Friday, September 10, 2010

EoB: Children of the Corn and Oregon Trail in Real Life

The Mississippi was pretty cool. It was small because we were so far North, and my pictures are pretty lame, but it was my first time seeing it. How American!

Shortly after passing through Iowa City, we decided to stop in West Amana to sit in the World's Largest Rocking Chair. We got a bit lost trying to find West Amana, but we flagged down a friendly farmer who directed us to Regular Amana. Once there, we found out that the Amana Colonies (Regular, East, West, South and High Amana) are a Quaker resort! We had lunch at the Amana bakery and bought postcards at the Amana bookstore and learned about the history of the town, and marveled at all the couples wandering about. Then we headed to the furniture shop to see the chair.

This is what Iowa looks like:

The chair was not a joke - it was pretty big and carved out of solid walnut. However, the sign behind it informed us that the chair had been downgraded from World's Largest to Iowa's largest! I would like to know what other state had the nerve to build a bigger chair. (**addendum: it's Oklahoma. Figures. The chair is no where near as awesome looking as the Iowa one**).

Anyway, back to route 80 and on to Omaha. We drove for about 4 hours through various levels of corn. No children in sight!! (Contrary to popular knowledge, Children of the Corn was filmed in Iowa, not Nebraska. We were a bit scared of the drive/running out of gas). Look how safe we were from being abducted:

It also down-poured, the kind you cant really drive in. But it cleared up for Omaha.

Our couchsurfing host, Marissa, lives right downtown in a really cool modified loft above a bank. After getting settled, we went to a brewery down the street for dinner and had Nebraskan beer. After dinner, we went to another apartment building to meet up and hang out with Marissa's friends before going out.

They all worked as food scientists for Con-Agra, which was a crazy weird concept that Amy and I had never really heard of. Marissa conducts test to see if people like the food. She has a masters degree in food tasting! Her friends did product development and stuff. It was pretty niche and interesting. Also interesting was that they were all transplants. I can't imagine moving to Omaha for work right now. Omaha!

But, Omaha nightlife was pretty exciting. We went to a country western dance club that was actually called the Whiskey Tango. There were two party busses parked out front (school busses painted purple and red). The first was filled with bachelorettes, and the second filled with actual cowboys! They were wearing hats and plaid shirts tucked into Levis and big belt buckles and some even had boots!

And the best part: frequent line dancing kept occurring! Anyway, we went home at 2 am; totally successful evening.

We were up bright and early this morning to try an be on the road by 8. On the way out of Omaha, we stumbled upon the Omaha farmers market which was pretty awesome, and huge. We got coffee, breakfast burritos, and Omaha farmer's market t-shirts.

Back on good ol' I-80 we encountered a ton of traffic all the way to Lincoln. It didn't take long to notice that every other car was filled with people wearing red and yellow - there was a Nebraska State Huskers game at 11. We even saw people tailgating in the median! The highway median!

Our next stop was a brief on and off the highway for a photo-op with the world's largest covered wagon (which is now a golf shop). Then on to Gothenburg, Nebraska, home to the Pony Express Museum, the World's Largest Plow and the Sod House Museum.

The Pony Express Museum was inside of an original Pony Express Stop. It was small, but informative. Across the street was a museum on the history of Goethenburg, a town of 3,000 which has been around since it was settled by a bunch of Swedes in the Pony Express days.

The Sod House Museum was the best. It had a sod house (like the pioneers used to live in) a bunch of Old West artifacts, a buffalo made out of barbed wire, a covered wagon, and a fun little old lady who regaled us with tales of Gothenburg's wild west past. We actually learned quite a bit. We also saw the World's Largest Plow there.

This is me dying of dysentery. ie, we played Oregon Trail in Real life the entire way through Nebraska.

We grabbed lunch at a diner called Lisa's Kitchen, and then cruised downtown Gothenburg (the number one economic sector is alfalfa farming).

Ever since, we've been watching the corn roll away into the great plains. We just crossed the Colorado border, turned back our clocks, and should be in Denver by dinner.

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