Omaha Zoo Trip 2011

On August 2nd, 2011, I got to go to the Omaha Zoo! It is the 5th biggest zoo in the US. It was awesome! I went with miscellaneous kids from the middle and high school youth from my church at First United Methodist Church. We had a great time…but we almost didn’t make it there. Let’s a take a little trip down this crazy journey called a youth group road trip. There were 18 us…13 kids and 5 adults. The day (Monday, August 1st) at 1pm started out pretty good…we left on time, stopped at the Cowboy gas station, got gas and snacks and hit the road…we watched The Incredibles on DVD (not bad overall…wouldn’t watch it again) and Megamind (pretty good…again, wouldn’t watch it again) and Rango (which we didn’t get to finish and I think I might actually rent to watch the end) and let’s fast forward our journey 4 1/2 hours, (which involved me playing my iPod too loudly and trying to take a nap with 13 loudly chattering teenagers in a very small enclosed space…I’m still trying to re-gain my hearing) and we get just past the Iowa border past Sioux City a bit and we have to pull over because the bus is a little overheated and so we wait and wait and wait on the shoulder of an off ramp for about 20 minutes and our driver decides we can keep chugging along. Yay!

So we keep driving along, and about 20 minutes later, I am in the back, chatting with a few kids and all of a sudden the bus kind of lurches forward a bit, and I hear Virg, our driver, go something like, oh crap, but not so nicely. We are in between Sioux City and Omaha, but so much closer to Sioux City. We are able to pull off the interstate to a weigh station and assess the situation and the belt on the bus has blown itself up, which is why the bus lurched, because the power steering went out as well when the belt broke…not good…and it’s 15 minutes after 5pm, so every place we try calling is closed…except for the nicest people in Sloan, Iowa. Mike’s Towing Co for example…after we had spent almost a half hour tracking Mike down, he and his son get to where we are, and take a look and think that they can fix us right up. We can do some more fast forwarding here, because during the next 2 1/2 hours, not a lot happened…after they figured out that because our not-so-awesome-at-the-time bus had been altered to accommodate 2 air conditioners, they cannot fix it at this time…now we need to get a tow and rent some vehicles, which we already have lined up…somebody was thinking! I hopped back in the hottest bus ever with the kids, we were towed to Sloan, IA with a sheriff escort, which the kids thought was awesome, and the other adults went to Sioux City and got the rentals. While we were waiting for the rentals, the kids and I were at the community center/fire hall, where we met even more nice people that let us drink everything in their fridge and check out the firetrucks and ambulances as well and finally hang out in air conditioning and also where they are holding open the only place to eat in town late, which everyone eventually made it into town at 8:30 with those very awesome rentals…did I mention Sloan has the nicest people? After we ate, we hopped into our rentals and bee-lined to Omaha and made it there at midnight, where the church we are sleeping at is patiently being kept open for us…we crawled sleepily into our sleeping bags and we were asleep in about 2 seconds…11 1/2 hours later than planned.

At 7:30 the next morning (I know, so early after yesterday!) we get up, hit up BK for breakfast and go to YMCA for showers, and then we get to the zoo! Yippee! It was beyond cool! We saw the desert dome, the aquarium, the gorilla habitat, the big cat house, zebras, elephants, rhinos, giraffes, just a lot of really cool animals. Oh yeah, this is kind of gross, but we saw a gorilla wipe his butt off and then lick his hand off, which BTW, I am still somehow trying to un-see. If someone knows how you can make your brain un-see things, let me know.

We were there for 7 hours, and my group almost made it through the entire zoo, we skipped a few things that we had all seen at other zoos before, because we were just getting tired towards the end of the day…I already am figuring out how to trick my parents into going, because it’s just so cool!

After we saw all that we needed to be seen, it was time to go home…but remember our poor bus? We still had our rentals at this point, and were prepared to leave the van in Iowa and go back without it…our driver, Virg, was going to stay in Sloan and drive the bus back the next day when it was fixed and we had 2 drivers bringing down suburbans to pick us up and drag everyone else home…we stopped and ate before we hopped on the interstate and as soon as were done eating we got the best call ever…the bus was fixed…we called our two suburban drivers and sent them back towards home…and swung by Sloan, got the bus and then made a pit stop at the Sioux City airport and returned our rentals and Virg floored it towards Watertown…we got home late…again, but gosh darn it, we were glad to be home!

***Right now, it won’t let me post my awesome animal pictures…I will try again later, but if you can’t wait, I have them on an album on my FB page***