We've been at the KOA, in Gretna (just outside of Omaha,NE) since last Tuesday. We look forward to doing the parks here because we get to spend time with our friend Paula. I worked with Paula in my early years, at Penn College, and have stayed in touch ever since. She is a trainer and travels all over the country for her job so we're always happy when her schedule allows her to spend some time with us while we're in the area. She lives in Lincoln so she came out Saturday afternoon and stayed till Sunday afternoon.
She took us to the Holy Family Shrine, which overlooks I-80, just about three miles away from our campground. We had seen it last year on literature for "area attractions" but it always looked like a corn crib to me and we didn't have any desire to check it out. Turns out some area residents, with a religious vision, wanted to construct a shrine for folks traveling on the interstate below.
This earth bermed building is the entry into the main building that explains the origin of the shrine. In the center of the building, near the ceiling is a metal spiral that looks like a piece of art. Water drips off the spiral into a pool of water on the floor. That water sinks into the ground and circulates from a well. In the picture above you can see the cut in the stone walking surface with the potted flowers on each side of it. Water flows from the main building out to the shrine and up to the altar. It's a unique feature that I've never seen incorporated into a building before. We were trying to figure where the water goes once it flows under the altar but couldn't figure it out (there was a sprinkler head outside so perhaps it goes into the irrigation system).
On Saturday night, it was really chilly. It had rained and then been overcast during the day but we all had jeans and sweatshirts on for the first time in a really long time. It was a perfect night for a campfire. We got out the mountain pie makers and all made cherry/chocolate pies. Yum !
Saturday evening, while we were sitting out by the fire, two women walked by that had biker clothes on. They stopped to ask us questions about our rig and our trike. I gave them a nickel tour of the inside of the motorhome and we chatted more with them by the fire. Turns out that Amy and Sara are from Wisconsin and had decided to take a bike ride from their home in Pewaukee down to Nebraska so that Amy could intercept her boyfriend, who was participating in an "Iron Butt" event. We know a little about Iron Butt events because Linda's son participated in one once. It usually involves long distances in a short amount of time and as we learned from the girls, you accumulate points. Amy's boyfriend had a GPS tracker with him so she could see exactly where he was at any given time. She asked Sara if she'd like to take a ride with her and come to meet him for the ride back...completely unbeknownst to him. Amy and Sara camped in a tent at the KOA and were headed out Sunday morning to meet up with him. Tony (Amy's boyfriend) and his mom participate in Iron Butt events together and are the only mother/son team. How cool is that ? (No, Jay I won't do an Iron Butt event with you.)
Look at the ears and tail on Sara's helmet....how cute !
We had such a fun time with these ladies. They came over Sunday morning and hung out for a little bit while they were waiting to get on the road to intercept Tony. If you want a chuckle, click on the pictures of the bumper stickers on their bikes. So glad that we ran into them. We have these wonderful encounters all over the country and as I firmly believe.....nothing is by coincidence. We heard from Amy today that they had a safe ride home and their plan worked perfectly to meet up with her boyfriend and he was really surprised.
On Sunday, Paula took us down to the old part of Omaha and we had brunch and walked around. The brick streets and planters full of beautiful flowers along the roof tops of the buildings was really neat.
In this old alley of shops, there were the neatest items. Colorful glass pieces, a co-op of artisans and neat pieces made out of wood. We also got to go into a Mangelsen Gallery, where he has the most amazing wildlife photos. Amazing photos !
I'm sure you'd recognize some of the images. Go to his website www.mangelsen.com and check them out. Here is one that I love....Tree of Life
In the main business district, of Omaha. there is an amazing display of statues that depicts the settling of the plains. It starts on one block and continues on for about a three block radius. Really neat ! The level of detail in these pieces was incredible.
We left downtown Omaha with our bellies full and our minds expanded. We had a great time with an old friend and made two new ones. We learned a bit of mid-western history and soaked up with the area had to offer. Ahhh...life is good. What did you do this weekend or have in the works for the coming week that you're looking forward to ?