March 13th, 2005

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Books and books and all you do is eat the pages

Monowi, Nebraska, and the library thereof

This follows on my previous post about roadtripping in Nebraska.

When we got to Monowi, as previously noted, the town was Collapse )

The population is now one, since Rudy Eiler passed away last year. His widow, Elsie Eiler, runs the Monowi Tavern and is the last inhabitant of the town. mme_publisher and I learned about this from a recent L.A. Times article. mme_publisher thought it would be a nice gesture to donate books from the Wheatland Press line, and since I had business in Nebraska anway, I took them along in person. I was able to deliver all four volumes of Polyphony, along with All-Star Zeppelin Adventure Stories, American Sorrows, Dream Factories and Radio Pictures, Greetings From Lake Wu, Paradise Passed and 20 Questions.

Elsie was very nice. She Collapse )

She told Michael and I that she'd been receiving mail from all over the world, including boxes of books, and that the story about Monowi and the library had made it to Japan and Russia, among other places. The Times of London had sent a reporter to do a follow-up, and there was a grade school class in California that was now writing to her. Elsie is a very level gal who handled this great aplomb.

We talked about history of the town a while, too, and her life there. Her parents moved there when she was 18 months old, and she'd lived there all her childhood, going off for a while for her husband's enlistment in the Air Force and some employment before returning. The town has dwindled around her from several hundred people to just her and her husband Rudy, who passed away last year. His dying wish was to establish a library, which Collapse )

After talking a while, we drove around the town (two blocks of abandoned houses), then hit the road south for Gibbon, Nebraska.

Next: House and barns and worms, oh my
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House and barns and worms, oh my

From Monowi to eternity, or at least Gibbon

This follows on my previous post about roadtripping in Nebraska.

From Monowi, we headed south across the state toward Gibbon, following Collapse )

This drive alternated between beautiful and boring. More Collapse )

(For a certain value of "cool", at any rate.)

We saw some interesting Collapse )

And of course, Collapse )

This eventually brought us to the thriving metropolis of Gibbon, Nebraska.

Next: The eldritch territory that is Nebraska
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East to Omaha

Homaha to Omaha

This follows on my previous post about roadtripping in Nebraska.

Finally headed home from Collapse )

Except for seeing a bald eagle perched on a stump in the middle of the Platte, this leg was standard highway driving. There was a highway patrol drug checkpoint, but it was unmanned. Unfortunately I'd already dumped all my Pepcid Complete in a wall-eyed panic.

It was a good day. Almost exactly 600 miles in almost exactly twelve hours. Saw some beautiful grasslands, saw the sand hills of central Nebraska, saw cool rock formations and cliffs along the Missouri (including some primo fossiling sites which we did not explore), saw the lovely Niobrara river, saw more old farms and buildings than you could shake a bundle of sticks at. In the animal kingdom we saw bison, beefalo, the usual farm animals, dead skunks galore, wild turkey, sandhill cranes, that bald eagle, various ducks etc. And of course, I was able to deliver the books, and visit the Gibbon Pit again -- what more could one ask for a Saturday?

After all, one cannot resist the power of the Gibbon Pit.

Thus endeth my trip report. I am back to Portland this afternoon, where my ordinary inane blogging shall resume. Once I've finished up Mainspring, of course.

PS. The Nebraska posts in reading order, in case you missed them.

Wormsign, Usul! In central Nebraska!
Of railroads, morning light and mysterious shadows in the sky
Books and books and all you do is eat the pages
House and barns and worms, oh my
The eldritch territory that is Nebraska
East to Omaha