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Posts Tagged ‘Nebraska’

Day 5



Okay, I know you won’t believe it, but I’ve been experiencing technical difficulties. Yes, technically, it’s been exhausting to try and post in the evening after a fun-filled day of vacation. Also, exhausting after a day filled with driving to our next destination. It’s Sunday now, our 10th actual day on the road, but I’ve only caught you up to day 4. So here is my attempt to get on with day 5 in an effort (which will continue when possible) to get everyone up to date. If you care.
So, we reluctantly left the Great Sand Dunes and I didn’t think anything could be better. I was so happy to have “discovered” them. There weren’t too many people there at all. It was peaceful. My original plan was to do a 4 mile hike there up to the Medano Lake, which was pictured in my NG guide. Unfortunately, the road that led to the trailhead had been washed out by the storm that took out the power at the Travel On Inn the night before. The rangers said that the road wouldn’t be back in use until Friday or Saturday, which was too late in the week for us to consider staying. So I guess I’ll have to get back there someday and do it. As we left the park we looked all around us and admired Mother Nature’s work.


Okay, okay. So there are a lot of you out there who thought you’d never hear from me again. Like, I’m so lazy I gave up the blog altogether. Or, I’ve crashed and died and will never be seen on earth again. Or, I’ve died and gone to heaven out here in the west and will never return. Any which way, you are all wrong. I just have a lot to catch up on. Have I been at all repetitive yet?
So, we’ve seen prairies, sand dunes, mountains, lakes, rivers, oceans, and deserts. Songs that keep repeating themselves in my head (I can’t help it and I don’t know why) are: Bohemian Rhapsody!!!????, Oklahoma! from Oklahoma! (“we know we belong to the land, and the land we belong to is grand”), and Beverly Hills by Weezer. I swear, I’ve listened to some music on the way, and none of these songs represents what I’ve been listening to, or even really what I love, but still, they are on auto-replay.
Here’s what the prairies look like in Colorado peppered with livestock:

Here’s a letter on the side of a hill in Gunnison, Colorado. It’s for you, Aaron:

We finally made it to Utah on day 5. We pulled into tiny Salina, Utah. Rhymes with vagina. This town is about 30 miles from the mining accident in Utah. Salina is big on coal mining. Just like back home. It’s a real neat little dusty town with one blinking red and yellow light at the only intersection. I really like these towns. It was almost as cool as Plattsmouth and Mitchell, Nebraska.
Anyway, we checked into our room before heading out for pizza. Hey, Aaron, check out our room key!

We went for pizza after I checked out some cowboy boots in the western outfitters store. Still haven’t found the right ones! But that’s okay, I still have Wyoming and South Dakota to hit up!
Next door to the pizza joint was the Big Beep Bar and since I hadn’t had a nice cold beer since I left home I thought it was about time. The Big Beep Bar is across the street from this:

And two doors down from this:

This is the Big Beep Bar:

Granted it was a Tuesday at about 6 pm, but we were the ONLY people in there.

I let Mummy taste my Squatter’s Wheat beer ’cause it was light and refreshing. The bartender told me it’s locally brewed. Hey, his name is Mudsy and he was locally brewed in Indiana, Pa. No kidding. Then his parents moved him out to Salina when he was 14. Here he is:

Stay tuned for Day 6! If I can remember how that day went!

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OOOOPS!!! Sorry about that! So, as I was saying, there was something in Alliance that I had to see……CARHENGE!!!!


My mom has been finding money on the ground almost everywhere we go. A quarter here, a dime there. I think that is a fortuitous sign. I, on the other hand, have been finding things along the way that remind me of the people I know, and I’ve tried to gather them up to post here. Like the spawning salmon I saw at Carhenge for the folks at the Fish Market. Here’s something else I found at Carhenge. Christine, this one’s for you!!!!


His name is Tom and he’s from Missouri. He’s on his way to his first Sturgis. We’ve been traveling along side bikers from all over the country on their way to Bike Week. I wish we were going! But Mycol is sooo anxious to get to San Diego. He mentions it all the time. Sometimes he gets so frustrated with me he could throw something.

So we headed on to Scott’s Bluff. The college my mom went to her freshman year was called Hiram Scott. It doesn’t exist anymore and she hasn’t been back to Nebraska since. There wasn’t much left in the town that she recognized, but she thought this looked familiar:

We drove into Colorado (we’ve been on Mountain Time since Ogallala, Nebraska) and encountered a crazy lightening storm that opened up on us in a split second. We’d been watching the lightening burst out in the distance and when the wind started blowing tumbleweeds across the road I said maybe I’d like to pull over and just watch it play out. No sooner had I said that than we were nearly blown off the road ourselves and the thunder was blasting right over our heads and the rain was driving faster than I was. There wuz even sideways rain. My heart jumped into my throat when I realized that a tornado could kill us all in a minute. But I traveled onward. The storm broke just as we approached Brush, Colorado. Tired and weary, we pulled into the Tomahawk truck stop for gas and fuel. We stopped into the truckstop eatery, Digger’s Diner. I started feeling pretty good when I saw this on the wall:

The owner of Digger’s showed us to our seat, right in front of the TV so we could watch the Steelers/Saints pre-season game. The menu had the “Three Rivers Omelette”. Hmmmm. Hey, does anybody recognize this guy?

