Monowi Nebraska

My mother and grandparents (Mom's parents) came to Oregon from northeast Nebraska in the mid-1930s. My great-grandparents (Grandma Vada's parents) had homesteaded in Monowi, NE in the late 1890s and built a home on land just outside Monowi. In those days, Monowi had over 100 people there, now it just has one. I have pictures of the population sign stating 6 that was taken in the 1990s when Mom and Gram visited the area. Here is the current story about Monowi and why it is unique. We have met Elsie Eiler and a current picture of the Tavern follows.

Monowi Tavern
Monowi, Nebraska, population one, might be the strangest little town this side of the Mississippi. Elsie Eiler, the town’s only resident since the passing of her late husband, Rudy, is the librarian, mayor, treasurer, clerk, and of course, the sole bartender. This is the only incorporated town in the U.S. that only has one resident and the town’s infrastructure reflects this. There are only two public buildings in Monowi — the Monowi Tavern, owned and operated by Elsie herself, and Rudy’s Library, a personal collection of 5,000 books and magazines. You can still check them out on the honor system.
When you drive into Monowi there isn’t a post office, school, or police station. Even stop signs seem pretty pointless in a town with only one local. The only movement is the wind blowing through the prairie grasses and Elsie manning her station in the Monowi Tavern’s kitchen or bar. Monowi wasn’t always so desolate though. In fact, it was once a bustling town on the Elkhorn Railroad in the 1930’s when 150 people called this pipsqueak city home.

Vancouver Washington Waterfront

We visited last Saturday the newly developed Vancouver Washington waterfront district. We used to live in Vancouver about 10 miles east along the river (Old Evergreen Highway). We got one photo of me on the walkway point that demonstrates suspension bridges. The area now has new condos, restaurants, parking, hotels, and other businesses. Quite a change!IMG_2183

A Storybook Land of Oz

In May, we took an 11 day trip to South Dakota and back through Yellowstone National Park. While in Aberdeen, SD where we visited David, Renee, Nicolas, Ryan, and Jesse, Ryan had his birthday party at Storybook Land where the theme is of The Wizard of Oz. The story was written by L. Frank Baum who lived in Aberdeen and owned a store there in the late 1800s.

Here is some background about The Wizard of Oz:

The Wizard of OzL. Frank Baum’s book and the beloved 1939 film it inspired — is a quintessentially American fairy tale. It features the hallmarks of a Brothers Grimm story, with a young adventurous child bumping into wizards, witches, and talking animals. Yet it transports these classic conventions to scenes of middle America, a place of scarecrows, prairies, and hot air balloons. All of this imagery is neatly wrapped into a reflection on the American dream, or the idea that brains, heart, and courage — combined with hard work — can help you reach what you desire. Even when that desire is simply to go back home.
Wizard of OZ small image

The Week Before Christmas

I have neglected adding to this blog. I missed sharing during the trip to South Dakota in mid-October and later to a meeting in Pittsburgh. Here I am a week before Christmas and I have not kept up to date with comments and photos.

I thought I would add some thoughts on a TV show I have enjoyed for the past 4 seasons, now on season 5. The show is Yellowstone where it is set in the Bitterroot Valley of SW Montana. The scenery is spectacular. The acting and actors draw you in. The writing is by Taylor Sheridan who is a former rodeo participant and a lover of the Old West, horses and the cowboy way of life. This has become a TV phenomenon. This series is being spun off into other series, one show is 1883/season 1, which shows how the Dutton family came to locate in Montana. At the end of this series, the location is picked by the 18 year old daughter, Elsa, who picks where she will die and be buried following being shot by an arrow that creates sepsis. The next spin-off is set at 1923 and we shall see how the family handles adversity in that day and age.

We drove on the way to South Dakota along I-90 which follows much of the Yellowstone River. We saw the beauty of some of the Yellowstone Country. I am adding here a photo of the Little Bighorn River near the Crow Agency and GaryOwen, MT where Custer's last stand and battle occurred for the 7th Cavalry - a story in itself.

Little Bighorn River sm


Another spot that Bob and I would like to visit is Newfoundland. We were closer than usual when we were in the Canadian Maritimes. We read a fascinating book about this province years ago and have wanted to visit since. There is a historical site, L'Anse Aux Meadow, which is on the uppermost northern tip of the province. I'd love to see this area though it is a challenge to get there in a way. I came across this description of one intrepid traveler who made the journey.

Best Breakfasts in Britain

I am not sure when we will get back to Britain again though I wish it could be soon. I did come across this page that offered some opinions of the best places there for breakfast. Check them out.

Home Again, Jiggity Jig

Last day in Denver and it has been hot. Hot enough that when we were at the Denver airport this evening to catch our flight home, a thunderstorm passed overhead with a heavy downpour. Our luggage got quite wet from sitting outside while this happened.

Mile High and Storms

Went out to food and drinks with the VIN crowd in the evening at a nice French bistro restaurant. While eating and drinking (sparkling water) there was a pretty loud thunderstorm that broke overhead with wind, rain and noise.

