Thursday, August 2nd
Arising A.M. 5 we are on our journey at A.M. 6:15 and immediately enter Nebraska. The morning is fresh and cloudy. Julesberg is a very important farming center. I was informed that this year’s wheat crop is a record one. Julesberg is also a busy railway town and from our experience of the movement and whistling of the trains during the night we believe it. The Platte river accompanies us just alongside and beyond the railway on the right. At A.M. 6:30 Maggie draws attention to Sunshine Cemetery, an unfenced plot on the bare hillside. We are now on No. 30 Highway. A.M. 6:50 we pass the little town and the modest cemetery of “Brule” but we fail to see any obviously political holiday makers. A.M. 7:00 “Ogalalla” and away. A.M. 7:15 a puncture and A.M. 7:20 off again. The actual tire in changing was nine minutes. There are very heavy casualties among the jack rabbits of this part of the country. Their bodies lie thickly on the road, generally singly, but we have passed two just now. At A.M. 7:30 we pass through Roscoe (are we within six miles of Beliot? No.) A.M. 7:45 at Puxton. Pumped up. Rain threatening. Grain elevator. Off at 7:50. The river and the railway are still on our right hand. Alma tells the story of a local farmer who had five daughters all socially ambitious and how he was obliged to sell a number of steers every two months to meet the heavy expenses of education. The suggestion is made that he had steered himself out of difficulty. The “North Platte” A.M. 8:40, we are 90 miles on our way. Our watches are put forward an hour here. The town is well built and busy. The residences are neat, pretty gardens are noticeable. We cross the Platte here about a quarter mile in width. To the right is an airport. Downs still continue to our left. We meet a very heavily trucked Union Pacific train drawn by a single engine. Maggie industriously counts the trucks. 125 (this is our record). A long range of rugged hills is showing about a dozen miles away on the right. A.M. 10 (zone time) “Maxwell is left behind. The road becomes rougher. A Pullman train races us for a level crossing and wins, but only just. As the train passes, the only persons to be seen are negroes in the dining car and a very few passengers in the rear observation car. Apparently nobody travels by rail since they have taken to automobiling. Gothenburg, A.M. 10:35, is a busy place. There are grain elevators and extensive railway premises. The yield of hay, corn and grain, judging by the fields we are passing, is extraordinarily heavy. At A.M. 10:45 we witness what is perhaps the unusual spectacle of a “Coast to Coast” bus, filled with passengers, drawn up by the roadside owing to a puncture. At now the sun is beginning to assert itself for the first time this morning. Several teams are engaged in cutting a field of alfalfa, miles in extent. The scent is worth travelling for. We are, A.M. 10:55, stopped for gas at Cozad.
The temperature is growing warm. A.M. 11 we are off. Cozad is a nice little town. At Cozad we saw a fine brick built Catholic Church and school – St. Patrick’s. There are fine shops and very pretty residences standing in well wooded and grass bordered streets. The attendant at the gas station says that this is the best alfalfa center in the States; that four crops can be taken annually from the land, and that a crop may amount (? Average) five tons per acre. As we come further east the corn crops are becoming heavier. Mules are used to some extent by farmers. And now I observe sunflowers, some of which are eight or nine feet high. Lexington is a prosperous country town. The shopping area and a large school are particularly impressive. The last of four stacks of grain is being erected in a field in a position convenient for threshing. Although I saw yesterday threshing being carried on in the distance, this present sis the first instance of “stacking” observed. At A.M. 11:45 we return over a couple of hundred yards of road to hold a post mortem on a large snake we had killed – poor devil! It was a multi-coloured reptile, green and white predominating. Unfortunately it was too crushed to bring it with us for exhibition; the plates were too few to allow the taking of a photograph, which it is sure Ellen and even Patricia would wish to see. The everlasting railway is on our right, and great camps of Mexicans and negroes are seen, some walking, the others joyriding on those funny little trucks sometimes to be seen between train times; but there is nothing of actual work. Passing a barn I observe an enormous representation of shamrock on the gabled end. Noon we pass through Elm Creek, the railway indicating local prosperity. A few minutes later we see two threshing machines at work in the fields (no stacking). A white cross by the roadside tells its story of tragedy. P.M. 12:20, 200 miles are completed (time 5 hours and 5 minutes), and