Travels with Bentley

Travels with Bentley
Bentley - our Heartland Bighorn

Monday, July 18, 2016

July 14 - 16, 2016 - Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area, Papillion, NE (Omaha area)

Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area, Papillion, NE (Omaha area)

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Dean and I are trying to get back into a regular routine of exercising each day - walking is what we prefer but I am hoping to do a bit more with a resistance band and some exercises to target areas that will make my clothes fit a bit more like I think they are supposed to!  So this morning we got up and walked the entire double loop of the campground at Longview Campground in Lee's Summit before we packed up to leave.  Despite the humid weather it wasn't too bad and it felt good to do some walking again. Even though we are together most of the time, and really enjoy one another's company, it still amazes me how much we seem to really talk to each other during those morning walks.  Good for the soul, not just the exercise!

We pulled out of Longview Campground about 9:30 and headed north toward Omaha, NB.  The campground I selected is actually in Papillion, southwest of Omaha and I learned about it from a blog I follow - On the Road of Retirement.   It is a first come, first serve park so when we are close I'll call to see if they have a site for us.  We enjoyed the drive and as we moved in to northern Missouri we began to see field after field of corn, with a few bean fields thrown in to mix it up.  This continued for the rest of the trip.

Close to noon, I pulled out the sandwiches I made before we left this morning.  Once we were done eating I called Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area to see if they had any spots open.  The camp attendant told me they had 4 spots left.  I told her we were a little over an hour out and I would check back once we were closer to see if we could still get in.  Fortunately when I made the call she said they had a spot for us and to come on in.  Little did we know the few minutes we thought we had to go, would turn into a little more than that.  GPS' are wonderful aren't they?; except when they fail to let you know a section of road is closed and you end up in the middle of a residential area with tight turns and our GPS (we have named her "Bobbie") just wants us to go in circles.  We finally saw a young lady out in her front yard.  I asked her if she could tell us how to reach Walnut Creek.  She seemed to know exactly where it was and after we drove around the block one more time, we soon got our directions straight and were back on track again.

We pulled into the park about 2pm and were told we had three sites to choose from.  The wife of the couple who are camp hosts here had me fill out the paperwork while Dean went with her husband to check out the sites.  He selected site 3, next to the camp hosts.  It worked well since our refrigerator was not in the direct sun at this location.  The temperature when we arrived was a very warm 85.  Not too bad but with only 30 amp service we could only run one air conditioner, so the refrigerator would have been working very hard to keep things cool.  Soon we were set up, and while the air conditioner cooled things down we took a ride into town.

We headed downtown.  To our right in the picture below is the Durham Museum.  It is housed what was formerly Union Station.

We really wanted to visit Freedom Park this afternoon, where the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge is located.  Near the center of the bridge over the Missouri River you can stand in both Nebraska and Iowa at the same time.  Of course we had to do that.  Omaha has done it right - this town was a delight and we were amazed at what it had to offer.  We could not begin to do everything in the 2.5 days we were here and I hope we can return again someday and spend more time checking things out.

Here are some pictures we took in the Freedom Park area:
The Missouri River

John Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge from afar.

The bridge from the Lewis and Clark Visitor Center

Sidewalk Art

Looking down from the Pedestrian Bridge


Me, standing in both Nebraska and Iowa, while taking a picture of a couple who were also standing in both states!

Walking underneath the bridge

This 30' tall steel, sculpture weighs 271 tons and is a salute to labor.
I'm not sure where we were when I took this picture of the American Flag, except it was somewhere downtown and probably near the waterfront.  When I get the opportunity to get a good flag picture I can't pass it up.

We were beginning to tire out after a day of driving and a few hours of sightseeing, so we headed back to the RV park.  Dean grilled hot dogs for us, but they weren't just any hot dogs - these were extra delicious and from our hometown locker.  Matt George I now know what everyone is talking about and this will be my choice of dogs from now on!  I also enjoyed the tomatoes from my son Marc's garden and the cucumbers from my brother-in-law Elmer's garden.  Thanks to you both! They were delicious!!

Here's a shot of our site here in Walnut Creek Lake & Recreation Area.

Friday, July 15, 2016

There is a 3 mile concrete walking/biking trail around the lake, located east of the campground.  The lake itself is beautiful and is utilized by small boats (only trolling motors), kayaks and canoes.  There was fishing going on everywhere along the banks and in boats.  We were amazed at the number of walkers/runners/bicyclists on this trail.  We walked about 1 mile of the trail and back this morning before we had breakfast and got ready for our day in Omaha.  Here are a few shots from our walk.

