Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Summer Road Trip: Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, and Nebraska

We started out our journey on July 5th, we were packed up and ready to go by 8am that morning. We did stop at Meijer for ice and gas, and the new McDonalds to splurge on breakfast for the road. I took the first leg of the first day, driving all through Indiana, and Illinois to the Mississippi River. Adam napped, and I let the kids play on their own tablets through the entire state of Illinois. Our timing was perfect because it was a Saturday so no rush hour traffic, and early enough that we missed any weekend traffic heading to Chicago.

 Just after crossing the Mississippi River into Iowa, we stopped for gas, lunch, and driver switch. We made simple turkey lunch meat sandwiches and ate while standing at the back of the car. Simple, quick, and super easy.

 We did make a quick stop to see the founder of Boy Scouts grave and memorial. L was super excited to be wearing his old hat, and to give the salute while standing there. D had to get in on it as well. (She is well versed in the Cub Scout way after being a spectator for a few years now).

 Passing the Largest Truck Stop on I-80 (which is the road that took us the entire way and back)

World's Largest Covered Wagon (now a repair shop of sorts)
 A very interesting rest stop in Nebraska. The theme was wind turbines. They had one propeller from a turbine standing straight up from the ground. We have watched these go by multiple times on trucks while driving on the expressway before, but it was another thing to see one this close up. Amazing!!!

World's Largest Coffee Pot (as a side note, this is now used as the logo for this truck stop chain. We ended up seeing many of these along the way this time. On the way home, I just needed to get a cup of coffee from one of the stops. I was disappointed that it was just normal gas station coffee.)

Our first camp site, Buckley Park in Stromsburg Nebraska. This was one of the free sites, with donation accepted. There were plenty of RV camp spots, but the free tent camping was down a steep dirt path in a spot that was so hot, humid, and stagnant that the mosquitoes were like a giant itchy, biting blanket over us. We decided to set up camp in the grassy round in the middle of the RV camping as far out of the way as possible.

 2nd travel day and I again took the first driving leg. We each drove about 4-5 hours per day, so it never seemed like way too much. And if one of us got tired before our normal time, we easily switched before.

This is the Great Platte River Archway Monument and Museum. We were very excited to stop here on our trip. Unfortunately we got there too early and they were not open yet. We intended to stop of our way home, but plans changed (more on that later).
 Even though they were closed, they had some really neat things outside for us to explore.

 Our next stop of the Oldest Sod House and Museum. They were also one of the original Pony Express Mail stops, they even have one of the mailbags in the museum to mail post cards from. (funny side story: we dropped a post card in there on our first trip 10 years ago, and it never arrived)

 Our last stop in Nebraska was the Fort Cody Museum and gift shop! They have tons of really fun and sort of inexpensive touristy souvieurs. We picked up state magnets, a gold panning kit, sassafras root beer, and Juniper seed necklaces to keep the evil spirits away.


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