Thursday, October 23, 2008

Day 52, Thurs, Oct 23, Omaha to O'Neill, NE

This is the main street running through the city of Norfolk, Nebraska. It had such a look of downtown Mesa, Arizona that we had to take a picture!

We had intended to reach Valentine, Nebraska before finding lodging for the night, but by the time we reached O'Neill on US 275, visibility was diminishing due to the rain and fog and we decided to take a room at the local Holiday Inn.

O'Neill has a strong Irish influence. General John O'Neill, founder of the city, conceived the idea of bringing Irish immigrants to the farmlands of the Midwest while he was a prisoner in Burlington, Vermont in 1870. He spent two years traveling through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri and Nebraska, encouraging the Irish to re-settle in O'Neill. He must have been fairly successful. On Saint Patrick's Day in 1969, Nebraska's governor officially proclaimed O'Neill "The Irish Capitol of Nebraska." The city now begins each Patrick's Day celebration by painting the world's largest shamrock in the middle of a downtown intersection. (Now, there's some trivia for you).

It snowed here yesterday and some snow was still on the ground, but the streets and roads were clear, though very wet, due to continuing rain. When we checked in at the hotel the temperature had dropped to 39 degrees. We hope the sky's will clear tomorrow!

This beautiful little church (a congregation of the Community of Christ) sits just off highway 275 in the small town of Clearwater, Nebraska.
Linda said, "Stop! We have to get a picture of this church and those two beautiful trees with their red leaves!"
Trees with red leaves have been a high priority on this trip. So have these village church buildings. They indicate the presence of faith in God in the lives of the common people of this country.
As we left Omaha at about 11 a.m. the sky was filled with rain-laden clouds. Temperatures were in the low 50s. Driving north on US 75 and then northwest on US 275 the temperature continued to drop and we were soon enveloped in rain, increasing mist and fog. This did not diminish our enjoyment of what we could see about us in this mid-west landscape with its contour farming on all the hills; miles of feed lots and the small towns with their grain elevators and tractor auction yards.

Just about a perfect day for Linda. No sun in her eyes today!
We departed Omaha this morning. Our destination is Mount Rushmore in southwestern South Dakota, about 570 miles away. we stayed over in Omaha an extra day due to the heavy rain and wind of yesterday.

Before heading off toward the northwest we drove down Interstate 680 where it crosses the Missouri River. this is called the Mormon Bridge (we didn't get our camera in play until we were past the sign).

This is the location on the river across from the Winter Quarters settlement. It was here that the Saints built one of three ferry's which they used to cross the river; there being no bridged crossings of this great river in those days.