Archives For May 2009

SL Ohama 345x229

Compared to yesterday, today was very peaceful and we did not spend the majority of it on the highway. We spent the day in Ohama and then settled down in a hotel in Lincoln at 4PM! But we will venture out later to take some pictures and tour the State Capital area.

Ohama Nebraska literally knocked my socks off! I was really not expecting much when we got into the city. But now it is in my top 5 of best cities we have visited. Although it is a large city (over 400,000) it has a very attractive small town flavor. It is very clean and has many parks and other public places (as shown above). The area known as the Old Market District is mainly restored buildings that are now restaurants and such. The Market District  is definitely a draw for both tourists and the locals. There are several top notch hotels in the area along the Missouri River if you like that sort of thing. It is nice to see a city that appreciates its older building and instead of tearing them down and replacing them with steel and glass they re-purpose them. It is quite impressive.  There is also much to do in the surrounding area. So, since it is only about an 11 hour drive from home we are holding off doing some of the sites so we can come back later and spend a restful 4 – 5 days visiting again.

SL May 30

Here I am at 6AM and up as usual. Yesterday was day one of our western trip. We spent most of the day in the car. We intented to stop at Des Moine but ended up about 200 miles further in Omaha Nebraska. How we got here was kind of comical but didn’t seem so at the time! 

Getting to Des Moine was rather uneventful. We saw acre after acre of freshly planted corn in central Illinois and Iowa. We spent most of the day on the Interstate highway as we were trying to get outside of our “home ground”. That is areas where we can go to in a day and spend a few days in a future trip. When we stopped at a Iowa rest park I discovered that they had internet access so, of course, I logged on. I found a Hampton Inn in Des Moine and made our first night’s reservations on-line.  Our new car has OnStar so we decided to try it out and asked to be routed to the address of the Hampton. After several questions by the operator we were on our way.  When we got close to Des Moine the OnStar computerized lady told us to get off I80 . I thought it was kind of unusual  since hotels are usually rather close to the highways but I thought that, like Mapquest which I used to use frequently,  it was taking us via the shortest route but not particularly the best. Anyway, after about 25 minutes of local roads it announced that we are at our destination. We ended up in a very nice residential area but there was no Hampton Inn in sight! So, we got back on OnStar and it seems that there are two address which are exactly the same, including zip code in Des Moine.  After finding the “correct one” we were rerouted and made it to the Hampton.  But as it turned out the facility had 20 year old TVs which did not have closed captioning. This is very unusual for the Hampton as they were the first hotels to accommadate the deaf. Totally disappointed we cancelled our reservations and decided to find another hotel in the area. We checked a few other smaller hotels in the area but were unable to find accommodations. So we got back on I80 and as it turns out we were on the west end of Des Moine and there was nothing to find but corn. We drove and drove and finally got to the outskirts of Omaha before we say people again.

So after 13 hours in the car, which is very unusual for us now, we finally found a place to stay. We definitely did not spend the day in the slow lane!  After settling down in the room at 9:30 PM we went to the local Red Lobster to “celebrate” our first day on the road with some good food and some spirits. I needed the spirits to unwind :)  We are hoping that today is a little less hectic but of course since I have committed to my wife Yvonne, who is maybe a more free spirit than me, that   this will be an “unplanned” vacation we will just have to wait and see. Wish us luck. We hopefully will see some local attractions and then head toward Mitchell S.D. for the night. But since this is an unplanned trip who knows (ha).