May 5, Monday, Lincoln NE
Trip Four Has Begun!!!! The exclamation points are deserved. This trip was to begin 6 days ago. Due to the exceptional helpfulness of four different dentists, we are lucky to be underway at all. We had two planned dental appointments scheduled for the 8 days we were between trips three and four. A crown was delayed by an unexpected root canal. The replacement of a temporary to a permanent filling was later supplemented by another unexpected root canal.
One dentist came in on his day off, did prep work for the delayed crown for Chris, squeezed Ed in without an appointment, and took Chris’ crown mold and hand delivered it to the dental lab. Another dentist took Chris in and did her root canal expeditiously. A third dentist was able to fit Ed in due to a cancellation and the fourth, miracle of miracles, just happened to have a root canal cancellation called in the previous afternoon for the time at which dentist three said, oops, Ed you need a root canal.
Chris healed great, Ed was a little slower. His slowness necessitated us to drop Austin TX, the Texas hill country and Big Bend National Park. The difference in the two travel plans are shown in MapQuest maps at the end of the blog. Six less days, 1000 less miles and a different route to Page AZ where the first new adventure will be houseboating on Lake Powell.
Today was planned to be a simple travel day but once underway we realized we had missed the allure of the open road. We made two stops in west central Iowa. Our first stop was the site of the first robbery of a moving train! I know, you expected to see a large museum but instead it was a nicely done highway marker just west of Adair IA. The plaque commemorates the date of July 21, 1873 when Jesse James (yes, that one) and his gang robbed a Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific railroad by pulling out the spikes holding the rails and then separating the two rails. This action killed both the engineer and the fireman in the crash.
Jesse had information that $75,000 in gold was to be coming from Cheyenne WY on this train. However, the gold shipment was delayed and they only got $3,000. Justice of a sorts arrived in 1882 when a member of the gang was tempted by reward money on Jesse’s head and killed him in the James home in St. Joseph, MO.
Twenty miles west of Adair is the town of Elk Horn, IA, supposedly the largest rural Danish settlement in the U.S. (exact numbers were not given). In the 1970s, the community raised funds and purchased a windmill made in Denmark in 1848. They had it dismantled, numbering each piece, constructed a working model, and shipped the pieces and the model to Elkhart where volunteer labor re-built the windmill in 12 months.
The windmill still works although it was not turning today. It provides an interesting juxtaposition to the surrounding area where there are at least hundreds if not thousands of wind turbines running. Denmark has one of the largest manufacturers of wind turbines and while we did not climb the turbines to see who the manufacturer was, we will say they were of Danish design.
Elk Horn is just west of Adair which at 1,471 feet above sea level is the highest point in southern IA. The hills and ridges along this section of I-80 appeared to have even more wind turbines than the Buffalo Ridge area along I-90 in southwestern MN.
Elk Horn hosts the Danish American Library and Archives, a modern building with interesting exhibits on Denmark, its history, people (Danes spell Christensen with an “e” at the end which I learned years ago from a co-worker in PA), migration, religion, etc. We spent an interesting hour reviewing the exhibits and recalling a brief trip we made to Tyler MN two years ago which was another Danish settlement in America.
A few facts. CA, UT and MN have the largest number of Danes. Utah is high since a number of Danes converted to Mormonism and due to religious persecution (Lutheranism was the state religion at the time), they emigrated to the US and Utah. Some notable modern Danish companies are Maersk shipping, Lego, and Novo Nordisk. Muslims are currently about 4% of the population in Denmark, immigrating in since the 1970s. The archives are undergoing an expansion due to the number of artifacts they own.
Thus, a few tidbits to spice up an otherwise basic travel day.
Ed and Chris 8 pm