Sterling to Des Moines

Trip Start Jun 12, 2013
Trip End Aug 01, 2013

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Flag of United States  , Colorado
Thursday, June 20, 2013

We got up around 6am had cereal with bananas in our room for breakfast and headed out a little before 7am this morning. Eastern Colorado is not as scenic as Western through the Rockies.  We didn't see any evidence of any of the fires even though we were told that there were suppose to be flare ups on some of our roads.

We managed to make it completely through Nebraska today.  Western Colorado and Nebraska, all of it was farm lands, cattle ranches, a few cities dotted here and there, and prairies; even though it was beautiful, green (Compared to the brown we get in Calif. during the Summers.) and lush, it was repetitious!   So we didn’t get too many pictures along the way,

Our First stop Gothenberg...An Original Pony Express cabin in a small park in the middle of a residential area.
Certainly this time of history is something that everyone has thought of as a "romantic" adventure for the men that rode for the Pony Express. During this time from April 3, 1860 to late October 1861 these riders were providing the fastest mail delivery between St. Joseph, Missouri, and Sacramento, California. The hope was to draw public attention to the central route in hope of gaining the million dollar government mail contract for the Central Overland California and Pikes Peak express Company.

In total there were 183 men that were riders for the Pony Express during this period of just over 18 months. They had to be young, skinny men, not over 18 and must have been expert riders. It was said they had to be willing to risk death daily and that orphans were preferred. Most of the riders were around 20 with the youngest of them 11 and the oldest was in his mid-40s. The average weight was 120 pounds. These men worked for $100 a month. The riders traveled for between 75 and 100 miles with fresh horses being provided every 10 to 15 miles. The speed of the horses averaged 10 miles an hour. The mix of breeds included thoroughbreds, mustangs, pintos, and Morgans. There were approximately 165 stations along the route of almost 2,000 miles. The cost of a 1/2 ounce letter was $5 when the rides began but by the end of the Pony Express the price had dropped to $1 per 1/2 ounce. The end of the Pony Express happened on October 24, 1861. With the outbreak of the Civil War and the lack of getting the government contract and the debt incurred by the owners the route could not be continued. Knowing this information makes the visit to the Pony Express Station in Gothenburg even more interesting. The Pony express Station in Gothenburg is located in Ehmen Park. The station has items used by this era on display. The station was moved to this location from the Upper 96 Ranch where it had been used by the Pony Express and as a stage stop.  The local American Legion rescued the cabin to keep it from being forgotten and fall into ruins.

From here we moved on to Fort Kearney.  No major claim to fame other then protecting the local settlers and their cattle from the prairie Indians.  There were a couple of replicated buildings and only one original cabin that we couldn’t get into.  The park fee would have been $9.00 and we didn’t think it was noteworthy enough to see what virtually was nothing more than a city park.  So onward and eastward…

This next stop was like putting Dave in a candy store in Lexington, NE right off the I-80.  I gave him the camera and told him I would be in the visitor’s center.  All the pictures at the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles were taken by Dave except for the one with the Teddy Bears.  I particularly liked this display because every Teddy Bear was hand made from uniforms of WWII to the present.  These were designed to be given to children whose parents went away to wars and help them feel closer to the parents.

Most of the vehicles here at the museum were acquired within 150 miles of Lexington.  The museum rescued many old trucks from farmers who were using these trucks because tractors during the 40’s and 50’s were in short supply.  The oldest seemed to be a WWI truck and The Bradley Fighting Vehicle the newest.  Over 100 vehicles to see touch and sit in; Tanks, Jeeps, Halftracks, Helicopters, Ambulances, Snow tractor, HMMWV’s and much more.  They even have uniforms, equipment, photos, military pay script and more.   In 1991 a permanent site for the museum was obtained.  The goal was to establish a museum to house and display the historical and operational vehicles as well as a visitor’s center and library.  The 16,000 sq. Ft. building now houses about of the collection.  Additional floor space will be constructed as funds are raised.  There is not fee to see the museum but donations are requested (but not mandatory).  The men who were working in the museum were friendly and extremely helpful.  They even took an anti-tank truck out of a showcase so I could get a couple of good pictures of it for Dave.  We really enjoyed our visit at this museum.   If your interest in more information see

Our final visit of the Day was to the Holy Family Shrine off of I-80 at the Gretna exit.  We arrived about a quarter till 5 and they close at 5pm.  The gentleman managing the shrine told us to take our time and enjoy it.  He didn’t mind waiting on us.  What a beautiful location.   He explained that their vision was to create a gateway to heaven for all who are drawn to the shrine.

