Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Omaha MTB and Trains


Mountain biking in Omaha and Council Bluffs, Iowa means old school trails. Steep and strenuous. 
I have a day to goof off in Omaha while my wife attends to family business. That's fine with me, I have a bike and a plan and a whole day to follow my desires. First is mountain biking at the Lewis and Clark Trail. It's short but steep hills and tight bends make it very enjoyable.

 You can see, below, how steep the terrain can be.
That trail in the past, I spend a few minutes looking at the views and the reason most people visit this 'park'.

Next up is the largest train(s) I've ever seen and the largest ever built if the signed are to be trusted, largest in North America. I cross over the river and back into Nebraska from the Lewis and Clark trail on my way to Tranquility Park for this road side attraction.
A little history on the walk up the hill to the iconic steam locomotive and the double diesel locomotive you see from the highway into town.

 The walk up the hill is a history lesson, um, how original. I almost stopped but I was short on caring. I did take a snapshot of each placard so if you want to 'stop', it's up to you. Enjoy.

 Welcome to the Hill!

Look at the size of this beast. It's two diesels bridged by a single carriage. Odd as I've always known diesels to 'slave' from the 'primary'. Meaning you can connect 4 or 5 engines and control the total output from the engine at the front. Why connect them this way when a coupler and some hoses will do? Oh well, it's still cool as hell.

 Lets get to the steam and the real engineering minds of the 1900's. This stuff is real power.

 The window is open a little bit and I poke my camera in and let it rip. Below is what I got.
 None of the valves have labels! You need to know each one and how much to move it! If you ever drive a train that weights 1,120,000 pounds, bring some helpers.

Leaving the hill I have to finish my riding and get back for dinner so over to Tranquility Park for a fast loop. It's reported to have a high concentration of Orb weaver Spiders. I don't have time search but I'm interested in seeing spiders that can weave a 4 foot web.

The trail is better than the photos but it's not great, it's average. I enjoy it but it's also very hot out and I'm roasting so to be done and go home is just fine with me at this point. I've done 20+ miles, saw two huge trains and killed a day in Omaha.

To finish it off, I see a tank on the way home and it's the lightest piece of equipment I saw all day.

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