Travels with Cosmo-First Installment

or, drive 'til the dog farts

A continuing travel log of our trip from Cincy to Oregon and back, and all the places we stop along the way.

Day before: Jk goes to get comic books (a necessity) before we leave. As he is pulling out of the parking spot a woman backs into him. See the picture.

JK: AD is being ironic. I had reserved copies of the first two volumes of The Age of Bronze and didn’t want the fellow at Queen City Comics holding them while I was away. Silly me. I didn’t even bring them with me. Sigh. AD did a great job with rubbing compound the night before, taking away all the black marks you see in the photo.

Day 1
Springfield Ill is our first stop. Jk visits the new Abraham Lincoln museum, which he loves like an elementary school boy. AD takes Cosmo to a vet to get a new set of xrays. (He just started a new drug and we need to check his progress.) Good news he is getting better. We took part of the famous Route 66.
Springfield has at least two unusual large fiberglass sculptures. One a tire man and the second a pink elephant, wearing shades and holding a martini glass. Pics here.
It turns out that both were damaged in a tornado and were just refurbished.

JK: The folks in Columbus who allocated funding for the Freedom Center need to take a field trip to the Abraham Lincoln Museum. In addition to good exhibits in a small space, it has a number of astonishingly well-produced and informative theatrical productions. I don’t call them “movies” because they rely on holographic and “sensurround” effects which are remarkable. One of them is about what a Presidential Library is for, told in the voice of a Civil War ghost who is played by a live actor assisted by a lip-synced voiceover and special effects (see the picture) and the other is a charming story of how to paint a picture of a President told by the artist responsible for the portrait of Lincoln which greets you as you enter. I was enthralled by both, even after the somewhat maudlin endings they tacked on. If you have kids in the 9-12 age range, I urge you to get a class trip organized to the Lincoln Museum and compare it to its poorer sister in our own Queen City. We need a friendly rivalry to further develop in our own Museum so its exhibits which chronicle the evil that Lincoln helped eradicate are on a par with his museum.

We make our way across Illinois to Iowa. Yeah another state off my been there list. The thing about driving through the Prairie lands is the bugs hit our windshield making a sound like large raindrops.

JK: Concrete pavement is noisy, too.

Our second stop was Iowa City. We pulled in in search of dinner. We happened to catch the jazz festival. Searched around the festival for a vegetarian option. Nothing sounded good, so we went into a cute tree covered market area and as we browsed Cosmo watched for Squirrels. As I was talking to a vendor Cosmo decided to chase a squirrel and as he tugged the lead broke in two and off he went in pursuit of the squirrel. Don’t worry he was quickly captured. Good thing I always pack two leads. We ended finding a cool market that had an outdoor dining area and had a terrific dinner complete with a glass of wine. Iowa City appears to be a cool little city. JK continued driving as I relaxed back and watched fireworks of in the distance. Not as good as Rozzi!

JK: Iowa City is such a friendly, clean, nice place to visit. I had been there once during winter break when our daughter was shopping for colleges, and was favorably impressed. Now I’m even more so. Even the rest stops along I-80 are beautifully manicured and maintained, with the car entrances curving in an almost feng-shui-like manner to make sure you SLOW DOWN when entering and don’t plow into the wonderful playgrounds. Nice work, Iowa. We also thank you for such cultural attractions as the International Wrestling Institute and Museum.

Day 2

Powered through the rest of Iowa and have crossed Nebraska off the list. Just a lot of Corn and soybeans to look at. We stopped for lunch in Grand Island. (No water in sight, just a name that sounded cool.) In case you were worried, the Lost Shaker of Salt is safe and sound in Grand Island, We stopped for lunch in at a little café with a beach theme and the menu says that the owner spent a drunken night with a little old man in Mexico that said he got the shaker from a cool guy named Jimmy.

JK: AD hates going through museums with me, because my habit of reading every piece of exhibit signage is almost autistic in its extremity. If she had read the signage at the rest stop (as I, compulsively, did), she would have learned that Grand Island is at a fork in the Platte River, thus its name. The only other thing I can say about Nebraska is that it makes you appreciate Iowa. Only another few hundred miles and we’ll put it behind us. Sorry, Nebraska.

We stopped in a rest stop to get input on Chimney Rock and Carhenge. The volunteers in the center were not overly excited about Carhenge, and tried to direct us to visit Cabrera’s, large sporting goods store with a giant stuffed bear. Not interested in site-shopping.

We took a state road to Chimney Rock. We had to make several death defying passes around overly large farm equipment. It seems that combines and other harvest equipment travel from farm to farm. There were cattle grazing, lazing at the foot of the rock. See pic. We decided not to try to venture closer since there was a sign that said rattle snakes were common. Courthouse Rock is very picturesque too. See pic. I took this pic with the backlight feature so you can see it more clearly.

Another state off the list, now we have entered Wyoming. I was hoping to have clear skies at night to see the stars, and the Milkyway, put alas an overcast night. I’ve only just put my foot into Wyoming, I’ll let you know how I like it later today.

Till next time…

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