A storm blew through overnight and the tail end was over us until about 8am. Lisa and I decided to hang out. I needed to catch up on my blog, we were tired of rushing, and did not want to deal with rush hour traffic on our way out of town. We left around 9:15. Of course, we went the wrong way out of the hotel again. Don't ask, I don't know. Anyway, we got right back on US 30 - the Lincoln Highway. I was wearing my mesh jacket that Todd sent to the hotel and felt really good as it was supposed to be a scorcher today. Once on the road, I was cold. I knew I couldn't pull over right away to get my fleece, I could hear her in my head "tough it out, buttercup." I lasted about 40 miles and then I didn't care - there was a little town called Tama, and we pulled off into a gravel parking lot. On the way in, I noticed a sign about a historical marker for the Lincoln Highway -- we immediately turned around and pulled in. It changed our day. We found the Lincoln Bridge. In 1913, when the coast to coast highway was proclaimed, it was actually a series of mismatched roads. One of the hundreds of towns it went through was Tama. In 1915 the town built a concrete bridge over mud creek with the words Lincoln Highway cut out of it's guard rails. The Lincoln Highway was rerouted 11 years later, and then with the Interstate System in the 1950's, the bridge became obsolete. But here it was. And the town had signs marking the original road through town. The sisters had ridden over this actual bridge and through town. YES! We started following the original Lincoln Highway. It was very well marked. Once we got back on 30, we noticed that the signs for Lincoln Highway started pointing down dirt and gravel roads that crossed Railroad tracks and ran almost parallel to 30. At our next fuel stop, we talked about it, had both noticed the same thing. Why not? It would be no problem for me, I was on Stormy, a GS, she lived for those roads. But Betty? An electraglide classic, a cruiser? If anyone could turn a cruiser into an off road machine, it is 9R. We pulled off at the next sign that pointed across the tracks - I looked over at 9R, questioning --- "Hell Yeah!." We were off. We were pumped, even went through a little mud. They would only last a few miles and then we'd have to get back on 30. We did that a couple of times and had a blast - we could feel the sisters. We were the sisters. Finally, because of our late start, we needed to focus on making time, it was late.
I just love where the county roads meet 30. They are dirt, forming a huge T-square, and I love watching as trucks speed down them raising dust to the wind. This stretch of 30 is beautiful, Iowa is beautiful, all different textures and shades of green, with some browns on the side of the roads.
Passed the De Soto Wildlife Refuge before we crossed the Missouri River and into Nebraska, just like the sisters in 1916 and Lewis and Clark on their expedition in 1804-1806. Treeless prairie, ideal for grazing cattle. Also seeing corn and soybeans in addition to pastures, alfalfa and wheat. We were riding on 15 and 19 - sun was low - fun gentle curves on rolling hills - Lisa was in front, in shadow. An overwhelming sense of Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance " came over me. All Good.
Spent the night in Omaha. Up early the next day, just wanted to book to the next stop in McCook, NE, catch up and take a nap. The universe had other plans. I get up at 5:30 every morning to work on my blog. Around 6, I go get a cup of coffee. This morning I was in the elevator and the ride's photographer, Christina got in. Our ride yesterday came up and she asked if 9R and I would have time this morning to do a shoot. She'd find a local place. I said I'd ask Lisa and text her. There will be a book from this ride and we do want to be included so.......yes. We didn't leave until 9:15, but the place we followed Christina and her assistant daughter, Ella, to was nothing short of heaven. We were all brought to tears. It was a mile down a dirt and gravel road just off of I -80. The Holy Family Shrine, gateway to Heaven. "It is situated on a 23 - acre site overlooking the Platte River Valley. Native bluestem prairie grasses have Been re-established. Native perennials highlight the entry and the passage leading to the chapel displaying colors symbolic of a pilgrimage with the Holy Spirit. The paths are natural limestone. The Visitor Center is carved out of the side off hill to evoke Christ's tomb. Light from the center reveals a suspended sculpture. This sculpture represents the shroud of Christ as it fell to the tomb during the resurrection. From the sculpture, water appears. Symbolic of the Holy Spirit, the mystery of the source is perceived to be invisible. As the pool fills with water and we with the Holy Spirit, the outpouring leads us to the Church - and the body of Christ. Exiting the Visitor Center, we see the chapel entry facade, which is made of Western Red Cedar and glass. The upper web members of the trusses interlace like waving wheat in a field, thus reminding us of Jesus who is 'the Bread of Life'. Inside the chapel, water continues to cut through the floor, but splits to each side of the aisle, increasing in volume and velocity. Limestone 'bridges' the water allowing those to enter each pew, recalling our baptism. The water culminates and flows into a pool beneath the alter, symbolically joining our spirituality with the Eucharist. Three members make up each support column, symbolic of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit - who support our lives. Glass windows between the columns serve as the chapel walls. The simplistic and modest design is purposeful to suggest how we may live to obtain the beauty and harmony of God's will." The 4 of us spent an hour on our own, exploring in silence and peace, all 4 of us came back with a calmness, with gratitude, with a full heart. I prayed in the chapel and lit a candle for Tommy. We joined back up outside and started our shoot, it was getting late and storms were threatening. Had a great time, I channeled my mother, a TV reporter in Baltimore for many, many years -- hmmm I'm embarrassed to say I don't know exactly how many - will have to ask. I have always shied away from the media, grew up with it, but this trip is all about media attention -- every town --- so Mom, you are with me on this one -- helping me to get through. We spent 2.5 hrs shooting, thus getting a very late start. Lisa was cussing the photographer as we rode in 93.2 degree heat at 5 pm. When she went up to Christina later and damned her, Christina laughed and said you'll get over it when you see the photographs. I had said the same thing. As we rode on rt 6 through Nebraska, concrete corn silos all as one giant building greeted us in almost every town. Interesting note, In Iowa, we had trouble finding fuel with only 10% ethanol. Here we have no trouble finding fuel with no ethanol at all.
Today............ Colorado Springs here we come!!!!