It’s Jeff Marcus, Gateway Highschool (Monroeville) Class of ’88!!! He’s out here in Brush, Co. running Digger’s Diner and coaching cross-country at the local school. He was real nice to us and gave us 2 Digger’s Diner ball caps. (the Digger is the mascot for the beet farmer – they make sugar out here)
And speaking of Pittsburgh and the Steelers…..this one’s for you, Rocky. After we pulled out of Brush we drove to Limon, Colorado and stayed at the “Travel On Inn”. As I said, there were bikers headed for Sturgis everywhere. When we pulled into the Inn, there they were, all sitting out front with their Harley’s. When I went back out from our room to smoke a cigarette I said hello and struck up a conversation. I said that we’d traveled from Pittsburgh and one of the guys says, “My son played for Pittsburgh.” I ran upstairs and got Mycol to come down and say hello to Mr. Ernie Mills, Sr.

Day 3 was a long day, filled with so much cool stuff that I was too tired to post that night at the Travel On Inn. But there you have it. In a nutshell.
Stay tuned for Day 4 when we will depart Limon, Co. for……? Can you guess where in the world I might be?

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Day 3

We left Kearney, Nebraska this morning at 7:50 am.

Ride Hopper:

“Uh, could you give me a lift to the next grass station?”

We’ve traveled 1,199.1 miles to date. Yesterday my car reached 70,000 miles. (I heard a rumor through Stephanie that some people don’t think I’m doing ALL the driving. I assure all you doubters that I am the ONLY one behind the wheel on this trip!) Nebraska is cool, humid, and overcast this morning. It’s great for traveling. No sun in my eyes. No intense ‘greenhouse’ effect heat burning me through the windshield. Moon roof open without the A/C on. My friend Tracey emailed me and sent her regards that I had to drive through this state, which was her least favorite when she went cross-country. I kinda like it. We saw lots and lots that was pretty to look at. Like this:

The further west we traveled, the lush farmland gave way to more arid conditions and dusty little western towns. But before we got out of the corn and hay fields, I was forced to water the roadside grass myself. Luckily I was wearing a vintage sundress passed down to me from my mother that made it easy as pie. I drove away with complete understanding for the difference in men’s and women’s fashions.

Driving in western Nebraska:

One of my favorite things in Nebraska was stopping in this little dried up town called Mitchell. It is the epitome of an old western town. Notice the sign tacked on to the back side of the church!




We were on our way to Scott’s Bluff, Nebraska where my mom went to college her freshman year. We made a little detour first, to a town called Alliance. There was something there that I’d read about and I just had to see it. Alliance is about an hour out of the way for us, but the drive was worth it. If we hadn’t gone, we’d have never seen this:

And, as it turned out by the end of the day, I’d found a couple of things along the way for some of my friends, as well. Like this, for my peeps back at the Fish Market:

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Day 2

Everywhere on the road there are Harley Davidson’s with license plates from across the U.S. Last night in front of the Super 8 I asked a biker if he was headed to Sturgis. He told me that bike week is NOW!!!! Mummy was really counting on going there and sporting her new leather bikini, but I told her that it’d totally mess up our schedule. She’s so upset about it, even now, like 24 hours later, that she’s sleeping on the floor, refusing to share the bed with me.

So, this morning we left Knoxville, Illinois at 9:58 am Central Time. Way later than we wanted to because we were so tired. We crossed the Mississippi River near Burlington, Iowa and traveled west on 34 across the entire state. America is full of corn.

In the first 20 minutes on the road in Iowa we saw a fire on the side of the road.

And an overturned tractor trailer. Men were cleaning up the watermelons that got spilled.

And I can’t figure out if you get gas here or see XXX movies!?

We passed the “American Gothic” house, you know, the painting by Grant Wood of the man & woman farmers with the pitchfork? Yeah, that’s in Iowa.

We stopped in Albia, Iowa to gas up and get fed. Mummy went to a garage sale across the street from the gas station and bought 5 polished river stones for $1.00. The guy who sold them to her said they were from California.

We ate at the Highway Restaurant in Albia. The guy at the garage sale and the lady at the gas station both recommended it. There was a restaurant across the street from the Highway called the White Buffalo, but we heard it was for rich attorneys. I had the BLT and a cup of soup. The food was great and I ate it fast enough to get an instant belly-ache. But all I had to take was a Tums and I was fine. There was no cure for Mycol’s belly-aching, though. He was utterly embarrassed to be seen eating with us “tourists”. We had to change tables when the 2 old ladies in booth 1 got up because I needed the outlet to recharge my laptop. We had the computer, cell phones, and the camera all plopped on the table along with our notebooks and journal. I took a picture of our waitress, Sam.

She was real sweet and I had to represent and let her know I serve, too. I told Mycol that people ask to sit near outlets at the Fish Market all the time to plug in their laptops. He was like, yeah, because they are businessmen, and I don’t have any business! I said, “You know what else they do at the Fish Market? They take pictures of their food!”

We crossed the state line into Nebraska at 5:02 pm. We’d only traveled 328.9 miles so far.

Plattsmouth, Nebraska:

SOY!!!!

We thought we’d sleep in Hastings, Nebraska tonight. It was listed in my Let’s Go Road-Tripping U.S.A travel guide. Hastings didn’t immediately endear us. So we moved on towards Kearney, which is where we are tonight. But we didn’t leave Hastings before Mummy made two new “amigos”. She asked them if she could get their picture and they asked us in their rudimentary english where we were from. We told them Pennsylvania. Then Mummy asked them where they were from. And they said “Des Moines”.

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