Tuesday, March 24, 2009


Last Saturday was a beautiful spring day with temps in the 70s so we decided to go for a daytrip. We took highway 92 all the way to Council Bluffs/Omaha and just enjoyed the drive. We like to check out the little towns along the way and see what's new or, in some cases, what's missing. It seems like a lot of the older buildings in small towns are just going to pot until they either fall down or are torn down, leaving empty spots on Main Streets. All of the towns are proud of how long they've been around and they proclaim it on signs as you come into town that they've been there for over 100 years but I seriously doubt a lot of them will make it to 200 hundred.

Once we got to Omaha, it was time for lunch. We got a gift card for Cracker Barrel as a Christmas gift so we decided to use it. They always have good food and I enjoy looking around their gift shop, too. Jim had the Sampler plate of meatloaf, ham, and chicken and dumplings with mashed potatoes and baby carrots. He must have been really hungry! He didn't like the meatloaf because he thought it had too much green pepper. I tasted it and thought it was okay. I had a Skillet meal which was a mix of chicken breast chunks and broccoli and something else (hashbrowns maybe?) covered in Ritz Cracker crumbs and some cheese and baked. It was really good. All the meals come with fresh baked biscuits and corn muffins. There was enough left on the gift card to get a bag of sweet potato chips from the gift shop. I had seen them there before we ate and wanted to try them. They weren't bad but I won't be buying them if I have to pay cash; they were $3.49 and the bag wasn't that big.

After our big lunch and long drive we needed to stretch our legs. We drove around Omaha some looking for a good place to walk and we found the perfect place, the new Bob Kerrey Pedestrian
Bridge over the Missouri River right close to the Qwest Center. The nice weather had brought out hundreds of families walking, many with their dogs or pushing strollers, or riding their bikes along the path, and we decided to join them. The Omaha side of the river is being developed quite extensively with a restaurant and marina, trails, parks, and plenty of parking. The only downsides we could see were that you can't hear when a bicycle comes up behind you and the complete absence of toilet facilities. During the week I'm sure you could use the National Park Headquarters building which is right at the start of the bridge but it's closed on weekends. It would be fun to walk over the bridge in the summer when the barges and recreational boats are on the river.

Stepping onto the suspended part of the bridge made me feel 'seasick' for just a few seconds and I had to grab the railing. You could feel the bridge swaying slightly in Saturday's breeze. Once I got used to it, it was fine. We only walked halfway across the bridge and then back since we were searching for those ellusive bathroom facilities. The bridge was just completed last year and has a 3000-foot span and its twin support towers are 210 feet tall. It connects 150 miles of bike and pedestrian paths. Community leaders in Council Bluffs are hoping it spurs development on their side of the river, too.

Leaving the bridge it was a short drive back across the river to Council Bluffs where we made a quick stop at Harrah's Casino. Jim had a little luck but I can't say the same. Then it was back in the truck for the long ride home.

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