Pilot experience as we had  something similar yesterday at the  Pilot in Butte MT.  It is on our list to never return, but we did not have to detach, however  we did travel through a bumpy dirt lot filled with construction vehicles and moved twice to  get to a working pump.

Keep your stories coming!
Betty Brewer

see where we are

gmsboss1

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2011, 10:17:11 AM »
Linda!  So glad Dean and you are on the road again and sharing your travels with us. Thanks!

Don
Don and Mary Ann (Pelicanlady) Nesbitt
Cary, NC
2007 Fleetwood Excursion 40X
2012 Jeep GC Overland 4x4 Hemi Toad
Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the number of moments that take our breath away!

Tom and Margi

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2011, 10:21:02 AM »
What a nice surprise to "see" you back on the forum sharing your travels (and a few travails!) with us.  I so love reading your travelogues.
 
Margi

ArdraF

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2011, 02:43:21 PM »
Oh, Linda, that old Flying J at the north end of Las Vegas is awful.  You actually could have done worse by accidentally getting into the truck wash lane!  ;)  There's one entrance/exit and it's usually very crowded.  We use the T/A at the south end of town across from the Silverton casino and I would recommend it (at the Pahrump/Windmill exit) for in-town refueling.  It's easy to pull into.  It's often crowded too but not like the Flying J/Pilot at the Cheyenne/Losee exit.  The trickiest part is exiting, primarily because it's right in the middle of an "S" curve so it's nice to have another set of eyes watching.

Once again enjoying your trip report.  It will be fun to see where you end up!

ArdraF

ArdraF
:D :D

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2011, 03:55:26 PM »
Oh Linda, that Grand Junction Walmart has NEVER allowed overnight RV parking. Next time you're traveling that way, get off at Rabbit Valley (exit 2, I think) and go to the south side of the interstate. There's a big ole BLM area and you can park right at the entrance or drive in a mile or more to their dispersed camping.
 
I do enjoy reading your adventures.
 
Wendy
home in Cortez
 
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #6 on: September 24, 2011, 08:51:26 PM »
Oh Linda, that Grand Junction Walmart has NEVER allowed overnight RV parking. Next time you're traveling that way, get off at Rabbit Valley (exit 2, I think) and go to the south side of the interstate. There's a big ole BLM area and you can park right at the entrance or drive in a mile or more to their dispersed camping.
 
I do enjoy reading your adventures.
 
Wendy
home in Cortez

We stayed there, with the manager's permission, on June 30, 2011 (on our way home from CO), which by the way, we passed through today on I-70 and I-76.  I think I just called ahead, like I always do, and he said, "Come on in."  I always get the name of the person I talk to so that if there is a problem, it is easier to resolve. This time, I had it in my notes that it was "great" (obviously, probably because no one else was there and we had our choice of spots), and I was so tired when we got there, I didn't even think about calling on the spot.

However, I am going to put the info you gave me in my CO state file on my computer, and we'll use it next time.

This makes 2 trips through CO without seeing you.  Dean was yammering at me just today about Quartzite and seeing ya'll there.  Driving through CO brought back great memories of the fun times we had last spring.  It's good to hear from you.

Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #7 on: September 24, 2011, 08:58:33 PM »
We use the T/A at the south end of town across from the Silverton casino and I would recommend it (at the Pahrump/Windmill exit) for in-town refueling.  It's easy to pull into.    It will be fun to see where you end up!

ArdraF

I'll add this to my NV file.  We have used that T/A several times to refuel the car, and we will use it next time.  Thanks for the reminder. 

  Dean didn't mention gas until we were leaving, so we were kind of stuck because we had already gone a several miles north.

We've never blown with the wind like we are this time.  It will fun for us to see where we end up!
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2011, 09:00:49 PM »
You must have lucked out at the Jct WM back in June because it really is known as a "no overnight parking" WM and always has been. Glad you at least had one good night there ! I think you'll find Rabbit Valley a much nicer place.....just don't tell anyone about it, keep it our little secret :)
 
So are you going home via Cortez? Or are we going to have to get together when we're in so Cal this winter? We'll be in Anza Borrego mid-November thru mid-December before heading to the coast. And I think you are due for a Quartzsite visit....remember how much fun you had shopping?
 
