As the beautiful orange sunrise appeared, so we disappeared from Patty and Doug’s warm hospitality into the Illinois mist. Ahead was nearly 800 miles of open road. Destination North Platte, Nebraska, our stop over point en route to Denver.
The car was fully loaded, and after a quick pit stop at Ross’ for trailmix, so were we. Nick had prepared playlists to bring music to the trip, and with the rock one selected we had a randomised 2,000 tracks available from an iPod of 20,000.
If you get behind a school bus here you are not allowed to overtake it – even when it is stopped at the side of the road. A stop sign automatically unfolds from the side of the bus to stick out perpendicularly to reinforce the message. Were we to be stuck behind the only school bus on the 800 mile Valparaiso-Nebraska run? A slow start to our 4 month trip!
Once Chicago was out of the way it was plain sailing (driving) West. On and on and on. Past the biggest truck stop in the world; past the best ice-cream in the world; past the world’s best this and that. Nothing remotely average here if you believe the billboards. One thing that certainly stood out for me was the enormous potato that overtook me.
The sun was shining, the sky blue and the temperature between 80 and 92 (26 and 33) all day long. Much respect to the inventor of in-car air-conditioning.
The hardest thing about this type of driving is not that the car is automatic, or indeed that the steering wheel has been fitted on the wrong side, but that it is all so easy that keeping concentration is the real challenge. Kudos to Nick who is able to do this for hours on end whilst calmly keeping a constant position. I was singing, bopping, fidgeting, anything to keep focus as the miles slid by on the long straight flat road.
I read that Kansas alone can produce enough bread to feed 6 loaves to every single person on the planet and Iowa seemed also to be nothing other than crops – very few buildings, animals or shopping malls, just crops.
We eventually came to stop in North Platte and I was very surprised that the motel had an outdoor pool. Check-in, change, in pool. 10 minutes flat. Past nine at night, starlit sky and still around 80 degrees.
Our review of North Platte appears in the location listing, accessed via the map pins.