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SAC and Corn!

July 26, 2010

After our departure from Murdo we made our way across the plains of Nebraska it was the second of the truely hot days we’ve experienced on our trip, the sun beat down, heating the air to a sweltering 94 without a cloud in the sky, the humidty (which we later learned was due to the corn!) shot up to about 70%. Most people think of corn as pretty boring, and uninspiring to look at. I beg to differ… The rolling hills combined with the near perfect rows of corn that extend off into the distance offer the eye a mezmerizing dance, both patterned and yet randomized as the stalks swayed in the wind, the mathematical perfection delivered by the computers of these modern piece of farm equipment is truely a testament to the advances we’ve made since the very beginings of agriculture. After a long day of riding we made it to Omaha and made several circles around the SAC Museum looking for a hotel that had food, turns out we had to go an extra 10 miles to find one. The SAC (Strategic Air Command) Museum wasn’t exactly what I was expecting. The entrance of the museum was misleading because outside they had the ICBMs designed to deliver nuclear payloads to russian and any other nuclear power that might threaten us. We expected the museum to be about the history of SAC, and the missle defense system… it turned out to be an Air History museum, much like the one at Wright Patterson, only smaller. The one advantage this one did have was a retired Air-Force pilot giving a guided tour and telling storries about his friends and favorite planes. Of course at WPAFB we had Uncle Willis to tell us stories. So we didn’t spend too much extra time there, we did get to take a close look of a cut away piston engine, that was pretty sweet.

We decided it was time to press on so we took off for Iowa. Another hot day in Iowa lead us to Louise’s (the Prairie Pirate we introduced a few posts back) house in Redfield. Although we got a little lost on the way, we arrived no worse for wear. When we were settled in Louise’s cousin Ed gave us a tour of his farm… which started with the “Machine Shed” (this building was big enough to be a warehouse) which housed a multitude of farm equipment which was so awsome, it was so much fun to crawl around and inside these gigantic machines (grand total invested musta been over $1,000,000). Ed and a partner together farm nearly 3500 acres of corn and soybeans. He showed us his bean fields, and his corn fields, and the impact Northern Natural gas was having on the farming in the area. Now this is cool… There are these rock formations several hundred feet under the area that consist of very porous rock, saturated by water. Someone figured out that they could pump Natural Gas down into these formations and it would displace the water, filling the rocks with natural gas, the water was then added back in, which would trap the gas in the rocks, making for a perfect (and incredibly immense) storage area for gas piped in from other parts of the country, which is also easily acessed! This company rents the underground storage rights from the farmers, paying them an monthly rent (that per acre reportedly is better than the land makes from farming) Any damage the company does gets paid back to the farmer, taking into account the fact that the chemicals they use may spread, and that the farming equipment cannot easily maneuver around these outposts. Believe it or not the compensation is fair, even above fair! We realized very quickly that we were long overdue the time we said we’d be back for dinner, so we finished up and headed for home… we had a great pork dinner, with all the corn we could fit into our stomachs, fresh picked that day.

The next day was full of adventure, we had many very important things to do right in the nearby area and we made sure we took the time to do it.

The first stop was Dexfield Park.In this spot was a very famous gun battle between Bonnie, Clyde, Buck and Blanche Barrow vs the police and posse. This is the spot where Buck was fatally wounded. Along the side of the road were a couple of granite plaques with a description of the events that took place–you wouldn’t know to stop at it unless you already knew it was there.  Here we said good bye to Louise and continued on.

Dexfield Park Marker

The second stop practically deserves its own post!

Well as you can see from the picture we were a little skeptical. At dinner the previous night we were told of this rock. It was easy enough to find,

Signage worked.

even though when we asked a clerk at a local store where the rock was, she said with a perfect deadpan: “Which rock?”

When we got there, it wasnt much bigger than what could be held in your hand,

Shucks!

but then we messed with the scale some more and we found that it was actually a lot bigger than we expected.

Rock

The story is this: The farmer that found this rock thought it was a regular field rock which is only about as big as a sofa, he kept digging around it, and it was getting bigger and bigger, soon enough they had unearthed this massive rock, which they estimated at 15 feet tall, 60 foot circumference weighing in at 500,000 lbs (allegedly). It took the combined effort of many of the local farmers to move this rock, using anchor chain with each link weighing 30lbs.

Rock Chain

It took something like 3 caterpillars, 5 Tractors and more, to get it to its final resting place outside their house.

There is even what appears to be a converted outhouse building as a “visitor center”

Rock Visitor Center

where you can see the event take shape through pictures and videos. and an honor system gift shop. Truly fantastic!

I’ll have to continue this day on another day! im tired.

-Seb

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. Debby permalink
    July 31, 2010 7:11 pm

    Arggh! A’Soy, maties, and Shiver me cornstalks, you be honorary Prairie Pirates now!

  2. Tom permalink
    July 31, 2010 10:23 pm

    What, no breakdowns this time? Ahhh fresh corn on the cob, I can only dream about it. Nothing like that in Afghanistan. Sounds like you could build a corn maze that would be miles long and never find your way out! Glad you guys finally had some nice weather.

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