Wendy
 
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2011, 09:05:04 PM »
  I had a little chuckle over your Pilot experience as we had  something similar yesterday at the  Pilot in Butte MT.  It is on our list to never return, but we did not have to detach, however  we did travel through a bumpy dirt lot filled with construction vehicles and moved twice to  get to a working pump.

Keep your stories coming!

Thanks, Betty!  Good to hear from you, and misery does love company!  It's sad that you had to deal with the Pilot problem, too.  I am going to contact corporate, because Pilot needs better signing and to be more RV friendly.  There are competitors out there, and if they don't take simple, inexpensive steps like putting up good signage for RVers, we can go somewhere that will.

I hope my future stories are more fun-filled.  We start the "vacation" part of the trip tomorrow.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2011, 09:07:40 PM »
I'm trying to think of places along I-15. There's a nice little BLM campground on the Arizona strip. There's also a nice Passport America park in southern Utah, in Kannaraville, I think. I'll have to check my DeLorme Utah book and see what I have marked and let you know for "next time."
 
Enjoy the rest of your trip. At least it's not 110 degrees !
 
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2011, 09:22:49 PM »
I think you'll find Rabbit Valley a much nicer place.....just don't tell anyone about it, keep it our little secret :)
 
So are you going home via Cortez? Or are we going to have to get together when we're in so Cal this winter? We'll be in Anza Borrego mid-November thru mid-December before heading to the coast. And I think you are due for a Quartzsite visit....remember how much fun you had shopping?
 
Wendy

Posting on RVForum is not secretive!  You have to go to the "my messages" part, and it's just like teaching.  When I find out something that is good and works, I just can't keep it to myself.  We had one school where the teachers competed with each other and kept their projects and ideas to themselves so the other teachers at that grade level wouldn't be able to use them.  My read on it was, "Who is thinking about the kids?  If we can make learning fun, exciting, and more interesting, that's what we should be doing."  They actually were so competitive and cold that a good teacher who transferred there retired early, rather than dealing with them (and, yes, I am sad to say, they were ALL women!)  Anyway, personal stuff I can keep a tight lid on, but if I find out something that makes RVing more enjoyable, I tell everyone because all of you have shared SO MUCH with me.  I know you were kidding, and I hope the next time you go to Rabbit Valley it isn't full.  If so....blame me.

Your guess is as good as mine as to what route we will be taking home---because we aren't sure of how far south we will be going.  I don't think we'll have time, but I'd love to go down to the Gulf and see the migrated ducks that left before we came in the spring of our Texas trip.  The only place I can say for sure we'll be is Missouri, and a few days in Iowa...but if we loop back, we may do all of Iowa.  If we can see you without going WAY out of our way, we will.

I'd much rather do Anza-Borrego than Quartzite.  Shopping there...yeah, right!  Dean brought that up.  Everything I bought was JUNK, except for one vegetable peeler that is awesome--I never thought I could love a peeler, but I do.

Call me, or e-mail me, when you know your SoCal itinerary.  We will definitely meet up.  Unfortunately, when I get home, I get so involved with home things that I don't look on the Forum as much as I would like.  I know that you are from the area, but we have some favorite haunts. 

Now, we have to go into the Wal-Mart in Sterling and buy what I couldn't buy last night.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2011, 09:26:23 PM »
What a nice surprise to "see" you back on the forum sharing your travels (and a few travails!) with us.  I so love reading your travelogues.
 
Margi

You always make me feel so good--even when I'm tired.  You get my "get up" going!
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2011, 09:28:17 PM »
Now, we have to go into the Wal-Mart in Sterling and buy what I couldn't buy last night.

You're in Sterling....if you have time, look at the carved trees...lots of them all over town. Can't remember if it was disease or a storm that killed off the trees and left just trunks but they're worth a drive to see.
 
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
~We can't be lost because we don't care where we're going~
Here's where we are http://map.datastormusers.com/user2.cfm?user=2276
2015 Allegro Ooen Road
1973 Sunshine Yellow VW Bug

Lorna

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #14 on: September 24, 2011, 10:55:58 PM »
If you come near us be sure to stop in.  The buddy pad is always ready.  Besides we have your laundry bag which I found behind the dryer.
Lorna
Better to drive thy closet than pack thy suitcase
Want to know where we are?
http://whereis.nedreiter.com
Follow our trip of the USA at http://blog.usabyrv.us

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #15 on: September 25, 2011, 12:46:12 AM »

You're in Sterling....if you have time, look at the carved trees...lots of them all over town. Can't remember if it was disease or a storm that killed off the trees and left just trunks but they're worth a drive to see.
 
