Steve has just ridden south out of his parents’ hometown of Wakefield, Nebraska. Johnny B is on the road towards Chicagoland. I’m in Wakefield’s brand new and beautiful Gardner Public Library writing to you all and will meet Steve around Onawa, Iowa later this afternoon.
Since my last post, Steve and John made lots of progress. On Thursday they rode from Elgin to Norfolk with 39 miles in the saddle. In Norfolk they were treated to a family cheering section on the outskirts of town where Aunt Evonne, Uncle Jeff, Doug, Beatta, Chelsea, and Myles had placed a sign, “Welcome to Norfolk Steve!” The Schaffer car dealership graciously let them erect the sign on their property. Cousin Doug rode for about the last 15 miles with John and Steve. Once at Jeff and Evonne’s, Steve was interviewed by the Norfolk daily paper for about 45 minutes. If an article is written, we’ll provide an on-line link. (Just a side note, Johnny Carson was a native of Norfolk, Nebraska and on the edge of town is a large billboard with Johnny’s smiling face and “Here-e-e’s Norfolk!” written on it. One can almost hear Ed McMahon’s voice behind that message.)
As the afternoon went on, cousin Beth and her little guy Dillon arrived from Omaha, cousin Jeanette and Tom came from Columbus, Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Al came from Wakefield, and college friends Bob and Barb came from Norfolk. Evonne and Jeff provided a wonderful banquet for everyone. For the bikers they earned every single calorie!!! The rest of us enjoyed every single calorie!! It was just lovely to be with more family and friends and to once again catch up with them, go through some photos, and reminisce about past times together. On Friday morning Uncle Clayton who also lives in Norfolk came for a visit.
Then yesterday morning (Friday), Steve biked North and East towards Wakefield. He rode 46 miles, most on two-lane roads with no shoulder and only the little white line with its narrow margin. This would be one of the most challenging treks due to the lack of shoulder space. John and I each drove our vans to Wakefield, geared up, and rode from Wakefield to Wayne where we met Steve at the DQ. After a bite for lunch, we left Wayne for the 10 mile trek back to Wakefield. John and I rode 25 miles yesterday. And yes….that was the worst stretch of road that I’ve ever ridden with the narrow space and heavy semi-truck traffic. God-willing I hope that Steve doesn’t have to travel on this type of road again.
Did you know that Wakefield is the Baseball Capital of Nebraska? Well…now you do. Steve’s Dad was one of their best baseball players too and has some very fond memories of playing first base. We rode our bikes down to the ball park and city park to check things out. And, hands-down, their baseball diamond and ball park are no less beautiful than any major league park. They mow it every other day, keep it watered, and groomed, have actual seats from an old ball park, a picnic area, concession stand, and a good sized automated scoreboard. One can tell that this little community of 1,200 people love baseball. Apparently over the next few days there is going to be a large baseball tournament here. Too bad that we’ll miss the action!! This would be a perfect place to film a movie in case any of you have the notion. Dyersville, Iowa had Field of Dreams, but Wakefield, Nebraska could certainly come up with something even more spectacular. Maybe Dad could write a script about his favorite baseball legend…..and can I remember his name…NO! (Help me out Dad!)
We stayed with Steve’s Aunt Lorraine and Uncle Al. They even turned their house over to us last night and went to Aunt Lavonne’s to sleep in her guest room. Lavonne took us out to eat at Dorcey’s Pub on main street, which has a large license plate display with a plate from every state, a few from Canada, and several from other countries. Do you have a Manitoba, Sasketchewan, Ontario, or Quebec laying around? Those are missing so send them one if you have one!!
Last night Al and Lorraine invited cousins Corrine and Elmer over to share in coffee and dessert and a nice visit. We have been so blessed by our family members as they open up their homes, kitchens, and laundry rooms to us!! Thank you to our Norfolk and Wakefield aunts, uncles, and cousins….you are special!!
So…yes this has been a long posting, but one can’t come up short when sharing about this area. The rolling Nebraska farmland is beautiful with the butter-yellow corn tassels, golden oat fields, deep green soybeans, the sweet scent of alfalfa and clover, and permeating heat and humidity. I knew I was back in the Midwest went I breathed in the familiar aroma of corn. Sometimes it takes a farm upbringing to have an appreciation for the scent of corn!!—-Happy Nebraska Trails to you! Love, Diane
One Reply to “Nebraska Family Ties”
Steve and Diane,
It was an honor to have some of your time as you made your way on the backroads of Iowa. We pray for you daily and know that you will be finishing your journey in style in just a few days. God bless you! (P.S. You were both in Michael’s sermon the following Sunday).
Love, Cousin Bonnie