Day 48: Laramie, WY to Lincoln, NE

From one western college town to another.  Today was the longest drive of the trip. At almost exactly 500 miles, it was one of the longest drives we have taken in many years.  Take one interstate, one very flat route, and precious few roadside attractions and….zoom we were off.  It was all rather anticlimactic really.  In Laramie the mountains were near but out of sight and the ground still buckled everywhere.  Cross into Nebraska and the land still buckled a bit until, maybe around North Platte, it suddenly flattened out into the mid west.  Highlights of the day were a short hike at a rest stop (in the still buckled part of Nebraska), a plaque at that same rest stop celebrating the “golden link” of “concrete and steel” that was completed in 1974 (that golden link would be Interstate 80), a text with a neighbor, a free stay at a hotel thanks to points earned, and a Mediterranean fast food meal in Lincoln.  The text by the way would be with our neighbor Alex whom, along with her husband Chad, will be celebrating Chad’s mother’s birthday this weekend in Iowa City.  Lucky for us they invited us to the party and we cannot wait to see them tomorrow.  Chad and Alex, if you are reading this, we will see you tomorrow.  And for all family and friends, our journey is expected to end this Saturday.  We have had a blast sharing our adventure and hope you continue to check in with us over the next few months as we add photos and share more stories.  Thank you for staying with us these past 7 weeks.


Day 47: Grand Teton National Park to Laramie, WY

It was kind of hard yesterday saying goodbye to the Signal Mountain campground.  Our five nights spent there (we also spent one night at Colter Bay) was camping at its best.  We made friends, learned about slightly off the beaten path destinations, and were given food by our neighbors.  Those neighbors, by the way, were the best neighbors outside of Edison Park that a family could ask for.  Although laid back and friendly, they were also experienced campers.  For example, when a mother black bear and cub wandered around just below our campsite they were able to point it out to us without disturbing their feeding.

For that last morning we woke up to a coming storm and were able to pack up just before the rain came.  We waited out that rain then had a good breakfast which finished just before another storm, this one with hail.  After a final goodbye to the place we followed that storm east to DuBois.  The rain and construction slowed us down but we did spy another mother bear and cub by the side of the road.  Later in the day Henna and I saw dozens of antelope and we may have also seen a wolf (Corey got the best look at the canine-ish animal and she is certain it was a grey wolf).

Other highlights of the day were coffee and ice cream in Landers, WY (where the diner had mismatched coffee cups and more wooden Jesus’s and other saints than you would think possible).  Landers had a bit of a gritty feel along with many opportunities to pawn your stuff (possibly to get enough money to buy a drink at one of the dozen or so dark saloons in the town square).  There also was a neat little park near the train tracks, many friendly people walking around, an Asian grocery store, and an excellent antique shop.  No bookshop though.

Laramie we could live in, maybe.  I did not find a bookshop, but the college town must have at least one.  We did have excellent pizza at Grand Avenue Station where the artists there create masterpieces out of wheat or white dough, feta cheese, barbecue chicken, or whatever else you think might be a good idea.  The main drag has buildings dating back to the late 19th century that now host coffee shops, boot stores, funky bars and other strange pairings of the wild west and a hip college town.

Before these western towns we drove through endless high desert filled with unexpected bright colors and rounded off mounds.  The high mountains of the Tetons and the Wind River faded in the background and the altitude trended down.  Along the way we stopped at Split Rock which was a physical landmark for folks headed west along the Oregon Trail.

These are the last few days of our trip and we are already reminiscing about it.  It has been a good one and we hope you stay with us for these last few days.