Wendy

Sounds interesting!  I guess we could ask at a gas station for directions; AAA is closed.  I'm going to try to find them on the Internet.  You are full of interesting facts!
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2011, 12:49:23 AM »
If you come near us be sure to stop in.  The buddy pad is always ready.  Besides we have your laundry bag which I found behind the dryer.

You are wonderful!  I am sure Sherlock would head there right now.  We had such a good time there.  Feel free to keep the laundry bag--we have plenty.  If we get near you, we will most definitely head that way--fond memories!
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2011, 01:03:11 AM »
September 24, 2011      Day 4      Sterling, CO

Once again we got up early (which isn’t our usual—we both like to sleep late), but we had miles to drive.  Quick breakfast of PB & J—no time for anything requiring prep.  We are ready to go!

Have you ever heard the saying, “What goes up must go down?”  It isn’t so!  Our Motostat antenna won’t stow.  After lots of effort and help from a technician on the phone— it finally went down at 11:45.  So much for the early start.

Good news—good roads, courteous drivers, nice scenery as we drove by rivers and creeks.  Only more good news from now on.

We shut down at a little after 7.  I had a brain burp and forgot to mention that last night we stayed at Cabela’s.  I owe them one—what a godsend.

Miles Traveled:  434       Weather—Pleasant—70’s and 80’s.  Overnighted at WalMart
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #18 on: September 26, 2011, 08:11:58 AM »
September 25, 2011      Day 5      Lincoln, Nebraska

We decided we couldn’t make it to the capitol at Lincoln today without stressing and to slow down our frantic pace, so we slept in until a delicious 8:00.  However, we did scurry to get things stowed so we could get a reasonable start, and then I jumped in the shower.  What a shock!  Cold water only, and it was cold! 

We had waited to start our trip because the electric part of the AquaHot wasn’t working.  Dean checked it to make sure it worked before he let the repairman leave, and we had used it for the first 3 days of the trip without a problem.  We spent over $400 on that repair, so if it is possible to be cold and shivering and hot under the collar at the same time, that was me.  Dean had to dress, go outside, and flip a switch to use the electric part instead of the quicker diesel, and then I had to wait for the water to heat.  We didn’t leave until almost noon!  But the Motosat dish did go down without a problem, so that was good.

The drive was uneventful—some slowdowns because of roadwork, many courteous drivers, and more cows and corn.  Dean had a free birthday dinner coupon for Famous Dave’s BBQ, and it was after 9:00 when we got parked, so we went out to dinner.  We had delicious food, great service, and it was a nice way to reward Dean for all his hard work driving.

Tomorrow will be a fun day; we will go to the capitol and a gem-rated state museum..

Miles traveled:  365         Stayed at the Sam’s Club on 27th St.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #19 on: September 27, 2011, 10:11:25 AM »
September 26, 2011      Day 6      Lincoln, Nebraska

We almost got through the whole day with only joy and not one problem!  We started off the day with a trip to the Capitol.  Dean carefully logged in where the RV park was and hit “SAVE”.  We just bought an updated GPS disc, and it hasn’t earned my trust, so I noted an unusual name of a restaurant near us, “Runza” just in case there was a problem.

We arrived in the Capitol at 12:15, and the first thing I noticed was the saying above the entrance, “The Salvation of the State is the Watchfulness in the Citizen.” This typified everything in the Capitol, which is very citizen-centered.  The front doors were rich with symbols; everything in the capitol stood for virtue, people, or love of the state.

 Tours were on the hour.  We hadn’t eaten yet, so we went to the café, which was very nice.  Food was reasonably priced, and our sandwiches were loaded with goodies—mushrooms, spinach, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc. 