we enter “Kearney” by a glorious avenue of trees. The Normal School is well worth noting. We leave by a most delightful boulevard, the grass center being well-wooded and rich with flowers. A diversion for the purpose of lunch takes us again into busy streets. This city is wonderfully prosperous. On leaving we observe the dignified monument representing General Kearney. Kearney is called the Midway City; it is 1,730 miles from each of New York and San Francisco. Within a short distance of Fort Kearney, two crosses a short distance apart are seen. While we were having lunch the weather returned to early afternoon conditions. The sun is hidden. Shelton P.M. 1:45. For some time fields of corn have been much in evidence. “Wood River” is a small town with a fine school. At P.M. 2:15 we have come 246 miles, and 162 miles (I am told) remain to Omaha. P.M. 2:25 we enter “Grand Island” and stop at a garage. P.M. 2:35 we are off, and leave this fine modern town. Lincoln is 95 miles ahead. We are on the Lincoln Highway again. At P.M. 2:40 a few drops of rain were followed by sunshine. The Platte River is re-crossed, and as before it is characterized by many green islands. At P.M. 2:50 the rain resumes. Luckily the road is sound gravel. P.M. 2:55 two great elevators are seen some distance to our left. We have passed a place named “Murphy” without observing its existence, unless it may have been a little place of three or four cottages. P.M. 3:15 Aurora invites us to visit its churches. We pass. If Aurora depends on its churches, and I do not know that they may not be beautiful and interesting and uplifting to those in an appropriate state of mind, I fear that Aurora will wilt rapidly as far as tourists are concerned. But well for Aurora, it looks, and probably is, prosperous and it may well be that it is anxious to promote artistic and spiritual welfare instead of being desirous to barter with the tourist. The sun shines again. Morpheus has got Maggie in his very close embrace this afternoon. She wakes up calling for Alma’s “Good Housekeeping”. God help Patricia when her mother reaches home! P.M. 3:40 we enter York by a brick pavement, and find a fine city. We are standing at a drink stall. It is Tom’s desire to drink and we are seizing the opportunity to refresh also. Our mileage is being affected by all this indulgence. As we stand here, Mr. “Alston’s” shadow comes along – this for Jack and Dorothy’s information. And for Dorothy’s especial ear, I may record that her mother has just been relating the story of her (Dorothy’s) juvenile anxiety respecting the fate of “Black Bess”. P.M. 3:50 a puncture and P.M. 4:15 moving again. We come a mere few hundred yards and we stop again under the impression that the newly-put-on tire is down. Luckily it is not. A difference in air pressure as between the two back tires giving the impression. Today we are meeting many distance busses (sic), the “Corn Huskers” being much in evidence. At P.M. 4:27 we draw up at “Waco” to have one of the two punctured tires repaired. What a day of tire misfortune this has been. From every other point of view unexpectedly good, but punctures have almost neutralized all advantages. P.M. 4:50 we are on the move but at P.M. 5 another tire punctures. P.M 5:12 going again. A little later we stop at a garage to have one of the two punctured tires repaired. At P.M. 6 we are off and may a kind fate avert any more punctures. On approach to what in the distance might have been taken for a pine-clad hill, a field of well grown corn is found. “Corn” attains a healthy growth in Nebraska, but I am informed that in Iowa, strangers often mistake it for poplars. P.M. 6:15 we see a car in a deep ditch, and we understand the two occupants were injured. The sides of the road appear to be of loose gravel. We take No. 16 Highway over undulating and continually good farming country, thus cutting Lincoln out of our itinerary. Wahoo, despite the name, is a fine, clean, well-paved town especially featuring “Mills Park” and a court house. (It may be wondered if there is any association). The evening is becoming cold and the sky overcast. We can do without rain for an hour. Twenty-four miles from Omaha we cross by a series of bridges the mighty Platte once again. At this point the combined width of various channels must approach half a mile. And now we are on cement. The light effects are extraordinary. There is a great black cloud ahead and to our right while around is incandescent whiteness. We reach the center of Omaha a few minutes after 8 P.M. central time (7P.M. Julesberg time). The journey for the day is 422 miles. The last 20 miles were driven through rain that still, P.M. 11, continues. We are staying at the Hotel Rome.
Tom and Alma, however, are gone to Alma’s Mother. I have just written and am going downstairs to mail cards to Jack, Dorothy, Mr. Palmer, John Lynch, Maunder, Dr. P. and Kate.