Friday, September 26, 2008

Road Trip Denouement

(Omaha, NE)- As we wind down the trip and head towards home, we have an 'itinerary' light on stops, but big on miles. Stop 1: The Union Pacific RR Museum across the Missouri River in Council Bluffs, IA. Stop 2: The Bluebird in St. Louis, to see Prisonshake- a band led by two ex-Clevelanders, Robert Griffin and Doug Enkler. Griffin runs Scat Records, an outfit Steve worked for, and I 'interned' (volunteered?) for, back in the early 90s.

Yesterday's stops included a small town barber shop/western store north of Omaha, in a town called Tekamah, NE. Steve had wanted to stop at some 'Floyd The Barber' kinda shop, and we found it. The northern two-thirds of the building had recently sustained heavy fire damage, and was closed off. As we walked in, we could see the western store as being the larger part of the store, with the barber just in the frontage. The western store folks all got real attentive, but then relaxed with disappointment when they saw that we were just there for ear-lowering.

Steve sat down for the #1 clipper, and engaged in the kind of small talk that got it known that we were just passing through on a road trip. Talk then got to agriculture. "Are they harvesting up north yet?" We talked about soybeans, corn, the absence of anything of any other crop, and the harvesting we had seen. Five minutes, and the buzz-cutting was done, and everybody had the farm report.

We had tried to drive parallel to the Missouri River as much as we could, in Iowa and Nebraska, but found that there was very little access. Dug the signs that said, 'No trespassing. You will be shot". Unlike the Mississippi, which has rails and byways running alongside it, the Missouri only has occasional runs of a mile or so beside it. These are 'Minimum Maintenance Roads', per the signs. In plain English, some have some gravel. Many are just topsoil roads, which are very soft. Steve wasn't happy about driving my Toyota in such conditions, and when he asked if it had front wheel or rear wheel drive, we knew it was time to switch.

We ended up in Omaha, which is the biggest city we've been in on the trip thus far. The suburban setting feels out of place, but with the end near, and more than 450 miles to St. Louis, the backroad action is likely done- at least for today.


varangianguard said...

Too bad. If I had known you were traipsing around Nebraska, I might have convinced a old farmer friend of mine to rustle you two up some real steaks. He lives to the southwest of Omaha some distance, but if you like beef, I think it would have been worth the detour.

Mike Kole said...

Damnedest thing, but I haven't had a steak on the trip! Certainly should have, in Omaha. Alas...