The Holy Family Shrine is a non-profit organization receiving no funding from the Archdiocese.  They operate solely on donations from visitors. There are about 20,000 visitors a year from all over the world.

The story of the Holy Family Shrine begins with the intervention of the Holy Spirit within a few people. These people are of diverse backgrounds with little chance to meet until the Holy Spirit united them spiritually with an idea of the Holy Family Shrine. Through a unique and divine series of events, these people discovered they had been enlightened to the same idea. This idea was to create a place off of Interstate 80 for travelers to pray and discover the Catholic faith. These travelers would not only be of the road, but of a spiritual voyage on earth.

After two years of searching for a perfect site for the Holy Family Shrine, a site was secured. The site is located off of at the Gretna exit, in the bluffs overlooking the Platte Valley.

The Holy Family Shrine intends to reveal the apostolic succession of The Church, the Catholic Church, based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church that: "The desire for God is written in the human heart, because man is created by God and for God; and God never ceases to draw man to himself. Only in God will he find the truth and happiness he never stops searching for. "

The shrine intends to call the desire within people's heart through developments that do not distract, but are complementary to the Holy Spirit. For, one cannot believe in Jesus Christ without sharing in his Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit who reveals to men who Jesus is. "It is with this premise that the Holy Family Shrine relies solely on the intervention of the Holy Spirit to discover and develop the faith within the visitor.

The example of the Holy Family serves as the example of a model human life of response to the Holy Spirit. Therefore, the enriched knowledge and awareness of the lives of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph call us to serve in similar ways to do God's will to reach eternal life.

The Holy Family Shrine will demonstrate these examples though future developments of contemplative and interactive improvements; included will be an entry spire, labyrinth, interactive trails (the first of which will be life size Stations of the Cross), residential village, and retreat shelter.

This even now is a must visit, non-the-less in a few years.

The Chapel is awesome!   When looking at the pictures note the window above the cross… there is a etching of the Holy Family, a bit hard to see but worth straining your eyes a bit.  I left a request for all the desires of my blog readers have their prayers answered.

As high as forty-nine feet, arching members of wood, frame the stone entry structure below and within the chapel structure. The arching wood members inlaid in the facade articulate waves of grain, symbolic of the grain of the Eucharist, the bread of life, and the essence of the Catholic faith   As the visitors enter the chapel, so does the water, flowing through the church like the Holy Spirit. Two streams of water flank the entry and flow along the sides of the pews. The waters cut a stream in the limestone that forms the floor and foundation of the chapel. Set on top of this mass of limestone are wooden structural members that arch across the chapel like waves of grain. The twelve structural members represent the apostles. At the front of the chapel, the image of the Holy Family is beautifully etched into a single pane of glass sixteen feet tall.

With an open view of the prairie and the Platte valley beyond, the image of the Holy Family appears like spirits in the heaven. The elevated altar area sits in front of the Holy Family image. An elevated slab of limestone at the altar area appears to float above a pool of water. This pool is collecting the flowing streams on either side of the pews as they flow through the chapel.

Sitting in the chapel, the natural gifts from God surround the visitors. The prairie grasses embrace the glass walls on all sides of the chapel. The sereneness of the gentle waving of the grain places the chapel as if in a cloud. The gifts of the sun, moon, and clouds are felt as the natural light filters through the arching interlacing structure within the chapel. These interactions of the man made with the natural creations of God, call those present, to realize the "Divine providence" of God. It is here that the Holy Spirit stirs the supernatural sense of faith to seek the truth.  Our time at this wondrous site has to come to an end.  Wish we could have sat here till the end of sunset, it would have been breathtaking!!!!  

Since we still did not have a hotel room for the night and the big game time for the final game of Basketball was approaching we moved on down the road and found a little out of the way motel with fridge, microwave and a decent TV

Hope you all enjoy the game tonight

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