Infospigot: The Chronicles

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Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke
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Editor, writer, journalist, student of history. Chicago native, long-time resident of Berkeley, California.

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Salon.com
MAY 2, 2012 11:58AM

Preflight Vision

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omaha081411.jpg

Off to Chicago today on a family visit. The top item on the agenda: visiting my dad, who's in a rehab facility/nursing home on the North Side of Chicago after two bouts of pneumonia over the past couple of months (and a more general cognitive and physical decline that's goes back much further). He's on oxygen now, is quite weak, and really needs round-the-clock care. My sister, Ann, was visiting him yesterday and put him on the phone. He sounded tired and small. But still Dad. I'm both looking forward to seeing him and feeling a little apprehensive about it.

But first, I have a flight to catch. I always look forward to that and feel a little apprehensive about it, too. I don't like the whole airport process. (Enough said.) I love the view of the Earth from above, even if the look you get from 35,000 feet and 550 mph tends to obscure details and prevents lingering over anything you find interesting. The shot above is from my trip with Kate to New York last August. I'm always on the lookout for geographic features, natural or manmade, to orient me--mountain ranges, rivers, cities, highways. Here, we're passing just north of Omaha, looking south across the city's airport, Eppley Airfield, (here's an overhead view from Google Maps). The water there is the Missouri River, which if you remember was very high late in the spring and throughout the summer. Council Bluffs, Iowa, is across the river on the left (east), Omaha is to the right (west). That's Interstate 680 at the bottom, built right across the flood plain. It was closed in June and essentially destroyed by the high water. The I-680 junction with I-29 is at the lower left; I-29 was also closed and needed extensive repairs. (Click the picture for larger versions.)

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