Our leaving Clinton Lake, Kansas was delayed due to storms and we were a tiny bit nervous about our lack of reservations at the campsite we picked outside of Omaha, Nebraska. We were headed to Glen Cunningham park The drive was great. As I have mentioned before, I am in love with cornfields. There was Corn, corn, corn as we drove. Every town has a corn silo and I need to understand how those work. And I found out as we drove, Kat loves trains. A “woo woo” was loudly exhaled whenever we saw a train.(use your imagination here for real train noises) And that was quite often since our drive paralleled a train track. Kinda funny—- for a while. 🙂
Our campground was one which was first come first serve and it was not a big campground. We had read online that the local people showed up early and would secure sites by leaving a car in a site or blocking it with a table. That was very true, so we were a bit worried. There was no campground personnel or site manager, it was all manual where you just put cash in an envelope and put your own tag up on the post for your site. Lucky for us we found a nice site across from the lake and were very happy with our choice. We couldn’t get right on the lake because those were already taken, but hey, it was Thursday, so what could we expect? Thursday night was nice and we were high fiving our choice as we looked around the camping area and the lake view. The weather was awesome and we were so happy. We decided to go get something to cook on the grill instead of cooking inside and so we went to Walmart where we got pork chops. They had some interesting food choices as well. Yogurt with hot peppers and a display of vodka and orange juice in the Walmart! Crazy.
Friday, things changed. After a rainy morning we decided to get out and about to see what Omaha had to offer, so we headed to the old town historical/artsy district. It has a lot of old buildings, eclectic shops and places to eat and drink. We just walked around a bit and took it all in while thinking that we should get a steak in Omaha. When we got back to the campground we found a lot of turnover and a new crowd. The locals like to come out and party, so we were subject to quite a bit of noise and weekend celebrations. It wasn’t terrible. Let them have their fun for the weekend. We enjoy it all the time, so we try to ignore the party noise. Then we found we had a great TV choice of BBC and the Great British Bake Off, so we were thrilled and enjoing being inside the cool air. All good. We also went over to check out the paddle board rental place because I was really hoping for a Kayak rental I should get into paddle boarding. I just don’t know how we would transport them. Maybe a blow up kayak? Anyway we found out there was the Omaha Triathalon starting there on Sunday. We drove the rest of the way around the lake and that was pretty much our day.
Saturday was volunteer day. We had seen on TV that there was a Christmas in July thing going on at the Open Door mission organization. They are a gospel based organization whose goal is to relieve poverty and homelessness. When we showed up on Saturday I was surprised by the number of people lined up outside. There was a free Thanksgiving meal and inside the shop people were given two big black trash bags to fill. What they could carry they could take. It was an impressive organization. They rotated volunteers in and out according to your time slot. Kat headed to the front door as the greeter and taker of ID’s or invitations that had been mailed out. And she also got to ask everyone if they needed diapers… I imagine she was given a few funny looks with that question. I was on the book distribution. A mixed bag of books for many ages. The bins of toys and such were the most popular section. They had a lot of good stuff, food, clothes, toys, etc. Yay for help to get people the extra help they need to make ends meet and not have to spend money on the items that were donated. I liked the coordination and other than the few people who felt they deserved more and were a bit ungrateful it was a good day. ( I had to put that in because it really bothered me and I don’t understand that attitude.) I met some nice people and was impressed by the variety of those who showed up to help.
We went back to our campsite and the locals were ready to party again. It got pretty busy later in the day with parties. We have done it ourselves in Raleigh, as Kat reminded me, so I really just had to get over it. Maybe I just wanted to be included? Anyway, when Kat first called open door they had a few options for volunteering before we heard about the Christmas in July and one was to help older people with yardwork. We had no tools and weren’t going to be around long enough to return borrowed stuff, so had to skip that. I would have really liked that, unless we got a grumpy person. Haha. They said we could pick up trash on the trails around the campground because they maintain them. So, off we went to get some trash picked up instead of just sitting around listening to the campers around us rocking out to country music. There were a lot of people fishing on the lake all times of the day and hence, a lot of trash. Fireball miniature bottles (cinnamon liquor for non drinkers), lots of water bottles, fishing lure packages, containers of unused bait, and just gross stuff. I was super happy we wore gloves. People can really be careless. Please don’t litter. There is a path that goes all the way around the lake, but we never did hike or bike it. It got mixed reviews on how easy to follow it was. I never took my bike off the travel rack.
Sunday we had a fun day planned. The ZOO! I was up early to see the start of the Triathalon across the lake and the weather was nice and cool. That changed by the time we got to the Zoo. It was super hot. I hate to see little kids sweating and miserable and the parents having to spend $4 on water, but it is summer and was ok in the end.
In 2014 the Omaha zoo was voted best in the world by trip advisor. Once we arrived, we headed right to the African Penguin feeding at 9:30 am. Kat made a friend as soon as we showed up, this little girl just walked up to her and held out her arms to be held up. It was so cute and her dad was like, hmm, ok? After that we walked back towards the IMAX theater for a show and found the gorillas had a nice living area, but looked bored. Don’t they always look that way in zoos though? My favorite part of the zoo was the aquarium and shark tank. The Rainforest is one of the best of all zoos too. We liked it a lot and not just because it was cooler inside.
I could post so many pictures but don’t have time. Or want to bore you with more zoo pictures. I am thinking I should just put them online on Shutterbug and all of you can check them out at your leisure when you aren’t working. Haha- not to rub it in, but I do recommend that everyone retire as early as possible and enjoy life.
My favorite picture of the day…he stopped cleaning to pose for me..:)
Ok, well it was my favorite other than this scary looking groundhog thing and his bald headed buzzard buddy.
We did get our Omaha steak at the end of the day..we needed to sit and cool off while someone served us food. Sorry to say we only went to Outback steakhouse, but only because we had a gift card. It was good anyway and after a quick stop we headed to Walmart and then back to camp. Geez, we do spend a lot of time at Walmart don’t we?! I had to get that interesting yogurt to take with us. I mean really, when do you find Rasberry/serrano, pineapple/jalepeno yogurts? Very tasty! we skipped out on the chicken paws. lol
The next day was travel day to the next stop in Nebraska. I still don’t know what to think of Omaha, but I found the Nebraska countryside beautiful. In Omaha, we just didn’t seem to be in the best area of town and we didn’t meet many people other than the lady at the paddle board rental area and she was super nice. I won’t judge on our limited exposure. If you get the chance, go visit and definitely do the zoo.
Here we go again…stay tuned for more Nebraska travels. Just a heads up, the corn fields go away as you go west and it just gets flat.
Also, our intention when we started traveling was to learn about places and states we visited, so I will finally start posting some facts about the states we go to.
Interesting facts about Nebraska:
- Kearny, NE is halfway between Boston and San Francisco. I really wanted to go through the center of town, but we took the highway to avoid the bad, bumpy roads. We were close though. Think about it, its all good…they are safest from a Tsunami. Not so sure about a tornado?
- Nebraska is both the nation’s largest producer and user of center pivot irrigation. When you fly across the country and see those circles from a plane..that is just the watering systems.
- Nebraska is the birthplace of the Reuben sandwich. I do love a good Reuben. Delicious
I can’t say goodbye without posting a butt shot from the zoo. I missed the poop part- lucky for you.
Bert and Kat out for now. I will post the rest of Nebraska soon. It was beautiful.