If you know me very well, you know that I’m a traveler. I’ve visited 47 states, most of the Canadian provinces, some islands in the Caribbean and a handful of European countries. This year I’m traveling a lot – I’ve already been to Florida, there’s an upcoming weekend in Chicago and another trip out west to the Grand Canyon and surrounding National Parks. Last week I rented a car and drove all the way to Wyoming and back by myself. Yes, by myself! Here’s a recap of how my week went.
Day 1, Saturday:
I left Indiana bright and early and hit the road by 6 AM. There was a lot of ground to cover as my first night’s hotel was booked in Lincoln, NE. The first several hours were spent traveling through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa and my first stop of the day was about 5 hours later in Riverside, IA for a quick photo stop at the “Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk.” From there it was a short drive to Eldon, IA where I visited the house in the classic American Gothic painting. After leaving Eldon, it was on to Des Moines where I checked out the Iowa State Capital and ate at an amazing restaurant called Zombie Burger. I had the “Walking Ched” – a huge hamburger piled high with macaroni & cheese, bacon and fried macaroni and cheese buns. Delicious! Three hours later, I was settled in Lincoln for the night.
Day 2, Sunday:
Sunday was another 10+ day of driving, so I left Lincoln fairly early. Before heading out of town, I took some photos of the Nebraska State Capital and then headed down to Hastings, NE – the birthplace of Kool-Aid! Originally I had planned to stop at the museum and check out the Kool-Aid exhibit, but the museum’s hours didn’t really coincide with my driving time, so I opted to just check out the Kool-Aid man’s footprints and take photos outside of their headquarters. After leaving Hastings, I had a very long stretch between there and Cheyenne – over 5 hours. I hit some pretty bad rain, which slowed me down some but finally passed through the storms near the state line. In Cheyenne I grabbed a late lunch and stopped at the Wyoming State Capital as well. From there, it was another 4 hours to my destination for the next few days: Rock Springs, WY.
Days 3 – 6, Monday – Thursday:
The next several days were spent visiting family in Rock Springs. The weather was great – we had a BBQ, took a hike up to a waterfall, visited a greenhouse to get plants for a fairy garden, checked out the museum in downtown Rock Springs, went to a couple baseball games and one soccer game, and hung out with a pet pig named Jimmy Dean. It was hard to get used to Mountain Time – I felt like going to bed at 9 PM & the nights were much cooler than humid Indiana, but it was a fun time in one of my favorite states.
Day 7, Friday:
It was time to head back to Indiana & I chose to drive through Colorado, Kansas and Missouri for a change of scenery. The drive between Rock Springs and Denver was beautiful – the mountains were on one side and large, red rocks similar to what you would find in the Garden of the Gods on the left. I stopped in Boulder to get a photo of the house used in the exterior shots of Mork and Mindy’s house from the TV show Mork and Mindy. Boulder seemed like a pretty cool little town and I hope to explore it more later in the year when I am back out that way for my Grand Canyon trip. Then it was onward to Kansas for the night, only stopped for gas and yummy food from Gella’s Diner in Hays, KS.
Day 8, Saturday:
My last day on the road was packed with stops. First was the Oz Museum in Wamego, KS, a fun little museum dedicated to the Wizard of Oz. After spending about 45 minutes in the museum, I made my way to Lawrence, KS (home of Sam and Dean Winchester from the TV show Supernatural) to purchase some Mmmhops beer – the new beer from my favorite band, Hanson. It’s not sold in Indiana, so it worked out that one of the few places that DOES sell it was on my route home. I picked up a couple cases and drove to my next stop in Topeka where I visited the Kansas State Capital.
Kansas City, MO was just a short drive up the interstate from Topeka and also my next stop. If you are a book enthusiast like me, be sure to stop at the Kansas City Public Library to see their parking garage. It’s made up of photos of classic books and the steps leading in to the library are stone books! Definitely one of the coolest libraries I have ever seen. After checking that off my list, I drove across town to the Nelson-Adkins Museum of art for fun photos of their giant Badminton birdies. Then it was time to hit the road for the final 7 hours of driving home to Indiana. I arrived back at my apartment around 11:30 that night & was greeted by a couple of extremely happy cats who didn’t let me get much rest that night because they were so excited to see me.