Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

Odd Trip Notes

Caved-in clay pipe under Gretchen's back yard

We rolled into the driveway here in Colorado about 3 PM yesterday after three weeks away, exhausted (as usual) and me fighting a nasty headcold, which blossomed last night (as usual) once I no longer had to drive 400 miles every day. As soon as I felt my scratchy throat last Sunday night I began taking Zicam Cherry Quick Melts, and while I can’t prove that they held off the cold during the subsequent four days, it’s possible–but it’s certainly true that they failed to prevent the cold entirely. (I also suspect that they give me mild headaches, and I don’t think I’ll be taking them again in the future.)

Just before we left Chicago, I rigged a wrist strap for my pocket camera and took a bunch more photos of the inside of Gretchen’s sinkhole. (See photo above.) It’s pretty clear now what’s going on under there: A section of 24″ clay drain pipe collapsed, allowing ground water to wash the surrounding soil into the storm drain system and hollowing out a large cave under the sod. This is what we figured, and at some point there will be a whole lot of digging going on back there.

Fat Dogs waterWhile passing through western Nebraska, we stopped at a Kum & Go and picked up a bottle of water. All bottled water tastes alike to me, so I bought the cheapest: Fat Dogs from Sandhills Water, which is bottled in Oshkosh, Nebraska, population 887 and the county seat of Garden County. I love the label and may keep the empty bottle. (See photo at left.) Above the logo is the legend, “You are nowhere.” Coastist dorks like Ted Rall may think so, but I kind of like Nebraska, not the least for this sort of self-deprecating humor, which I guarantee you won’t find in New York City.

I-80 travels a little south of the US 30 alignment, which in turn follows the original Union Pacific right-of-way. We stopped for gas at Cozad and drove north to the town center just to get a sense for it. Increased prices for corn have brought a certain prosperity to the town (which contains a monster grain elevator) and we saw three grocery stores, and Ace Hardware, a Walgreen’s, and museums celebrating artist Robert Henri, and Cozad’s location on the 100th meridian. The houses were tidy and everybody was driving recent cars. There are ghost towns in Nebraska, but Cozad is not one of them.

We stopped in Ogallala for the night and spent a couple of hours at Lake McConaughy, though we were too bushed to do any serious swimming, especially with my increasingly runny nose. So we walked up and down the beach together, picking up broken glass when we saw it (as we always do) and hoping to come back when both of us felt better. (Maybe September, when all the kids are back in school.)

There’s still a lot to post about human memory system corruption, but it may have to wait a day or two until I feel a little better. Let’s just say I’m very glad to be home again. I’ve got my own bed, and all the Kleenex my nose would ever want. Everything else will take care of itself.

One Comment

  1. Welcome home. Glad your trip was safe and that you didn’t get swallowed up in the sink hole. Hope you feel better soon.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *