When I woke up, John said, :”I have something for us.” The shirts were lying on the bed so that I could read them easily.
“Oh! My goodness! That’s perfect!” I said. “What fun!
John thought we could find someone to take our picture together, but I wanted it immediately. I could text a photo to anyone who sent us greetings. There was no one to ask in the motel breakfast room and no one at the desk. Back in the room, I propped the phone against the microwave, and we did a jig to line ourselves up. Using a pen to tap the phone did not work. It had to be a human finger, and that finger had to be mine. What a stretch to get us both in!
John said he bought the shirts before Christmas. He purchased them half a year ago, remembered to pack them, and pulled them out on our anniversary. What a guy! As we drove along, I texted the photo to several people before realizing they were not going anywhere. Evidently Sprint had no cell towers on our route. I couldn’t send them out until we were in a motel that night.
Our major stop for the day was the Golden Spike Tower. What an operation! The tower overlooks the largest freight railroad yard in the world, Bailey Yard. There was an outdoor observation deck on the 7th floor. The 8th floor had windows all around the building.
There are 400 miles of track in that yard! It’s a place where Union Pacific does major repairs for diesels and running repairs on cars. Everywhere you looked, there were trains moving. I had a comfortable seat and could have watched the slow action for hours. It’s a place where cars are classified, meaning they are sorted to go to different destinations. There were two hump yards, one each for east and west trains. A car was pushed to the top of the hump (slight incline), where it was uncoupled and rolled into the bowl. Computers calculate the weight of the car, prevailing wind speed, and distance into the bowl the car must travel to couple to the cars already there. Retarders on the track slow the car down to the correct speed.
We ate our anniversary lunch at the restaurant in town named the Switch Yard. I chose the Train Wreck – grilled chicken, lemon pepper, caramelized onions, green peppers, and broccoli served over pasta. John’s lunch had a humdrum name – chicken alfredo – but it was delicious.
Later in the afternoon we stopped in a town park where a Challenger steam engine was on display. Two couples traveling together liked our shirts and offered to take our photo. One couple was married a year after us, and the other two years.
We stopped at Gothenburg, NE for the night. I guess the town was used to travelers, because the Pony Express museum was open until 7 pm. The building was an original station for the Pony Express, and was moved into town from a spot a few miles away. They think the station manager lived in it and took care of the horses. Riders changed horses there but did not sleep. Riders generally rode 100 miles, changing horses every eight to ten miles, depending on terrain. Can you imagine riding a galloping horse for 100 miles??? I’d call it a bum rap. It took 10 days for a letter to go from Sacramento to St. Joseph, Missouri. The statistic that hit me in the face was that the youngest rider was 11 years old!! The operation went bankrupt after 18 months, but it has fascinated Americans ever since.
At the end of the day, we counted our anniversary a great success.