Prev: Day 1: Saint Louis to Fairfield, IA
Next: Day 3: Lincoln to Alliance, NE
10/01/2011: Day 2: Fairfield, IA to Lincoln, NE
We woke in the Hamilton farmhouse, and had a look around.
Starting the day at the Hamilton farm in Fairfield, IA by saying hello to some of the residents. This morning, I was enjoying shadows.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001083856
They are keeping a herd of legacy genome Shetland sheep, to help keep biodiversity going while commercial production culls all but the (easy to die) whites. When Jen spins, she has to manually separate the colors to have consistent yarn. But her results are quite rich.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001084510
This is the proud matriarch of the herd. Look at the face (googly sounds).
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001084814

A bit of decoration on the wall of the house. Mule bits, to be precise. I;'ve seen many a display of the varieties of barbed wire (a.k.a: Bob Wahr) but hadn't considered the variety in vintage mule steering systems.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001092930
Here's a closer view for the mule guidance system aficionados out there.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001092938
We have some pond envy. Their huge koi don't seem to get eaten by passing predators, as by the birds and beasts that fish our pond back home.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001093002
And so we say, Fare well" to Jen and head into town to charge up.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001093616

We popped up to town for some coffee, and then headed out on the road.
I took many shots of the interior of Cafe Paradiso, but will only foist this one upon you. We just got a triple shot cappuccino to go. But we didn't go there as that sign implied our need.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001094546
Why, you may ask, would I have taken this? Note the Ron Paul banner hanging over the Health and Wholeness shop. Ron "Let The Uninsured Die" Paul promoted by a wellness center? Letting Uninsured Patients Die (http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/politics/2011/09/tea-party-debate-audience-cheered-idea-of-letting-uninsured-patients-die/) was the popular Tea Party position in opposition to "Obamacare," and he rode high on that bandwagon.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001094844


In spite of my desire to avoid Interstates on which we'd already traveled, we chose to go up to see another state capitol and use I-80 from there westward. The caption of the first picture of the capitol justifies it some more.
There are things to see on the way, too. Had we more time to spare, we would have spent a full day just to get to Des Moines. Pella itself is worth a weekday.
I was tickled to drive past Ottumwa, home of Radar O'Reilly. We had been warned that there really was nothing to see there.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001102454
When I drive up a hill toward a band of rising smoke, I wonder briefly if that is the smoke of the under lands curling around the edge of the known world toward whose edge we are blithely hurtling.Briefly.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001102826

So we stopped in Pella, Iowa. I'd certainly heard of the windows, but we didn't have time for a tour. I hadn't previously known that it is also a major tourist destination. Here is where the annual national tulip festival is held. It is an aggressively Dutch town, as one might guess by looking at the tourist Information Center, there.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001111622
Most towns have canons. But this one caught my eye as somewhat different. Can you guess why it looks different than most town square canons in the U.S? (Next slide, please)
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001112016
This is a captured Japanese WWII 155 MM Howitzer that the U.S. Gummint donated to the town in appreciation for them donating all their Civil War artillery to the scrap drive to aid in Victory.The odd things you see when you just look around.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001112016b
There was a bit of a nip in the air, and I could not find my scarf. Apparently I had left it in Fairfield. I spotted a big garage sale, and made for it. I got a couple of scarves, a hat for Karen, and a couple of laptop cases. The latter because the one I was using was too bulky. And at a buck each, I can find homes for the spares. It later turned out that I had stuffed my missing scarf in my suitcase. But one of the "new" ones became my new favorite, anyway.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001113516

The Tulip Time sign post seen through the sundial in the middle of the town square.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001114100
There is a real windmill in Pella. The Vermeer Windmill is a full size replica of an 1850's original. The upper (working) parts were made in the Netherlands and shipped over. The top blade rises to 124' above the ground. I'd have loved to take the Dutch Towne Tour and cross the bridge to the upper section of the mill 10 stories up, but we have many miles to go yet, today.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001115018


But as we had dinner and dance plans in the next state, we had to get moving up to the government seat. And we didn't have as much leisure as we'd have liked there, either.
Last year, we visited seven state capitols (http://danklarmann.com/2010SeptTrip/trip.cgi?Date=20101017), and Des Moines is almost along our way from Fairfield to Lincoln. If there was a bridge from US-34 in Iowa to US-34 in Nebraska, we may have skipped it. But because we had to go through Omaha, the diagonal-northwest-first-then-west plan let us tag another Capitol.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001125136
Colorful autumn leaves lying in the bottom of a pond at the foot of the steps leading up to the state capitol.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001130158
Um. Does this say, "Welcome" to you?
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001130336

Some state capitols have this marvelous steam-age glass floor under the rotunda. I doubt that most people even notice it.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001131058
Another gaudy dome interior. If we had had the time to take the tour, I might have related some particular details about the artists or such. But here you just have to believe your eyes.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001131108
Somehow, the inlaid floors impress me more than the gold-leafed ceilings.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001131622

Karen looks up, with the long drop behind her.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001131720
I just had to share a shot looking up at the glass floor yall saw earlier.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001133456
I had to ask the guards to find the liberty bell for this state. Most Capitols display them in or close to their fancy buildings. In Iowa, they chose to put it by a distant parking lot. Tidbit: The original plan was to make all three domes solid gold. But the fluctuations in the economy during construction led to the compromise you now see.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001134014


After seeing Pella, we were not interested in going up to Elkhorn again, as we had on our previous Yellowstone trip. But we did see (not much choice) the Adair Energy Wind Farm before crossing into Nebraska.
More windmills? What is it about these things that so fascinates me? I guess it has to do with watching a future being created before my eyes. There is a certain visual metaphor in this frame. Think harvest.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001144144
This shot gives a good sense of the scale of the windmills, as you see the narrow interstate and tiny trucks in the foreground. The technology to build those didn't exist when I was a child.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001144426
As we approach Nebraska, these sharp and rusty aggressive sculptures welcome us.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001155258
In fact, I never saw a "Welcome to Nebraska" sign. Just this.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001155508B


As we zipped past the Strategic Air and Space Museum south of Omaha, I noticed that I was wearing my Stafford Museum shirt from the time I met the fastest man ever. But we hadn't time to stop on this trip.
Between Omaha and Lincoln, on I-80 there is a rest area called Melia Hill. There once was a town that put up a grain elevator when the railroad came through. When automobiles got going at the start of the 20th century, a road went through it from Omaha to Lincoln. The town grew a hotel and hardware store. The future looked bright. But in the 1930's a new road was created, more level and direct between the cities. It missed Melia by miles, so the town shriveled up and died. It remains as a name that no one recognizes on a sign few will read at a potty stop by the side of a road. Mortality.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001162130
We arrived in Lincoln to meet a guy named Henry at a restaurant named Lazlo's for an early dinner. We followed him to his apartment near the capitol. This is the view from his front door. We visited this capitol before. It is well worth taking the tour. Here is what I wrote about the Capitol building tour (http://danklarmann.com/2010SeptTrip/trip.cgi?Date=20101014) last year.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001180750
Here is the grand ballroom where they contra dance in Lincoln. I was kept too busy dancing to take pictures of the crowd. But they only had one line for most of the evening.
--Click to Enlarge--
Picture DT20111001190254


So we arrived, dined, danced, and then crashed at Henry's apartment. Karen called a couple of contra dances to this crowd, as she had called a couple of English dances last night.
After today we have a more leisurely schedule; five days to get to Yellowstone.
Next: Day 3: Lincoln to Alliance, NE

Back to the List of Days
Back to the List of Trips