At 1:00 we met our enthusiastic guide, Jamison.  He talks even faster than I do, and he is a walking history of Nebraska and its history.  He told us that this is the third capitol building.  The first two fell down in less than a total of 50 years!  They were made from Nebraskan limestone and sandstone.  This capitol is built from Indianan limestone, and Jamison says it will last forever—or at least 100 years. The columns in the lobby were solid pieces of Italian marble with intricate carvings of horses, sheep, and corn at the top recognizing their role in the economy of the state.  EVERYTHING is symbolic! It was built between 1922-1932, and they paid for it as they went.  They are truly a balanced budget state.  Atop the capitol exterior bronze dome is The Sower.  He holds a basket and is spilling seeds.  He acts as a lightning rod, and he has the scars to show for it. (Picture 1)

Mosaics abound—in the floor, in the form of murals on the walls, on the 15-20 domes (Picture 2).  They are rich with symbolism. The first floor mosaic was Apollo, then
Earth Mother who provides the spirits of soil, animal life, and vegetation.  He was followed with individual mosaics of each of the spirits.  Then there were 3 circular mosaics representing the past, present, and future.  They added the wall mosaics at their centennial in 1967.   Picture 3 reflects their pioneer heritage and the role of the railroad—the main reason Nelaska, which means “flat land” in Lakota, became a state.  Each wall mosaic tells a story.  My favorite was this one about a 15-year-old schoolmarm, Miss Minnie Freeman.  The blizzard of 1888 caused the temperature to drop from 50°F to -40° (90 degree change) in one hour.  The children safely huddled in their schoolroom until its roof blew off.  Miss Freeman tied the children together, and they walked ½ mile to the steps of her boardinghouse, where they were safe.

A young 26-year-old woman designed all the floor mosaics.  She was aided by a Nebraskan historian.  One of my favorites was four intertwined circles—Earth, wind, fire, and air.  Another recognized all the fossils found in the state.  The state fossil is the Columbian mammoth.  He is named Archie, and he was discovered by chickens.  A farmer saw his chickens eating what he thought was soft limestone, and discovered it was actually a fossil mammoth.

They had a few statues of their most famous citizens—Willa Cather, General Pershing, and Buffalo Bill, whose ranch you can still visit.  He did many performances here, one of which he would like to forget.  As he was riding a bronc, his hat flew off, and his hair went with it, revealing his bald head.  Back then, hair was synonymous with masculinity, so it was a very embarrassing moment.  And, if you did go bald, men never considered wearing a wig—those were just for women.  So, it was a double whammy!

When the capitol was founded, there were only 3 trees, as far as the eye could see.  Only 3% of the state was forested.  But, the pioneers planted lots of trees, and Nebraska founded Arbor Day.  On the first Arbor Day, they planted one million trees!

In 1937, Nebraska enacted law to become the only unicameral legislature in the U. S., and it is the only non-partisan legislature, as well.  They decided these steps would save time, talk, and money.  We noticed that the hallways are very poorly lit and had the feel of a brick tunnel.  They also do not have air-conditioning.  The offices, on the other hand, are very brightly-lit, and all of them have patios or balconies.  This is done intentionally so employees will not congregate, chat, and socialize in the hallways and they will spend more time working hard in the offices.

There are 49 lawmakers.  Their terms are 4 years, and they may serve 2 terms. They can sit out one term and come back and serve 2 more terms, and so on.   Each represents 37,000 people.  They make $12,000/year, and receive no benefits—no insurance, retirement, no anything!  They meet starting in January for 90 days in odd years, 60 in even years.

Nebraska is big on openness and citizen participation.  By law, there is a public committee hearing for every bill, and people pack the large committee rooms.  Nebraska is the only state with that requirement.  Nebraska was the first to televise their sessions, and the first to put an electronic board up to show the lawmakers’ votes.

We had to stand outside the unicameral (they have turned that word into a noun) and try to photo through glass. There are 3 beams across the room.  They represent the 3 nations that Nebraska has been part of.  The castile lion represents Spain, then fleur de lis represents France, and the bald eagles represent the U. S.  There are many marble columns (Picture 4) in the chamber, each from a different country, representing the various ethnicities of their population.

