Day 18 – Wednesday, September 10 - Manchester, Iowa – Today 0 miles – total miles 3850
Day two of our visit to Manchester. We finished mowing today, visited with Duke's Dad and enjoyed the perfect weather. We saw several deer in the trees at the back of their property.
Day 19 – Thursday, September 11 - Manchester, Iowa to Brian and Joanne's farm near Correctionville, Iowa – Today 376 miles – total miles 4126
Thursday morning we loaded up the truck with a few pieces of furniture from Duke's folks house, some for us and some for Duke's sister in western Iowa. We drove from Manchester to their farm. On the way we stopped to see the University of Northern Iowa and Iowa State University, Duke's and my alma mater's respectively. UNI and ISU are two of the most beautiful universities I have ever seen. Of course maybe I am biased.
We drove by the places we lived and walked through a few of our old haunts. I'm sure the computers have changed but I don't think the computer science building at Iowa State has changed at all in the last 34 years. Even the benches and colors in the ladies room were the same! It is the white building in this picture. It was supposed to look like a punch card. Back then we used punch cards for our programs.
Day 20 - Friday, September 12 - Brian and Joanne's farm near Correctionville, Iowa to Estes Park, Colorado - Today 638 miles – total miles 4764
We had a nice visit last night with Duke's sister and her husband and son. We stayed at their farm between Correctionville and Moville, Iowa. We got an early start and headed southwest out of Iowa and through Nebraska. Most of the way across Nebraska we stayed off the interstate. We even took a couple of dirt roads. It wouldn't be a Marion and Duke road trip without dirt roads.
Our route joined the interstate at North Platte, Nebraska. This summer North Platte opened an eight story viewing tower called the Golden Spike Tower overlooking the Union Pacific's switching yard. The Bailey yard is the largest classification yard in the world . It is 8 miles long and covers 2,850 acres, They handle 15,000 rail cars every 24 hours. They had a retired Union Pacific guy who used to work in the yard on the viewing platform answering questions. It was fascinating to see all the activity and learn something about how the railroads work.
After North Platte we drove through some really heavy rain and eventually got to Estes Park, Colorado about 8pm. This was by far the most miles we have driven in a day. The furniture in the back of the truck is wrapped in plastic. It looks like it stayed pretty dry.
Day 21 - Saturday, September 13 - Estes Park, Colorado - Today 55 miles – total miles 4819
Today we are staying Estes Park. We stayed here on our vacation 2 years ago and liked it so much that we are staying here again. Today we went into Rocky Mountain National Park and did a hike and then listened to a ranger talk about beavers. I learned that beavers jaws are made so that they can hold logs in their mouths and that up until 1980 the park used to get rid of beavers because they backed up streams. Now the park administration realizes that beavers are an essential part of the ecosystem and encourages them. The views today were stunning. All the rain we went through yesterday covered the mountains in snow. The road through the park was closed but is supposed to open tomorrow.