Friday, August 21, 2009

My Grand Adventure - Part 2

After the funeral for my friend Connie's father, we left Weeping Water late in the day, and arrived in Omaha about an hour later at the Winter Quarters Visitors Center in the north of the city. We took a tour hosted by a cute and informative sister missionary, and the rest of the staff was equally helpful. They directed us to lodging options in Council Bluffs, Iowa, as well as telling us how to get to the Kanesville Tabernacle reconstruction.

After our tour, we said good-bye and crossed Mormon Bridge over the Missouri River. After eating and sleeping, we went to the Kanesville Tabernacle site the next morning. All the information we gathered will be useful to me down the road for another novel. We learned how the modern reconstruction dealt with shrinkage of green cottonwood logs: the columns that hold up the roof are on jacks, and lower the roof as the logs lose inches, so there isn't any annoying gap between the top of the walls and the roof. :-)

The original Tabernacle only lasted a matter of months. When it was built in the dead of winter, no one knew it had been constructed on top of a spring of water.

The next leg of our trip took us west, through the Nebraska cities and countryside on Interstate 80. Besides gas and comfort stops, we briefly visited the Ft. Kearny site, then branched off onto NE Highway 26 so we could see Chimney Rock and Scott's Bluff. We ran out of day in the tiny Garden County seat of Oshkosh, NE, the "Goose Hunting Capital of Nebraska." Population 887.

A little dismayed that we had bypassed larger towns with chain motels for a small town with only two small auto courts, we asked at the gas station which we should pick. The clerk in the mini-mart said the Shady Rest was the best, but added that he worked there. I exited with anxiety roiling in my gut. We'd already stayed in one really bad small motel, and I worried that we were going to repeat the experience. The Shady Rest Motel? What a cliched name!

When Connie and I conferred, she, too, had picked up information that the Shady Rest Motel was the better of the two in town. We decided to check it out first, then get something to eat.


We were surprised and gratified at the room. Well, rooms. Kind of a mini-suite. The amenities included two queen beds in separate bedrooms, with a darling John Deere tractor motif unifying the suite, a mini-fridge, a coffee maker for those who want it, soap AND shampoo, FREE Internet access, and a CLEAN bathroom. There even may have been a second TV in the second bedroom.

The only drawback was that, ahem, because we are not tiny women, and the bathroom was small, we had to contort ourselves a bit to enter or exit it around the door.

I cannot say loudly enough that if you ever find yourself in Oshkosh, Nebraska, you won't go wrong if you stay at the Shady Rest Motel.

To be continued . . .


  1. I'm loving the travelogue!

  2. Me too; and my favorite part, I confess was the 'comfort stops', must remember that for future trip reference. It's got dignity :). And running out of day has a real nice ring to it. Can't wait for the next installment. BTW, I wish you'd serve a mission at some touristy lds spot and then write about it...

  3. Thank you Marsha!

    My teddy bear and I are drifting off to sleep with visions of the "Shady Rest Motel" dancing in our collective heads!

    I loved the part about the John Deere Tractor motif. I am the daughter of an Iowa farmer, and he was a John Deere fan!!

    We will anxiously be checking your blog for the continuing saga!

  4. Marsha,
    Sounds like you two had a blast... I love the narritive and about the bathroom. One time when I was traveling I had quite an experience in a bathroom stop... ah the memories! :O)

    ~Joyce of Tumbleweed Lane

  5. Thanks, Jana!

    Lorna, think how uncomfortable you'd be if you didn't make those stops. Yes, I went with dignity over crassness.

    Gail, next time I go on a road trip, I'm definitely taking photos of each stop. My camera wasn't at hand as much as I would have wished!

    Joyce, write about it, if you dare!

  6. What a great travelogue. It's been ages since I've been down that road, and things keep changing. Loved the way they met the challenge of green wood, and had to chuckle about building over a spring in winter without knowing it.

    My maternal grandmother was born in Winter Quarters in February, 1847.

  7. As a substantial woman myself I can relate to the bathroom door situation. Shady Rest sounds great with its mini suite. When you started I was concerned it was goinging to be a less dangerous cousin to the Bates' Motel.
    Isn't there a children's clothing line with the same name as the town? If so I would have thought the town would would have been larger. Enjoying the travelogue.

  8. What an awesome legacy, Anna!

    Susan, the children's clothing is named for Oshkosh, Wisconsin, I believe it is, or Minnesota maybe. Anyone out there know so I don't have to Google? LOL!


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