Friday, May 2, 2014

Pioneer Village and The Archway

We played tourist today and saw both of these places. With over 250 pictures downloaded from my camera, how do I choose which to share? And, even if I shared them all, it still wouldn’t be like you seeing the places yourself. So, I’ll choose only a few and encourage everyone to come see these interesting sites for yourselves.

The first building of Pioneer Village contains more than 10,000 items, mostly buggies, cars and planes, arranged in chronological order.


Here are some of my favorites. First, a carretta from Sicily.


A fancy buggy.


A replica of the Wright brothers’ first plane.


Surry with fringe on top.


Steam train.


Private stage coach, with clothes worn by the coachmen.


The Cadillac built by the Ford Motor Co. It “will go up any grade of any well-traveled road, without balk – most-time without change of gear.”


Curved dash Oldsmobile, 1904.


1928 Model “A,” the first car to have safety glass, introduced to compete with the Chevrolet.


1956 Lincoln Continental Mark II.


Enough about cars! Just one more set of facts I learned: Louis Chevrolet (1880-1941) was born in Switzerland and arrived in the U.S. in 1900. He was a rather wild race driver, but a good mechanic, who later started designing cars that we now call “Chevys.”


There are lots of horse-drawn wagons, including a hearse.


Milk wagon.


General merchandise, groceries, etc.


An early RV, the Gypsy Wagon, 1850. It was equipped with a stove and sleeping accommodations. It was tradition to burn the wagon along with the owner’s other belongings when he died, so this type of wagon is now scarce.


There’s a San Francisco Cable Car.


And an electric trolley car from Fort Collins, CO.


How about a 1967 amphicar? This is the only one ever built for private use.


The propellers can be seen in the mirrors.


After making our way through all of this, we opted not to visit the three other buildings containing 300 more cars!

There’s a hot air balloon basket from WWI, not very different from those in use today.


This hand-crocheted dress (on left) impressed me, since I crochet. But I never made anything like this!


The United States quilt was made by a local Nebraska woman. Every one of the 50 states is represented with the state bird, state flower, name of the state, date and sequence of admission to the Union. The map in the center shows where the capital of each state is located.



Outside, about 15 more buildings surround a round, grassy, treed area.




Pioneer Village was built by Harold Warp. He dedicated it to his parents, John Nielson (misspelled on the picture) Warp and Helga Johannesen Warp. It was interesting to read that his father’s name was John Nielsen and he came to the U.S. from Warp, Norway In the late 1800’s. Because there were seven other Nielsens in the neighborhood, he came to be known as John Nielsen Warp. The couple married in 1880, and bore twelve children. She was 14 years younger than her husband, and immigrated from Bergen, Norway, with her brother when she was sixteen.


To keep this blog from becoming too long, I’ll save the rest of the pictures from the village for another day.

We also visited The Great Platte River Road Archway in nearby Kearney.


That full story will also appear in another blog post. I hope you’ve enjoyed this peek at the fascinating day we had!

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Off The Road For Two Nights

We drove about 320 miles today, saying goodbye to Bill and Jan this morning as we both pulled out of Liberal about 1/2 hour apart. I drove the first 110 miles, then Don drove until lunchtime. We stopped at a small city park, put our driver side slide out and had a peaceful lunch.


He continued to drive until about 50 miles from our destination, then I took the last leg.

Although we changed direction several times, going northeast then north, back to northeast, etc. with the last 24 miles almost due east, it seemed like we always had a crosswind! But it was mild compared to the previous several days.

Here’s what our view looked like on Tuesday just before we got off the road.


Here’s one of today’s views. The road wasn’t in the greatest shape (construction ahead), but look at that blue sky with puffy white clouds!


Now we can take the time to play for a day. We’re parked at the Pioneer Village Campground in Minden, Nebraska, home of Pioneer Village aka “Authentic Americana.” We’ll see the museum, historic buildings, and the rest of the complex tomorrow. For now, it’s just nice to kick back and relax.



While we were disconnecting the car before pulling into our site, two women stopped their car in the road beside us, welcomed us to Minden and recommended the Mexican restaurant in town. How nice to be in a small midwest town with friendly people!

We only have one neighbor in the campground. It’s refreshing to be somewhere without long-term RVs with a lot of junk around their rigs and accompanied by noisy kids and dogs.


Along with our campground stay we got one free ticket to the complex, so our total cost is reasonable.

After setting up we discovered a surprise in our closet – I guess that bump we hit going into a fuel station was a little bigger than we thought!


It didn’t take long to put everything back on the rod, and nothing was damaged.

On our way to dinner, we drove around downtown. It’s sure pretty here, and we’re loving the calm breezes and clear blue skies. Here’s the courthouse.


Hostetler’s opera house 1891.


Probably a hotel from 1886, now a health club and tanning parlor.


We took the recommendation to have dinner at El Agave. Both our dinners were excellent! Don had the chile verde and said it was as *almost* as good as what I make (what a guy)! I had a chile relleno stuffed with chicken and cheese.


Margarita happy hour is on Thursday and Saturday, so of course I had to have one. It was good, too.


Tomorrow we’ll be tourists.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Toto, We’re Finally in Kansas!

Liberal, KS was our destination when we left Deming, NM, and we thought we’d get here in two days, with a stopover in Tucumcari, NM. Because of high winds and faster gusts, we got off the road early on both Monday and Tuesday, staying in Santa Rosa, NM and Dalhart, TX respectively.

We were lucky to get the last 2 sites (of 4) at the Dalhart Elks Lodge. While it’s not scenic, it was a safe place to get off the road while wind and dust were causing multiple accidents on I-40 between Tucumcari and Amarillo, just south of us.


Today we had only 112 miles to drive to Liberal. Although the wind was blowing, it wasn’t nearly as strong as the last two days. And the roads were better, including a nice, smooth 4-lane divided section for a large part of the distance.


We are parked at the Seward County Fairgrounds, where there are enough sites for the 4 RVs here, including us and the Mains, to leave an empty site in between each.


The name Liberal was adopted in 1872 when one of the settlers, who built the first house here, generously gave water to weary travelers. They said it was “liberal” of him. So now there’s Liberal Liquor, Liberal Bank, Liberal Schools, etc. I’m sure there are plenty of jokes made about this.

Liberal is the home of the Seward County Historical Museum, which includes a 1907 home that “has been preserved and restored to reflect” that of Dorothy’s House & Land of Oz. We visited this site on another visit, but it was closed today. Since neither the novel by L. Frank Baum, published in 1900, nor the movie, released in 1939, specified where in Kansas Dorothy’s house was, it has been claimed by the city of Liberal.

We had dinner tonight at the excellent Ruffino’s Italian Restaurant, that we discovered during one of our previous visits. The outside doesn’t look much like a restaurant.

Grier Eating House


But as soon as you enter the first set of doors, there’s no doubt.


Through the next set of doors, the reception area for Ruffino’s is just to the left.


The front of the menu shows the front of the building (the entrance is now on the side).


In fact, the restaurant is inside what was The Cimarron Hotel, next to the Rock Island Depot, with similar architecture.


The building is now called Grier Eating House.


Our dinners were excellent and we continued to enjoy each others’ company.


We will take a different direction in our travels from Bill and Jan tomorrow. We’re heading north toward Sioux Falls, SD to get my driver’s license renewed. They are going to explore other parts of Kansas. Then we’ll meet up again in Goshen, IN for the Escapade.

We look forward to finding the time and facilities to wash our motorhome and car somewhere soon. This is the dirtiest they have been in a long time, especially the motorhome!