The Old Senate was no longer needed when they became unicameral, but look at these doors!  I loved them! (Picture 5) And, just like everything in this capitol, they are full of symbolism and corn.  Look at the corn cob door handles, the sunflower lock, the thunder and lightning, the way the Indian man looks at the moon and the Indian lady looks at the sun, causing an X, which has even further symbolism, the thunderbird, lightning, and thunder.  The doors weigh 75 pounds each, but you can open them easily with your finger tips because they have wonderful ball-bearing hinges.  These Nebraskans think of everything!

Their Supreme Court (Picture 6) meets 1 week per month for 10 months.  They hear 25 cases/week.  Each attorney has ONLY 10 MINUTES to present his case.  Cases are appeals, death-penalty, or impeachment.  The justices enter from a door hidden by the wood panels behind the center justice’s chair.  Above their heads is the inscription, “Eyes and ears are poor witnesses when the soul is barbarous.”  The ceiling in the court is intriguing.  (Picture 7  I don’t have the words to properly describe its beauty, and of course it has symbols—corn, acorns, wheat, and more.

This capitol is #2 in my Most Favorite Capitols list.  There are virtuous sayings everywhere.  If the lawmakers live and act consistent with  90% of what their surroundings say and represent, this is the way democracy should work.

Our hour-long tour lasted over 1.5 hours, and by the time we left the gift shop (Yes, Ardra, I bought a book), it was after 3:00.  We hurried to the Nebraska History Museum, and it was excellent (and admission was by donation).  It had many interesting exhibits, and is worthy of its AAA gem-rating, but we only had a little over an hour and saw about 5% of it. Maybe we’ll have time to go back tomorrow.

When the museum closed at 4:30, we were mentally tired—our brains had been intensely listening and learning for 4 hours.  We just wanted to go back to the RV and relax, but it was not to be.  Dean plugged in the “SAVED” place, and followed the GPS directions.  It took us back to the Sam’s Club where we boondocked last night.  I had my back-up plan—the restaurant with the odd name.  I put it in my I-phone, expecting an address to pop  up, only to discover that they have more than 10 restaurants here in Lincoln, none of which had a street name that coincided with our park, so that was no help.  We put in the intersecting street names, got lost again.  We wandered around for quite a while—no, Dean would not consider stopping at a gas station for directions—and using my i-phone I got directions using the intersection names, and we almost drove right by it.  There was a true feeling of EUREKA!

Staying at Lincoln Race Course Campground—FHU, $45/2 nights
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Rancher Will

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #20 on: September 27, 2011, 10:47:52 AM »
There are actually two Wal-Marts in the Grand Junction area. One is at the East Side in the Clifton Area and the other on the West Side. We have stayed overnight at each of them.

The Parking restriction is actually a city thing. We were told by the store manager who happened to on duty each time that if we parked overnight, and if we were contacted by police, to just inform the officer that we parked to shop and when we are finished shopping we will move out. We were never contacted by police or asked to leave anytime.

There is also a very nice Colorado State Park just off the Fruita exit of I-70 just across the street from the Fruita KOA. We have stayed at each these also. They are both very nice and both full service.

Wendy

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #21 on: September 27, 2011, 11:16:32 AM »
We must just have lousy timing because the times we asked about overnighting at the west Grand Junction Walmart, we were told absolutely not. That was when it was first built so sounds like things may have changed. Actually, it sounds like they have the same policy as the Cortez Walmart where the city put up "No Overnight Parking" signs (at the encouragement of the local campgrounds) but the store managers say it's ok to park overnight so long as you don't park in the employee parking area. Will have to give the GJ WM a try next time we're that way.
 
Besides the state park on the west side of town, there's also one on the east side, east of Palisades, on the Colorado River. But Colorado state parks aren't cheap.
 
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2011, 05:53:25 PM »

The Parking restriction is actually a city thing. We were told by the store manager who happened to on duty each time that if we parked overnight, and if we were contacted by police, to just inform the officer that we parked to shop and when we are finished shopping we will move out. We were never contacted by police or asked to leave anytime.

There is also a very nice Colorado State Park just off the Fruita exit of I-70 just across the street from the Fruita KOA. We have stayed at each these also. They are both very nice and both full service.

