If I said corn again today, would you believe me? I'm not lyen’ , honest.
We left Davenport, Iowa at 8:00 AM and 64 degrees. We got an early start today because we were up early, thanks to the time change. So, off we went, down the interstate, headed for Lincoln, Nebraska. We drove well over 300 miles through…ah…you guessed it, corn fields. I am now loving these corn fields. They are pretty, with the golden corn flowers blooming on each plant, casting a yellow haze over the fields like a shroud protecting the plants from the hot sun. As we moved further west, the flat planes began to roll a bit with small hills, undulating ever so gently over the ground. And by the time we reached the other side of the state, these hills were much more pronounced and provided a perfect palate for viewing the fields, with patches of corn stalks broken up by patches of dark green and sometimes light green crops, adorned by white farmhouses, red barns and silver silos. We passed through many towns along the way, and they were significantly bigger than those from yesterday. We saw shopping malls and designer outlet stores, manufacturing plants and restaurants. And as we passed through Des Moines, we saw Firestone Tire.
Iowa boasts that it is the second largest wind power producing state in the country. And one of the rest stops actually has a turbine blade mounted on its end for everyone to see. We saw a few wind farms, but nothing like we have seen in California and states further west. But, our view was only from Interstate 80. Many complain about these wind turbines, saying that their presence mars the countryside, but I find them pleasing to watch, as they perform their graceful dance when encouraged by the wind.
In early afternoon, we landed in Omaha, Nebraska after crossing the Missouri River. And we turned the car towards Boys Town. I had visited this place in 1966 and was anxious to see it again, to see how it had changed in 50 years. And changed it has. For one thing, they now provide a home for as many girls as boys. And for another, these kids no longer live in dormitories, but rather in family homes on campus. Each home houses 6-8 kids and is run by a family, the parents trained in counseling and providing a solid family living experience. We saw many of these kids on campus doing chores, planting flowers, cleaning the grounds, and those we approached were polite and friendly. We drove to the visitors center where they rented us a CD to play in the car, that directed us around the campus and provided us with information about each facility and allowed us to pause the CD periodically to visit some of the buildings. And we did visit the church and the chapel where Fr. Flannigan’s body rests in a marble crypt. And we also visited a memorial for all of the former residents who died as soldiers in WWII and Vietnam and Afghanistan. And the words of John F. Kennedy adorn this memorial, "Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country". I was moved by this place and thought, if I lived nearby, I would love to volunteer my time to such a worthy cause.
We then headed south to Lincoln, the capitol of Nebraska, and before finding our hotel, we took a side trip to see the capitol building, which is right in the center of town and looks like none other that I have ever seen. Totally open and available to anyone who wants to see, this building is built of a sand-colored stone and at the center of it is a tower, nearly 400 feet tall, with a dome, which can be seen for miles. It is the second tallest capitol building in the US, second only to Louisiana. Very impressive and very unusual.
We finally settled in to our hotel around 4:30 PM. Tomorrow, Cheyenne, WY.