A Master Gardner's Club in the area planted this beautiful garden area.

A nice pier to fish from or just enjoy the view.

These pictures were taken with my cell phone.  I was surprised they came out as well as they did.  It was a beautiful morning with the sun coming up on the east side, as clouds were starting to move in.  It made a very nice setting.

After breakfast we headed into Omaha.  It started to sprinkle some and the temperatures were only in the 60's.  We are going to visit the Durham Museum this morning.  We had to park and walk over a block.  It was very cool outside but after these higher temps we've had back home, I'm thankful for the cooler weather today.  Fortunately the rain remained very very light.

Once inside I was truly amazed at what a wonderful collection of the history of Omaha and the surrounding area was displayed in this beautiful building that was formerly Union Station.  The first thing I noticed was these beautiful bronze sculptures depicting a time when train travel was a common occurrence.

Traveling Businessman

Who do you suppose the gift is for?

Mom and children waiting to board the train, porter with their luggage.

Whoops, not a statute, but my wonderful husband!

Checking the arrivals and departure times.

Purchasing a ticket.

Servicemen visiting while waiting to ship out.

What a tough time it must have been as couples were split during times of war.

From here we descended to the lower level.  The first thing we saw as we reached the bottom was a passenger car on display.   Here's a shot of the inside.  It isn't the best picture, but wouldn't it be nice to have this kind of room when you fly today.

There was a large display of model trains.  When children (or adults) pressed the buttons, the trains would begin traveling through the display.  I've always been fascinated by model trains and we enjoyed seeing the full-size village that was displayed as well.  However, I could not find City Hall.  A village or town isn't complete without City Hall.
I found this interesting since we had just visited the Truman Library and learned about his Whistlestop Tour when he ran for a second term as President.

The two pictures above caught my attention due to my former position as City Clerk in Oswego.  City infrastructure was something I enjoyed being involved in and I always find it interesting, especially how it came about so many years ago.

I remember my Grandma Stapleton and my mom using a wringer washing machine.  My Grandma had one for several years, and I was about five when my mom had one.  I'm so thankful for more modern conveniences today.

Dean enjoyed the information regarding telephones since that is the field he worked in for 44 years. 

Odyssey and Shipwrecks!  It was amazing the number of shipwrecks this machine was able to salvage materials from.  There were way too much on display to try and include it all here.

This museum was amazing and I it is wonderful they have kept all of this information for future generations.  I loved the way they displayed the information with bright colors.  

I had to include these pictures.  First of all because the manufacturer was Geo. A. Barnard.  One of our former Mayor's, a very dear friend had the last name of Barnard.  I want to share this with his daughter to see if there could be any family connection. It appears the ballots were deposited here when voting occurred.

Of all of the things I found the following to be one of the most interesting displays in the museum.  I guess I should not be surprised I have never heard of this, since it was long before my time, but the things that were on display were way beyond what anyone ever imagined would happen in their lifetimes.  I wish I could have seen this myself and been a part of it.  The construction of this expo itself is almost unbelieveable for the time period it occurred.  It appears that Omaha was on the cutting edge early in the game.

This was built in Omaha just for the Expo.

Trans-Mississippi & International Exposition - Omaha, 1898

Click on these to enlarge and read the information shown.

We really loved our time here in Omaha and we would enjoy coming back again.  There is much more to do.

We wanted to try something local for lunch.  Omaha has an area known as Little Italy.  Orsi's Italian Bakery and Pizzeria is located here and has been in business for many years.  We ordered a half pepperoni and half sausage pizza, and they gave us garlic cheese bread on the house.  The pizza was wonderful.  The bread was good but was really thick and just too much for me along with the pizza.  I might have enjoyed it more if we had been eating some type of pasta.   I loved the pizza sauce and there was a really nice amount of cheese topping.  The crust was crunchy on bottom but easy to chew. He asked where we were from and I noticed he did this with other customers as well, which I thought was a nice touch.  The business was not really a restaurant per se.  There are church pews inside on either side of the front door. If you want to eat in, they will set up folding tables for you.  We chose to take ours with us.  We drove to Freedom park and ate it in the truck.  Unfortunately it was raining too hard to sit outside along the water's edge.
Orsi's Italian Bakery & Pizzeria
Forgot to take a picture before we dug in!
Cheese bread.