Thanks for the info, Will & Wendy.  We love Walmarts when we are traveling because they don't close, we don't have to worry about when we come in, they are well lit, and we don't have to unhook.  We love state parks when we are going to be in an area for a couple of overnights or more.  Next time--actually every time--I will call ahead, which had been my past practice.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2011, 08:47:10 PM »
September 27, 2011      Day 7      Lincoln, Nebraska

I woke with great anticipation.  We waited here in Lincoln for an extra day because the University of  Nebraska International Quilt Museum was closed on Monday, and I really wanted to see it.  It is a gem-rated AAA attraction, and we really enjoyed the quilt museum in Paducah, KY.  Admission was $5, and I am sure it would be a delight for a true quilter.  I have had an aversion to sewing since I had a terrible teacher in sewing class in 7th grade.  Looking back, the teacher was either crazy or mean.  She assigned us to wash polished cotton fabric before we made it into an apron.  My mother said that it was pre-shrunk and would look “old” sooner, so she refused to let me.  My mother won the battle, but I really believe that the teacher stole my sewing bobbins, thread, etc. to delay my completion of my projects. We each had a drawer in her closet where we were mandated to keep all our belongings, and no one else was ever missing anything.  I wanted to just carry my things in and out every day, and she said that I was trying to not follow her rules.  I was caught between two headstrong women.  Dean does all our sewing.  So, when we went to the first museum, I was thrilled—it was like art on cloth.

This museum’s displays started with quilts from England that were made in the 1840’s.  Sidenotes spoke of the type of quilt, type of knots, and type of stitches, which meant nothing to me. One quilt took 9 years of continuous work to complete. I could see that the stitches were tiny and perfect, which would require time and expertise.  However, it was muted in color and the busy, complex designs didn’t appeal to me. I found this pineapple quilt (Picture 1) attractive.  One quilt really intrigued me. (Picture 2) From afar, it had an interesting design.  Up close, they look like tumbling blocks.  I discovered the I like bright, scenic, or geometric quilts.  We stayed less than an hour.

Three Nebraskans recommended that we enjoy a Nebraskan treat—a runza.  It is ground beef, cheese, chopped cabbage and onions, and “secret spices” wrapped in dough and baked.  It was delicious!  I discovered two other interesting Nebraskan dishes.  They eat chili with cinnamon rolls—they dip the cinnamon rolls in the chili!  Also they have “frings”, which is a half-order of French fries and a half-order of onion rings.

 The University of Nebraska State Museum was gem-rated by AAA and us.  I had no idea that there were lots of elephants in Nebraska in ancient times—so many that they estimate that at 1 out of every 10 homes there is an elephant fossil buried underneath.  We all know that elephants have 2 tusks, but many ancient ones have 4, two extras in the lower jaw.  “Four Tuskers” were built for power, not speed. (Picture 3) They plowed through the lush forest about 6-14 million years ago.  In later times, the two lower ones grew larger and flatter so the elephant could use them as a shovel (Picture 4 & 5)  They also have the largest mammoth in any U. S. museum. (Picture 6)

In Nebraska, 3 million years ago, hundreds of animals, including hundreds of giant camels (Picture 7) got stuck in the ooze of a drying lake bed and died.  In the 1930’s , paleontologists discovered their remains in a pasture.  I had no idea there even were giant camels—let alone that they lived in Nebraska.  I also learned that 300 million years ago, sharks lived in the warm, shallow sea that covered Nebraska.

They also had good exhibits in their Nebraska Wildlife gallery and Endangered Species gallery.  Their mineral exhibit was sub-par.  The elephants, dinosaurs…actually ALL their fossils were really outstanding.

Staying at Lincoln Race Course Campground—FHU, $45/2 nights
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2011, 11:31:17 PM »
Dean thought I had lost my marbles when I told him I wanted to visit the Historic Pottawattamie County Jail, also known as “The Squirrel Cage.” (Picture 1) But, it was really interesting.  Pictures 2 & 3 show a model of the jail.  It was 3 stories high, and there were ten pie-shaped cells on each level.  There was one entry point on each level.  The inmate would enter the cell, and then the jailer would crank the cell around.  18 rotary jails were built between 1881 and 1888.  They ranged from new York to Salt Lake City.  This iron jail was build in sections in Indiana, and brought here by rail.  The construction took 3 months and cost $28, 200 (equal to $4 million dollars today).  Each cell (Picture 4) had a toilet in the rear called a “privy”.  Running water would fill basins above the lining which flushed when full.  There was no provision for washing hands or getting a drink.  The cells were tiny, as you can see from this man-sized mannequin in Picture 5.   And, they put up to 6 people in each cell.  There were only 2 bunks.

