We left South Dakota, after extending our stay a few times, and headed to the nation’s heartland, Nebraska. We looked at the map and talked to a few folks, and the west side did not have a lot for us to see from our research, so we made our way towards the eastern side of the state. The western side did have some nice rolling hills and geological outcroppings that made the first couple of hours drive very pleasant. We eventually made our way to the small town of North Platte. We had made this a one-night stop over, just to break up the long drive across the state. Not a lot to look at here, except for the world’s largest rail yard, certified by Guinness Book of World Records. We were both a little drained, and once we got set up in the Holiday RV Park, we decided to just stay in and make dinner and relax. (As we have mentioned before, sometimes it is difficult to see everything there is along the way, and we have come to accept that there are times we are just not going to see every little, or big, attraction.)
The next morning we were up early and on the road to Greenwood, NE. We arrived at the Pine Grove RV park, right off I-80, and were given a site near the back away from the freeway, and right up close to the corn fields. I did mention they grow some corn here, right? As it was nearing the end of Sept., it still was surprising to see all the corn still standing in the fields, but it makes for some very nice scenery for us for sure. The park was well maintained, with long and open sites, although the roadways through the park could use some TLC. This was to be our home base for the next 4 days, a nice in-between spot for us to visit Lincoln 20 miles to the west, and Omaha 30 miles to the east.
We spent the first couple days exploring the two cities, getting a lay of the land for both. My big reason for coming here was the Univ. of Nebraska, and hoping to catch a home football game. As luck would have it, the Huskers were hosting Illinois that Saturday. The game was scheduled for 8:00PM local time, so we decided to take the local shuttle service down and not hassle with parking. Lincoln is a college town of about 75,000 people. But on game day, the place explodes with fans all clad in red. The stadium holds over 87,000, and I am sure another 20,000 people just come for the party. Lots of tailgating, bars, and parties all over the area, very impressive compared to many of the other venues we have been to. With the game a sell out, I anticipated it might be tough to find tickets for the Homecoming game, so decided to step up and buy them on Stub Hub, and found some on what looked like the 15-yard line on the visitor’s sideline. We entered the stadium and found our way to the concourse to our seats, a super narrow, basically one-way cat walk under the west side luxury boxes. Both of us were shocked at how this could be safe, especially if there was a weather evacuation or some other type of emergency. We got to the seats, and were again surprised, the overhang above us created the smallest of views of the field, we were looking around a post, and there was no view of the scoreboard whatsoever. I was really upset, and to top it off, the heat that resided up in that area was unbearable. We returned to the concourse and decided to try to find somewhere else to watch from, and ended up in the south end zone, in the student’s section. The late arriving students (the rest of the entire stadium was completely filled 20 minutes before kickoff) made their way to this section, and as was tradition, they all stood on the bleachers to watch and cheer for their team. Traci and I struggled through the first quarter, both of us tired from walking all around the area for several hours, and with no seats to be found, decided to head home and watch the rest on the TV. It was great to have finally made it to a game there, one of those places that had always been a goal of mine, just wish we could have had some place to sit and enjoy the game. (I do have to thank Stub Hub, we contacted them the next day and they gave us a refund and credit, as it should have indicated that the seats we purchased were obstructed view, great customer service on their part.)
Sunday brought the final day of the baseball season, and we chose to stay in and see if the Mariners could pull off the miracle and make the playoffs. Unfortunately the A’s did not get the memo, winning their game and knocking the M’s out of the wild card spot. But, it was great to be rooting for them on game 162; it has been a long time since they were in contention beyond May or June. We stayed in that evening, watched the amazing sunset over the cornfields and made pizza’s, a quiet and relaxing day in the MoHo.
Monday we returned to Omaha, and did some more exploring. A much larger town than we had seen in awhile, with a good mix of industry and medium sized high-rise buildings. The Missouri River runs down the eastern side of town, separating Omaha from Iowa. We found our way to the Old Market area, several blocks of restaurants and shops, with cobble stone streets, and huge flower baskets everywhere. We stopped into a little brewery for lunch and enjoyed our meal at the open air, street side patio. We have really noticed how many of the towns we have visited have similar areas to this, open sidewalks with outdoor seating and a nice vibe for locals and visitors; I guess it is easier to create this type of atmosphere in a smaller town, unlike it would be in a major city. We returned to the MoHo, and started to get ready for our departure the next day, on to Kansas City!