Thursday, August 27, 2009

Sick as a Dog and Omaha

We are officially sick, and though it should come as no surprise, it sure changes things. This is also a good example of the perils of traveling when things are scheduled closely together. If things don't go smoothly, the whole house of card crumbles. Fortunately, we don't have a rigid itinerary and since it's open ended, we can pretty much do whatever we want.

We had originally planned on spending the morning in KC and then jetting off to Omaha, NE to see the zoo, which I've been told has the largest indoor rainforest exhibit in the world. Apparently this zoo is famous, and it's in Nebraska. Go figure. Anyway, we woke up feeling a little ill, and by lunchtime, we were feeling even more ill, so much so that we couldn't really drive for fear of making a mess in the car. So we ended up hanging out in a nature preserve on the outskirts of KC. Nature preserve meant a place to hunt deer and birds, and according to the sign there is even a frog hunting season, though hunting is a bit of a stretch. I think they used the word gathering.

We had planned on a short break but ended up staying there for several hours, and boy was it hot and humid. There a small shelter with picnic tables that afforded us some shade, which in turn was next to the archery range. We got to watch the locals come out and shoot arrows, and some of them were really good. I'm guessing they were getting ready for hunting season. Somehow shooting a deer with a bow and arrow seems more noble to me. When you have a rifle and scope, the deer really has no chance.

When we finally felt well enough to drive, it was early evening, and our plan to go to the zoo that day was pretty much done. We still had to get to Omaha, however, so we piled into the car and headed north. Not that I got to see much of it, but KC was more happening than I thought. In fact, it looked just like West Lebanon, except on a grander scale. Not quite as big as New Jersey or LA, but same look, style and offerings. A little scary, actually. Also, it wasn't as flat as I thought, but I could be confusing Missouri with Nebraska.

Speaking of Nebraska, just wanted to mention that I've driven through the state about three times and every single time I've been hit with a major lightning storm. They are so severe that, and I know my Mentor will shake his head in disapproval on hearing this, but they scared me a little and I almost pulled over and waited them out. But I didn't, so he can't think I'm a complete loser. We headed out to Omaha around 5:30 and it was actually kind of nice.

I rather like driving through flat sections of the country. At the very least they are different, but there is something moody and dramatic about all that flat expanse, especially when a storm is rolling in, and it seems like a storm is always rolling in. This time was no different, though we didn't get any lightning. It's funny because you can see the storm ahead of you, literally like night and day. R made the analogy of stepping in and out of a shower, and that's exactly how it was.

I could see the rain about a half mile before we hit it, and once we were in it, it was so severe that visibility was almost zero. I slowed down considerably, and my Mentor can take pride in the fact that not for a single moment did I even consider stopping. If anything, R would have reprimanded me and even taken over the driving, a shot to my male pride that I could not endure.

The rain lasted for about half an hour, and then, just as suddenly, it was gone. Weird. And then we hit Omaha, which deserves it's own entry.

Until then, thanks for reading, and thanks to Sophie and Zsombor BENKO for the pics.

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