The jailer had the whole 4th floor as his quarters, but he also had a sitting room and bedroom on the 2nd floor because he could get to the door quicker when the police would bring in a new inmate. (Picture 6)

Solitary confinement was really harsh.  Anyone unfortunate enough to end up in the tiny room that is the size of a school gym locker (no kidding!), and was fed bread and water twice a day. (Picture 7)  Coffee cans were used as toilets.

There was one shower area, and they rarely used it.  They called it “laundry day” because they showered wearing their clothes.  They wore the same clothes that they were arrested in for the whole time they stayed there.

Inmates would scale the 28 foot walls and scratch or scorch their names on the ceiling.  There is one recorded fatality from a prisoner falling to his death.  The prison closed in 1965 because they were afraid of prisoners being trapped if there were an earthquake.  And, to think that in California, our prisoners have cable TV!

We returned to the Horseshoe and played blackjack for a couple of hours.  I won $100.  They are giving free buffets to people who play, so we ate a delicious meal there.  Dean came out to the coach, and I played slots and won a nice jackpot!  The head of security walked me out to our coach—very nice!

Staying at the Horseshoe RV Park.  They say they have full hook-ups, but it’s really 50 amps, a place to fill your water, and an RV dump.       Weather—84° high.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

ArdraF

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #25 on: September 29, 2011, 03:19:41 PM »
Quote
by the time we left the gift shop (Yes, Ardra, I bought a book)

Of course, Linda.  Doesn't everyone?!?  ;)  Nah, you're just testing to see if I'm here and I am....

The capitol is interesting but that jail is something else.  Never heard of one like that before.  Bet they didn't have many escapes either.

ArdraF
ArdraF
:D :D

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2011, 10:46:09 PM »


The capitol is interesting but that jail is something else.  Never heard of one like that before.  Bet they didn't have many escapes either.

ArdraF

Actually, they did have few escapes.  Where there's a will, there's a way.  Apparently one guy went out through behind the toilet and through the pipes in the sewer system.  Yuck!  I guess if you are desperate enough....  For the last 5 years it operated, the fire marshall made them remove the bars from the cells, so it was like one big locked dorm.  They could only keep inmates on the first floor.  The jailer refused to go in unless he had an armed escort.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #27 on: September 30, 2011, 12:58:16 AM »
September 29, 2011      Day 9      Council Bluffs, Iowa

We had a wonderful day at the Doorly Zoo.  Thanks to the RVForumers who made us aware of this attraction! We paid our admission of $13.50 (discounted because we are annual members of the San Diego Zoo—Doorly is a partner with many zoos throughout the U.S., so if you support your local zoo, try for the discount).  There were lots of kids and school busses and kids, so we by-passed the first cages and started at the rear of the zoo.  The tram and several other attractions were closed today.  The weather was overcast and breezy, and many of the animals were active. 

I felt like I was meeting old friends when I saw the red river hogs (Picture 1).  They are so ugly that they are cute.  With the tufts on the point ears, the warts on their faces, and their overall body shape, they have no clue that they aren’t gorgeous, and they just embrace life with vigor.  They came running toward us (as a welcome?), but we quickly realized that they were merely snorting among the food on the trail, trying to find their favorite morsels.  They make me smile.

Next, we spotted the beautiful cheetahs.  They were all eleven (11) months old, and they loved playing with each other. (Picture 2)  All of a sudden, without any provocation, one of them let out a growl/scream, and they all took off running around the enclosure, kicking up clouds of dirt. (Picture 3)  They really are fast—even in a pen!

The zoo is divided into several habitat zones, and we especially enjoyed the Desert Dome.  There was a wide variety, and many animals roamed about without being under any control.  Dean and I thought this bright orange and blue long-tailed bird was especially pretty. (Picture 4)

Most of the bears were active.  One black bear showed me a new behavior—he was using his paw as a cup and drinking water.  I thought they would just lean over and lap it up.  We found it unusual that they seemed to be shedding BEFORE winter, and one of them looked like he had a Mohawk. (Picture 5)

The aviary was another favorite spot.  One of this zoo’s strengths is that it provides large enclosures for the animals, and they seem happy and well-cared-for.  The aviary was huge and this Orange Bishop Weaver was especially beautiful (Picture 6).

