2021 Road Trip Day 5: Waterloo, IA to Omaha, NE – The Day The Music Died

I stayed overnight in Waterloo, IA in preparation for another place I wanted to see, which was in Clear Lake, IA. This was a place I wanted to visit for whatever reason long before I started geocaching. I can’t explain why I wanted to see it so much, but I did.

First up, though, was an earthcache about glacial erratics. Earthcaches do not have containers to find. Instead, when I go to the coordinates, there are science-related questions I must find the answers to. In Madison, NH we have the largest known glacial erratic in North America, but these rocks are an anomaly on the prairie.

The Surf Ballroom is where Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and the Big Bopper played for the Winter Dance Party on February 2, 1959. Their bus was broken down so Holly chartered a plane to take them to the next gig. The rest is history. The cache here is a virtual one, so I took a picture at the box office and found the answer to the question.

The actual crash location is a field near Clear Lake, IA. There’s a memorial of Holly’s glasses at the edge of the dirt road and the field, and then it’s about a 1/3 of a mile walk to the actual crash site. People like to hang sunglasses on the glasses memorial as well as at the marker at the actual site. I have to say it felt very spiritual to be there. I don’t necessarily think it’s due to it being the crash site but from all the spiritual energy of all the people who have made a pilgrimage here over the years. I shed some tears, despite this being before my time.

Iowa farmland is interesting. As I drove around on back roads after visiting The Day The Music Died sites, I came across factory farm after factory farm. I tried hard to see this when it was all family-owned farms, but it was hard to picture. I had never driven across the prairies before, so this was a new sight for me.

Iowa also has places that have recreated the old Burma-Shave signs ending with “Our Iowa” instead of Burma Shave. A number of these had caches nearby, so I saw a number of them.

I had a picnic lunch by a creek as I drove around the state. My goal for the day was to finish in Omaha. I lost track of time driving around and ended up having to stop caching to drive straight to Omaha from near Des Moines.

The cool cache of the day was in a rest area and modeled on The Sword in the Stone. There’s a bit of a trick to pull the cache out of the fake rock, and I managed to do it! I felt like Thor when he got his hammer back! I AM WORTHY!!!

I finished my day in Omaha where I found a great Mexican restaurant just across from the hotel. I was just across the street from the minor league ballpark. Unfortunately, there was no game going on (probably why the hotel was the cheapest in the area). I would have gone to a game if I could have.

6 replies »

  1. I’ve gotten that cache – The Sword in the Stone!! When we were touring the US we didn’t have time to got to the Buddy Holly crash site but if we go through the area again it is on the list!