Driving through Nebraska

June 22, 2017: Nebraska – Day 2

Driving through Nebraska brought some very Nebraska-esque sites, like covered wagons. And then there was the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument. Quite a surprise when you’re not expecting a giant archway over the interstate!

IMGP6788IMGP6784

By the time we made it to Lincoln, Nebraska we were ready for some real food. It’s hard to eat on the road when you try to eat healthy and even more so when you have food sensitivities. With an ulterior motive of renting an audiobook, we decided to make a stop at the old standby, Cracker Barrel.

IMGP6791IMGP6792

They had a full menu based on food sensitivities and allergens so I was able to order a gluten-free, corn-free meal with no problem.

IMGP6793

Do an unusually high percentage of antique car drivers prefer Cracker Barrel too? It’s possible.

IMGP6804IMGP6803imgp6802.jpg

Finding some food made us both happy and ready to keep driving towards the day’s destination: Mark Twain State Park in Missouri.

IMGP6801

Chad enjoyed his first Cracker Barrel meal while I drove over the increasingly less flat roads of Nebraska and onward towards Iowa!

IMGP6798

We drove through a corner of Iowa and could feel the humidity rising.

IMGP6808IMGP6809IMGP6810

By this time I’d gotten news that Charlie was doing just fine and I could stop worrying about her. Before we knew it we were in Missouri and Chad was still working on his dessert.

IMGP6811IMGP6812

As the sun set we stopped to get gas, very obviously in Jesse James territory.

IMGP6816IMGP6815IMGP6814

Yes, this meant we’d be arriving in the dark, but since we had a cabin booked and didn’t have to set up a tent, we knew we’d be able to relax from our long day in the car soon.

Day 3 – Mark Twain State Park

Pony Express Station In Gothenburg Nebraska

June 22, 2017 – Gothenburg, Nebraska – Day 2

IMGP2859Our next destination was the Pony Express Station in the town of Gothenburg, Nebraska. It was nestled into a cute little neighborhood with historic craftsman houses. I enjoyed seeing different types of residential neighborhoods throughout our trip, and this was one of the cutest ones.

IMGP6764IMGP6767IMGP6734

We eventually found the Pony Express Station. It felt good to stretch our legs while we took a quick look around. Chad bought some souvenirs and I eavesdropped on fellow tourists. A middle aged couple were there with their son who was starting college soon. It made me remember when my parents drove me to NY for my first semester in college and we took a road trip of our own from NC to NY.

20170622_150622IMGP6741IMGP6759IMGP6743IMGP2861IMGP2860

One of the interesting things I learned about the Pony Express was that it was only operational for 18 months. Then the telegraph became more widespread making the pony express  obsolete. It seems strange that it became legendary in such a short time.

20170622_151445IMGP2864

What I haven’t yet told you is that we had a pretty tight driving schedule on our way out, trying to make it from Salt Lake to Nashville in just three days. On this particular day we woke up in Wyoming and would be finishing the day in Missouri. Chad was ready with ideas of places to stop and I tried to keep us on schedule. It turned out that there was a Sod House museum in the same town so we decided to have a quick look. It was closed but we had fun goofing around at the American Gothic face hole board.

IMGP2868IMGP2867IMGP6770IMGP6773IMGP6787

 

Next: Day 2 – Driving through Nebraska

 

Cool night in Mancos

Waking up in Chaco was hot, really hot, so it was a relief to finish out the day in the cool evergreen forest at Mancos State Park, Colorado. The next day before we hit the road we had a fun time doing some yoga, taking photos and relaxing. As ready as I was to get to our destination and get our dogs and cats out of the RV and into a more permanent living situation, I had a lump in my throat as we took down our tent and prepared to leave. The soft forest floor of Mancos had been so inviting!

Drive through Southern Utah

As we made our tired way along the last leg of our cross-country odyssey (day 10!), I was thrilled to snap photos of the amazing scenery in Southeastern Utah. These landscapes always make me feel that I should be seeing big cats roam along them, as if they belong in Africa or southeast Asia. Beautiful scenery to end our trip with!

Oasis State Park, New Mexico

I got some good driving time in on the RV going from southwest Oklahoma to northeast New Mexico. The roads were nice and straight, which made for smoother sailing in the RV (which over 55mph often felt like a boat rocking on a troubled sea), and I started to relax a bit driving such a behemoth.

Out of all the stops on our trip this may have been my favorite place to arrive. Both Chad and I had started growing skeptical about what the park would be like as we navigated through the town of Clovis. But when we drove into the state park as the sun was setting, I felt a sense of excitement overwhelm me. Beautiful shades of mauve settled across the horizon as the grasslands moved under a cool breeze.

The campsite had an adobe-type wall around it which provided some privacy where we could look out at the beautiful view. We had a nice private site at the campground. I loved seeing the waving grasses the next morning and really wanted to stay there for a few days.