The lack of obstructive fences made photography easier.  They used moats and geographical features to separate the people from the animals.  This zoo had a nice “feel”.  We often felt like we were getting a view that others would get only in the wild.

I would highly recommend it.

Oddities we’ve encountered—
1.   The U of Nebraska in Lincoln has a dairy store where they sell cheeses and ice cream that they make themselves.  They gave me a taster of sweet corn ice cream—which was surprisingly good.  My son-in-law loves corn, and I wish I had thought to buy some corn ice cream before we left Lincoln.  If anyone reading this lives in MO or Iowa and knows where I can buy some, please let me know.
2.   In Lincoln, there are people selling barbecued foods and Mexican foods from stands at the side of the road after 10:30 at night.  We saw three of them!

Staying at the Horseshoe RV Park.  They say they have full hook-ups, but it’s really 50 amps, a place to fill your water, and an RV dump.       Weather—69° high, breezy.
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2011, 01:35:33 AM »
September 30, 2011      Day 10      North Kansas City, MO

We drove to the Hitchcock Nature Center in Honey Creek, Iowa, hoping to see eagles and hawks.  We are about two weeks early.  We did meet a fascinating school bus driver who gave us a better appreciation of the flooded Iowa landscape.  What I thought was the Missouri River was actually flooded farmland.  There were two other large “rivers” between me and the real Missouri.  We contacted AAA for advice on road closures after talking with him, and ended up taking US 59, which was very, very bumpy.  Everywhere we look, we see them repairing the roads, but there are still many roads, including Interstate 29, which are still under water.  You should have heard the anger as the 2 bus drivers talked about the Army Corps of Engineers and how they should have started letting water out of the dams upstream in March.  As they spoke about how the U. S. Government had helped those affected by hurricanes, especially Ike and Katrina, they vented about how all the Iowa claims have been denied.  They felt that the Iowans were especially entitled to compensation, since the Corps of Engineers lowered the dams and sent them a flood worse than they have ever had before.  They are expecting even worse floods in 2012.  I have to agree with that they deserve help.

We didn’t seen any hawks or eagles; in fact, there were very few birds at all.  The bus drivers did tell us that the nearby De Soto National Wildlife Refuge plays host to more than 50 pairs of nesting bald eagles, and there are tons of hawks and other raptors.  All kinds of ducks and waterfowl love it there.  However, DeSoto is still under water,  so we will have to try for it on a future trip.

Boondocking at Harrah’s in North Kansas City, MO      Weather—low 70s
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

Dean & Linda Stock

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Re: Missouri & Iowa with the Stocks
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2011, 10:06:55 PM »
October 1, 2011      Day 11      North Kansas City, MO

Independence is less than half-an-hour from KC, and we enjoyed seeing Truman’s Presidential Museum today.  It is much like the man—very straight-forward.  The building is impressive, but not at all ostentatious.  There is a great orienting 45-minute movie that put Truman’s decisions in perspective.  I was surprised to learn that when he left the presidency, his approval was less than 30%, although he is well respected today, known for, “The buck stops here!”

There is a replica of the Oval Office when he was there. (Picture 1) How different it is from the one we saw in Clinton’s Library.  The TV in Picture 2 is just like the first one my family had, that we purchased in 1957.  I was surprised that the Great Seal was a barely discernible raised pattern in the carpet. (Picture 3) I’ve always seen it in red, white, and blue.  There were many easy-to-read transcripts of his papers and explanations of all views on whether or not the atomic bomb should have been dropped.  We spent 2.5 hours there, and we learned a lot, especially about the problems when all the servicemen returned after WWII.  That has implications for us as we withdraw our troops from Afghanistan.  I hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

When we left, we grabbed a quick lunner and went to see, “How Does She Do It?” at the AMC theatre.  It was a cute comedy.  We had an enjoyable day.

 Boondocking at Harrah’s in North Kansas City, MO      Weather—low 70s
Dean and Linda Stock
and Sherlock (the cat)
Cypress, CA
2006 Airstream Motor Home
2006 Jeep Liberty (Towed)

 

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