IA to NE to IA

For those of you who read my last post, I alluded to the fact that I might sneak into Nebraska, considering that my route through Iowa would take me near the border…  and I ended up doing just that. But first thing’s first!  Let’s talk about wood.  More specifically, the historically accurate furniture from 1875 that Robby Pedersen builds in Jefferson, IA (http://www.rvp1875.com/).  Robby spent close to an hour showing me the tools, techniques and methods that he uses.  He even cuts down the trees and drives the oxen cart!  The result? Pure awesomeness.  (Bonus points for letting me wear one of his hats.)  I seriously adored him and loved everything in his store and when I do land, I’m definitely getting the extra-wide rocking chair shown here.  And probably a trunk. And a dining room table.  FYI – he also makes nifty coffins

I also enjoyed a stop at Ledges State Park in my travels across Iowa.  Very pretty park with “baby fords” that you can cross in your car. There were some kids playing in the stream and they demanded that I go fast so they would get splashed.  I was happy to oblige. But the most striking thing is the Flood Pole showing how high the water had risen during various floods.  1993 and 2008 were NOT good years.

It was about two hours from mid-Iowa to the Nebraska border and I put some Built to Spill on the iPod. Yes, I know they are from Idaho but their music seemed apropos for the Iowa journey.  One thing that struck me on the drive were these “quilts” on the sides of homes and barns.  They are all different and I don’t know if it’s purely decorative or if it’s some kind of house sigil like a direwolf or the flayed man.  If someone could please weigh in and explain, I’d appreciate it!  I found the Sukup silos amusing.  And the blue thing being towed by the truck?  No clue.

Last stop was Elk Horn to see the Danish windmill. The windmill wasn’t turning so not that exciting.  But the teeny tiny Morning Star chapel on the grounds was worth the trip.  It’s even smaller than the church in Festina at 6′ x 8′ (much smaller than the MoHo) and holds only 4 people in the pews.  Seriously the cutest thing ever… they even hold weddings there!  BTW – can someone explain the difference between a church and chapel?

So I spent two nights in Nebraska – one in Omaha and one in Lincoln.  I will probably spend more time there (on the western part of the state) when I loop back around next year.


That said, here are the best things about Omaha:

  1. Ted and Wally’s ice cream shop.  I enjoyed a sweet corn chevre milkshake that was beyond delicious.  Yes, it was corn goat cheese ice cream!!
  2. The Bob Kerrey pedestrian bridge where you can stand between Iowa and Nebraska

    3. The trains.  First, there’s the model railroad garden at the Lauritzen Gardens.  I could have watched the trains all day. The pix don’t do it justice.  And then as a bonus, you walk across the parking lot and up the stairs and you can see Big Boy and Centennial, two of the biggest trains ever made.  They are ENORMOUS!!

    4. Incredible street art!  This was entirely unexpected – kind of like when I found that alley in Boise, ID.  Had to stop and take a look when I found this outdoor “gallery”

    The only bummer about Omaha was that I saw the Milk Carton Kids were playing the end of the month. Sadly, I’m going to be in Illinois by the time they arrive.  Seen them live once before and loved them.

As for Lincoln, there was a little less to enjoy.  The Cornhuskers stadium was rather impressive – definitely nicer than the Coliseum back in Oakland…  The capital, the Sunken Gardens and the Quilt Museum were my top 3.  Juno especially liked the koi at the Sunken Gardens – and smelling the flowers.  The Quilt Museum was a nice visit and it was so cool to see the Mountain Mist quilt patterns with the “Jack and Jill” nursery rhyme.  These were created back in 1936!!!

That was it for Nebraska.  Back over the border to Sioux City and the home of the Palmer Candy Co, maker of the famous (?) Twin Bing.  I tried it – it was okay. Sioux City also has a lot of rules in their parks – basically if it’s snowing, you can’t have any fun.

Pretty much caught up now.  I hit 10,000 on my return trip from Nebraska to Iowa.  Technically I haven’t driven that much on this trip since I had around 1,800 miles before I left CA.  But it’s still cool.


State count:  11


7 thoughts on “IA to NE to IA

  1. I think a chapel is a place of worship that can be anywhere, like a room dedicated to prayer in a hospital where anyone can pray regardless of faith. A church usually has a specific religious denomination attached to it, and its congregation holds regular services there.


  2. The stars and such on barns are supposed to resemble quilt squares. It’s part of the national quilt trail. We passed a bunch on the way to Green Bay. They are supposed to mark areas or buildings of note (historical or beauty). I think the blue thing is just a disc plow. 🙂


  3. The big blue thing is for water irrigation lots around here. The difference between a Church and a Chapel is just the religion it is conducting or at least is that in England.



  4. Hi Jill.

    Thanks for sharing your blog with me.
    How interesting.

    About the quilt squares.
    Each pattern has a different meaning.
    Back in the days of no telephone, the farm women would hang out a quilt square .
    One might mean her husband was gone by horse.
    Another, maybe to alert you that the Indians where coming
    They have an interesting history.

    Hugs to Juno,


    • Hi Kim –

      It was nice meeting you this past weekend and thanks so much for the explanation on the quilt squares… Had no idea but definitely want to learn more about the history. Have a wonderful week (or two) at Kennedy Park. Such a great place – I’m glad I had the chance to spend some time there.



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