We got out of the hotel at 8:45 this morning. A record departure time for the trip. Just more proof that this group is ready to get home.
Today is Marissa’s 3rd birthday, so we took her out to breakfast at the Village Inn, and got her the Chocolate Chip pancakes. Those were a big hit with her.
After breakfast, we walked next door to the Fort Cody Trading Post – Nebraska’s Largest Souvenir Store! However, this place was mostly a scam. It had one little wall of Nebraska souvenirs, and 2 acres of cheap toys you can find in any truck stop. They did have a miniature replica of the Buffalo Bill Wild West Show on display that moved and played music. It was very large, and this was probably the one redeeming quality of the whole place. I asked a kid who worked there if they had any Nebraska picture frames, and they did not. I expressed shock and dismay to the employee, while asking if they truly were Nebraska’s largest souvenir shop. He assured me that they were, but they still did not have any Nebraska picture frames. (They also had a stuffed two-headed calf from the 1940s that Miles thought was pretty cool.)
Next, we drove north of town to the Bailey Rail Yard. This is the busiest/biggest railroad classification yard in the United States. It moves approximately 10,000 railroad cars every day. It is operated by the Union Pacific railroad. It indeed was very large, and very impressive. Our only regret is that there is no great place to get a good view of it. I have read that there are plans to create a Visitors Center with an observation deck, and that would be well-received.
We pulled out of North Platte, Nebraska at 11:00. We had originally planned to drive to York, Nebraska and head straight south to Tulsa from there. However, we were so close to Lincoln by that time, we figured that Miles would enjoy seeing the University of Nebraska Memorial Stadium. This turned out to be our best move of the day.
We got to the stadium about 3:00, and while we were taking some pictures, we noticed somebody walking in one of the doors. We decided to follow, in hopes that maybe we could see the field. As soon as we walked in the door, we were greeted by a lady at an Information Desk. She asked if she could help us. I told her that we were heading back to Oklahoma, and thought we’d see the stadium. She immediately jumped up, closed the window to the Information Desk, and walked over to us. She said she would be happy to take us up to the Press Box. What?! Whooo Hoo!! It turns out that on the weekends, they perform tours from 10:00 to 2:00. (They had provided tours to over 30 people today…) Keep in mind, this is Sunday afternoon at 3:00 and there is a staffperson volunteering to take us on a tour of the Press Box. This was unbelievable.
She took us up to Level 6, which is where the press predominantly sits. Level 6 is 118 feet above the field, and it looked like it. She did a wonderful job of explaining all of the construction that is going on, showing us the baseball stadium, and showing us where the postgame press conferences are held. We probably spent 10 minutes up there with a personal tour. We were very appreciative towards her. Miles enjoyed looking at all of the memorabilia on the ground floor of the stadium. Miles is also starting to lobby me to take him to the next OSU/Nebraska game in Lincoln.
We left Lincoln at 4:00, and decided to head to Manhattan, Kansas and have dinner there. On the way, we passed through the town of Blue Rapids, and the entire town had rolled out for a parade down Main Street in honor of the Marshall County Fair.
We arrived in Manhattan around 6:15, and took a picture in front of KSU Stadium. Then, we located Aggieville and ate some pizza at Gumby’s. For dessert, we went over to the Stone Cold Creamery and had some Birthday Ice Cream for Marissa.
We departed Manhattan around 8:00, and started heading south. The big kids stayed awake until we crossed the Oklahoma state line, sometime after 11:00. Believe me, there was a lot of cheering in that van, as we were very glad to be back in our home state. We pulled into the driveway at 12:30.
A few final thoughts…
We drove a total of 2,783 miles on our trip. The kids were great travelers. There was never any whining about being tired of driving, or constant questions about how close we were getting to where we were going.
I had made up a book for our trip before we left, that included details of everything that we planned to see and do each day, and it included pictures of these activities. The kids, especially the girls, would ask, “Can I see Daddy’s Special Book?” Of course, this was a big hit with Dad and we would pass it back.
The trip went pretty much according to plan, but even those modifications turned out to have silver linings. We’re pretty sure we wouldn’t have changed anything.
Thanks for following along.