The Godson, with the Wife riding with him from the mini-reunion, arrive Monday afternoon. After showing off our home and ogling our great view out our back window, we decided it was time for beer and food. We piled into the GodSon's car and headed into Omaha.
We headed downtown to the Upstream Brewing Company. The GodSon gave his approval to the Upstream's beer selection which bodes well for the visit of the Best Man and Matron Of Honor this weekend (readers may remember that they are beer nuts).
After beer we moved next door to Spaghetti Works for some grub. Food and more beer was consumed. Conversation was enjoyed. During our conversation we realized that our driver had had a little too much to drink so we decided that we need to walk off some of the beer. I don't drink so I was fine but I drive a stick shift like a drunk guy - Me and sticks ... not pretty.
We walked around the downtown area taking pictures until we arrive to our the next obvious destination - Ted & Wally's Ice Cream Shop. YUM. YUM. Even more YUM.
We walked around some more, probably a little too much based on the Wife's grumblings, before going home to watch the Olympics.
After a good night's sleep we headed to Lisa's Radial Cafe for a very late (11:00 AM) breakfast. We all enjoyed the great food though the GodSon's breakfast sandwich was missing its bacon. I can attest to the act that their pancakes are almost as big as your head and are magnificent.
We walked through the nearby cathedral before heading on to our history related destinations of the day. The first of these was the Mormon Trail Center. The center documents the Mormons flight from Nauvoo, Illinois to the Salt Lake area during the late 1840s. The displays were interesting. Especially the odometer used to measure the trails so that they could leave detailed directions for future Mormon travelers. Now I try to be a very open minded guy and I've taken advantage of the genealogical libraries run by the Mormons, but frankly, they creep me out. The docents at the museum were just a little too helpful and shadowed us a little too closely as we walked through the displays.
The next historic stop was the birthplace of Malcolm X. I'm not sure people now that Malcolm X was born in Omaha. He and his family were run out of the city when he was young. The only thing marking his birthplace is a plaque. At least there was supposed to be a plaque. We had some trouble finding the actual address and after driving around through some rather poor neighborhoods we discovered that the plaque was gone but the location was being transformed into what we assumed would be a memorial to Malcolm X. We all felt this was a good thing as a plaque seemed inadequate and we will be back once the memorial is completed.
We returned home to rest up in preparation for the Omaha Royals game that night. We arrived at Rosenblatt stadium (home of the College World Series) and bought some food before finding a good spot to watch the game from. The GodSon is a big baseball fan. The Omaha Royals, a AAA ball team, went up against the Albuquerque Isotopes. Aren't the Isotopes the Springfield team from the Simpsons?!? The game started with the Royals ahead. The Wife and the GodSon had fun making bad nuclear physics jokes ("the isotopes are decaying" and similar groan inducing jokes) about the Isotopes. I may have contributed a little bit but the Wife contributed the most. The Jokes ended the top of the fifth when the isotopes scored 8 runs. That's when we decided to leave. The final score was 11-5.
Offutt Air Force Base and the Strategic Air & Space Museum was free because of the festivities. The museum is huge consisting in a main building connecting two large hangers. Planes of all shapes and sizes were intricately parked in these two large spaces. The place was so big that we lost the GodSon. When we finally found each other we had some lunch at the Plane Food snack bar. I didn't take too many pictures for some reason. The few pictures I took are here.
After food we went to ride the flight simulator. For some reason I wasn't really that thrilled to do this. Just not in the mood I guess but, since the simulator held two people, I ended up riding with the GodSon. We climbed in and the Godson took the stick. The simulator is really cool allowing complete 360° turns - loops and barrel rolls. After flying a bit the Godson switched the controls over to me and that's when it got fun. After shooting a few planes and stuff I decided to see if I could get the GodSon to hurl. I did some loops, barrel rolls, and corkscrews. I didn't make him hurl but I did make him scream like a little girl. He would scream. I would cackle. The Wife could heard the screaming and laughing as she waited outside. I ended up having more fun than I expected.
Next on our list was the Squirrel Cage Jail in nearby Council Bluffs, Iowa. I had no idea what this was before we went. Jails didn't really interest me very much. We got there and payed our entry fee to a very disinterested teenager who also turned out to be our guide. The guide, whose every utterance started with uuummm, showed us around the facilities, answered our questions, and mildly irritated us with her mannerisms. I have to admit that the place was fascinating. The jail cells were arranged in a cylinder three stories high. The cells were pie shaped wedges with two bunks along one side and a toilet at the point of the wedge. The entire cylinder, all three stories, rotated. If you wanted to release a prisoner, the cylinder would be rotated until his wedge lined up with the cell door. The whole thing was fascinating in a spooky, eerie, engineering sort of way. The solitary confinement cell was the creepiest being as wide as a man's shoulders. Pictures of the jail can be found here.
Next door to the jail is the Union Pacific Railroad Museum. The GodSon likes trains so it was an obvious next destination. We walked through the well made museum in the interestingly restored old building and were quite impressed. The Union Pacific Railroad is headquartered in Omaha and they have the resources to put together a good museum. The docents, old ladies primarily, were a little disappointing as many of the Wife's questions went unanswered but besides that, it was an interesting historical museum.
On the way back home we stopped at Kenefik Park, location of two of the largest locomotives in the world: Big Boy and Challenger. The engines can be seen from I-80 as you enter Nebraska from Iowa.
This day of planes and trains in our automobile ended with some good food at the Dundee Dell and dessert at the Village Inn.
As usual we had a good time with the GodSon. I ended up not taking very many pictures for some reason but trust me, we saw a lot in the last three days. Each day ended with us watching another world record fall in the Olympics. We all enjoyed ourselves.
Yesterday the GodSon left and his parents, the Best Man and Matron Of Honor, arrived. I can't wait to see what we do with them.