Here's a picture of the navigational system in the truck at 2:24 today.  The temperature was only 68. Wish it would stay in this range for a few weeks.

After our lunch we headed back to Bentley.  We rested for awhile and then we decided to drive to Ashland, NE.  Dean was reading some literature where it indicated they had several shops in their downtown area.  While there were a few shops we did not find anything we wanted to stop and visit,, except this one.

We talked about going in, but we were just too full from the pizza and garlic bread to even have ice cream.

Once we returned to the RV, we walked the three mile walking trail around the lake.  It was a bit warmer than we thought, especially once we were on the west end where there was no shade.  We were glad to make it back to Bentley where we settled in, had a little dinner and rested until it was time to go to bed.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

This morning we got up and walked three and a half miles, from our campsite and around the lake. It was a great walk, nice and cool and lots of shade.

So today, we decided we should take the time to visit Council Bluffs, IA to check out the other side of the Missouri River.  As we crossed the river, we noticed a Bass Pro complex so we headed in that direction.  We walked through the store and Dean found a tent pole he wanted.  We have a sunshade that fits in our awning to provide extra shade when we are parked somewhere.   He plans to use the tent pole along with another one we already had to raise the shade a bit higher which will provide some additional sitting area outside the RV.

As we passed over the Missouri River we noticed these very interesting sculptures on the bridge.

I wasn't sure what they were supposed to depict however I found this on Goggle:
Project overview
Albert Paley's iconic gateway into Iowa and the City of Council Bluffs stands at 100 feet above Interstate 80/29. Located on the 24th Street Bridge spanning I-80/I-29, this site is a prioritized site within the City's Public Art Master Plan. 
While other single works of Paley's are larger in scale, Paley's Odyssey is comprehensively his largest composition, with each of the four individual sculptures ranging from 46 to 61 feet high and weighing in at 46,000 to 70,000 pounds. Public Art & Practice assisted with the selection process of the artist, submittal of maquettes, contract negotiations, and coordination of planning efforts for this project. Communication from the beginning between all parties allowed the Iowa Department of Transportation to properly engineer Paley's plinths (located at the four corners of the bridge) based on Paley's estimated weight, wind loads, and dimensions during initial 2009 bridge construction.
Paley's design for the site includes four works of art constructed of bronze (which has a green patina), Cor-Ten steel (which develops a rust color) and brushed stainless steel (which reflects sunlight). Each material was chosen to represent the dialogue between the land and air and sky and light, as well as minimize future maintenance expenses.

Some of the comments on Google were not very positive.  They are interesting but my first thought was how much they looked like some type of spears, which made we want to find out why they chose these particular sculptures.  They were interesting at best.

While we didn't spend much time on the Iowa side, we were disappointed we could not find any nice walking area along the Missouri River like they had in Omaha.  Maybe there was more but what we found was untended with very high weeds and not any really nice views of the river.

We headed back to Bentley and rested for awhile and then I made our dinner, orange chicken.  This has become one of our favorite quick meals.  I found it on Pinterest.  The first time I made it I followed the recipe to a T - which included breading the chicken and frying it before adding it to the sauce. However, I decided we should try using grilled chicken and bypass the frying portion.  It was very good this way, and in fact we preferred it, and that is how we've made it ever since.

Dean will grill an entire package of chicken tenderloins and then I use them for two or three different meals.  I add five or six tenderloins to 3/4 c Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce and 3/4 c. orange marmalade with 2 T. soy sauce.  Cook these until warmed well.  Prepare your rice the way you prefer it.  Add the orange chicken to the rice when it is ready.  Great meal with little time involved.

Tonight we are going to Werner Park, home of the Omaha Stormchasers to watch them play baseball. The Stormchasers are the farm team for the Kansas City Royals, our favorite baseball team.

After dinner we headed to the ballpark.  We enjoyed the nice breeze that was present the entire game.

The tickets were very reasonable and we enjoyed a great ballgame especially since the Stormchasers won. There were many activities in between each team's at bat where events were held, t-shirts were thrown, etc. that kept the crowd involved.  The game was over by 9:30.  The ballfield was less than 2 miles from the campground which made it very nice for us.

Tomorrow we will lift our jacks, hook up and move about 250 miles down the road to the Amana Colonies.  We will be staying at the Amana Colonies RV Park.

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