Posted by: chlost | June 25, 2012

Never say Never

Lincoln, Capital of Nebraska

Lincoln, Capital of Nebraska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If anyone had told me twelve years ago that I would voluntarily visit Lincoln, Nebraska this weekend, I would have told them they were nuts.

F@#)*^g nuts, to be more precise.

Twelve years ago. That is the last (and only) time I have been in Lincoln.

That visit was not by choice.

In 1998, we traveled to California to bring my oldest son to college. We had virtually no money at the time. Because we knew that our car would likely not get us to and from California, we decided we had to purchase a different vehicle.

Not a new one. A different one.

It was a minivan, bigger, shinier, newer than our previous vehicle. We felt quite proud of our purchase, and were very excited about the trip. We planned to combine the trip with a family vacation.

We made it to the rest stop just before Lincoln. The vehicle would not go any further.

This was before cell phones. We had to call a taxi. We had to find a car dealer/repair shop. We had to find a hotel. All from a pay phone at a rest stop. With three teenagers, a very angry husband, and in 90 degree heat.

While waiting for a new engine to be installed in the minivan (which ironically had to be shipped from Minneapolis-where our trip had started), we spent three days in Lincoln, Nebraska.

We learned about the unicameral legislature. We toured the capitol.

English: Nebraska State Capitol at night (take...

English: Nebraska State Capitol at night (taken Oct. 3, 2004) © 2004 Matthew Trump (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We found the worst Chinese restaurant that I have ever eaten in, then or now. We visited the Lincoln Zoo.

English: The entrance to Lincoln Children's Zoo.

English: The entrance to Lincoln Children’s Zoo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

We found a go-kart track where the kids and Merle went around that track many times. We swam in the hotel swimming pool. We watched a lot of cable television (we did not have cable at home).

I spent a lot of time on the telephone negotiating with the dealer. We spent an equal amount of time trying to figure out how to pay for the car repairs as well as the extra expenses of staying in a hotel for three days.

We watched Merle stress out for three days about how everything would work. He just couldn’t see the humor of our situation!

Things did finally work out.

The dealer agreed to pay for a large share of the repairs even though the limited “warranty” had technically expired. My father-in-law agreed to help us out with a loan. The engine was delivered, installed and we were able to continue our trip. Although we missed a few of the sights we had hoped to see along the way, we got our son to school before classes began.

It is one of our favorite family stories. We can laugh about it now.

But we were all quite thrilled to see Lincoln, Nebraska in the rearview mirror, and it would be safe to say that none of us ever planned to return. We’d never go back. Never.

Now daughter and s-i-l to be have moved from Eugene Oregon to….you guessed it….Lincoln Nebraska. He has a job there, a great job. They have been there about 3 weeks now. Daughter has also found a good job. They know not one soul there.

So, we are heading down to visit this weekend.

It is safe to say that we will be very careful as we drive past that exit. And, we won’t be eating at the Chinese restaurant.



  1. That first trip sounds just miserable (it reminds me of a trip we took as a child from New Mexico to California- to go to Disneyland. Car overheated in Needles, CA…and so did my dad 🙂 It was miserably hot there.)

    I hope this trip goes much better for you. At least you have a place to stay when you get there!

    • As a kid, we had some of those type of trips, too. Now I have been through it as an adult as well. Never fun, but you can make it easier or harder for everyone. Always memorable, though.

  2. I’ve never been to Lincoln and now I know that I never need to. Thanks for saving me the trouble.

    • Huh-really? Never? You may have jinxed yourself now.

      • Oh no!!

  3. A perfect example of my guiding philosophy: Life is weird and unpredictable, but often in a good way.

  4. I may have driven through Nebraska decades ago but I don’t recall much about it. There could be some nice gardens in Lincoln? Actually I recall that there is an outstanding one there. It is called The Sunken Gardens and is one of the best gardens in the US. I read about it when I was researching gardens. Here is a link: I bet you could take pretty pictures there.

    • I do remember that there were gardens, but at that point in our lives, I would not have been able to convince husband/kids to see it. I may try to see them this time, depending on our schedules. If I do, I will post photos. Thanks for the tip/reminder!

  5. Safe journey. Can’t wait for the road trip report.

    • I am hoping that the road trip report is very boring.

  6. That first unexpected trip prepared you for this one. Now you know what to expect.

  7. Chinese and sea food are two things I would never purchase in the Mid-West.

    • Awww. There are SOME good Chinese places. You’d be surprised at how many Chinese families have migrated to the Midwest and stayed. As to sea food, I wouldn’t know, as I don’t like it.

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