Finishing Up

Not much to say for today. The conference was done for the day at noon. I grabbed two beignets in the hotel lobby. Just out of the fryer and with powdered sugar. Karen took us out to our hotel and along the way we had lunch. Dinner next door at VooDoo BBQ and Grill. It was a good place to eat. I'd recommend it. Three little kittens outside waiting for leftovers. I gave them part of my chicken pieces. Sad bunch.

Central Grocery

Part of the fun of getting a muffuletta sandwich is to visit Central Grocery right down in the French Quarter and near the open market. Full of food items to buy. They are so busy selling at lunch that the sandwiches are ready to go and the place is busy. See the line in this photo.

Muffuletta Sandwich

Before the conference started, we made a quick trip to Central Grocery so Karen and I could share a muffuletta sandwich. A must for my trip to NOLA. Yum, their olive salad.

Follow the Leader to Arnaud's

Tonight we had the ABVP Awards Dinner and the treat of following a festive New Orleans dressed woman who lead us to Arnaud's for dinner. Kim Buck as President was dressed up and had boas too. A nice evening among people.follow-the-leader-11-14-15

Porto Portugal

I was not able to go to the International Society of Feline Medicine meeting this past summer in Porto, Portugal. I'm sure it was wonderful to visit. I was surprised to read of the struggles of Portugal and that Porto has been a bit of a ghost town trying to come back to life. See more about Porto here.

Toronto Board Meeting

Busy day today with the board meeting in the middle of the day. Not much time for anything else other than dinner with part of the group at an Italian restaurant in the evening. With some light heartedness and some seriousness, here is Glenn, Steve, and Drew at the meeting.

Creole Culture

I have enjoyed my trips to the city of New Orleans. It is an interesting place to visit and see a different life style. One photographer/writer has chronicled how the Creole culture that helped create part of New Orleans and its look can also be found in Cuba and other parts of decaying Latin America. A look at how that is through his lens.

“While it actually resembles no other city upon the face of the earth,” wrote Lafcadio Hearn of New Orleans, “it owns suggestions of towns in Italy, and in Spain, of cities in England and in Germany, of seaports in the Mediterranean, and of seaports in the tropics.” There’s no better illustration of this than the photographs of Richard Sexton. For four decades Sexton has been playing a transcontinental game of Concentration, pinballing between New Orleans and the cities of the Creole diaspora—Havana, Quito, Cartagena, Cap-Haïtien—documenting resonances in architecture and style. His photographs have now been collected in the gorgeous Creole World: Photographs of New Orleans and the Latin Caribbean Sphere, and are on display this fall in a free exhibition at the Historic New Orleans Collection.


Vietnam Today

Michael Totten is at it again, writing great travel pieces for unusual areas of the world. This time instead of Cuba, he has visited Vietnam. His description of the country, people, cities and government now compared to the days of the Vietnam War are fascinating. The country has rebounded and though is a bit totalitarian, it is not repressed the same way it is in Cuba. More of a bustling entrapeneurial spirit present in the people. Here is the article. The hot weather sounds a bit intimidating and not my type to enjoy though.

“Ho Chi Minh would be appalled if he could see Vietnam now.”

Cuba Current

There has been a fascinating series of articles written by Michael Totten about his visit to Cuba. He is a great observer of a country and its people in current times and turmoils. He has written about several countries in the Middle East. Travel and recording his observations of such areas is his goal and work. He has added an observation of the real life Cuba, for the people who must life there every day.

Halloween in Arizona

Off to Phoenix, or really Glendale, in the “Valley of the Sun”. Good flight on Alaska and they have improved their service to the public. I had my first experience with Pre-Pass at the Portland Airport. Shorter line with no taking off my shoes, taking out my computer, and removing liquids from my bags. Yoo Hoo! The ABVP meeting looks really to be a good meeting and it is great to say hello to old friends. This is a growing area of Phoenix with sports stadiums, hotels, entertainment spots and malls.
Wore my “cat ears” to the end of the day reception for a Halloween feel.

Final California

Paul Rahe finished up his travelogue with a description of arriving to Mountain View California and his impressions of what he saw there. Based on his itinerary, they traveled through the eastern part of Oregon and he did not comment. I believe he missed some of the unique nature of that area. It is geologically different and much like traveling back in time to a different era. He did impart some great advice in this piece, one I wish he had used to describe parts of Oregon too.

Twenty-nine years ago, when I headed off to Istanbul as a fellow of the Institute of Current World Affairs, the executive director of that outfit instructed me to send back a newsletter soon after my arrival describing my first impressions. "You will forget that which left you wonderstruck," he observed, "as you get used to the place. That fleeting sense of wonder is invaluable." And so it was.

His coverage and observations of parts of the Bay area are good. We lived 20 years in the East Bay area in Walnut Creek. It was a bit different than the Peninsula area of Mountain View yet close enough.

Road Trip Travelogue

Professor Paul Rahe is a gifted writer and thinker. He has written a book about how our government and political system is subject to the drift of “Soft Depotism”. We certainly seem to be aiming that direction. He and his family are traveling to the West Coast where he has a 10 month visiting professor gig in Mountain View California. He decided to write about his family experiences on the trip while visiting national parks and landmarks. His dialogue mixed with videos of the different locations can be found on the Ricochet website here and here. I will most like write about additional postings in later days since they are just entering Idaho with these two links.
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