Thursday, November 18, 2004


We have left the desert behind.  East of Cheyenne (but before Nebraska) we hit farmland and the trademark of the midwest; water towers.  What is it with those water towers?  We’re still at some elevation but a lot of the flat landscape has been converted to farmland.  We’re just now going through Pine Bluff and it looks like it will be the last bump in the landscape until the hills of Wisconsin.  Jamie promises hills in northern WI and I’m holding him to that.  All we can see for now is flat flat flat and the maps give us no reason to hope for anything different.  Straight lines abound on the maps.  We’ve changed our plans and have decided to bypass Sioux Falls and head straight for Michigan.  We are hoping to spend tonight in Grand Island, Nebraska; tomorrow in bumfuck Iowa; head up 35 to Minnesota and then 90 over to Wisconsin.  We’re thinking we’ll spend the 20th with Jamie’s mom in Wisconsin.
My blood seems to be getting thicker; as I loaded up the car this morning (another late start and we didn’t get on the road until 7:45) I told Jamie it was "much" warmer and I thought the glow plugs didn’t need to be warmed up as much (diesel engine).  It took a while to warm up the glow plugs though and we found the reason; it was 33 degrees.  It must have been in the 20’s or teens yesterday morning.  I can’t wait until we’re headed for Mexico.  :)   Jamie watched the news last night and said it looked like a snowstorm would be hitting WI by the end of next week.  We hope to be in IL spending TDay with my sister (outside of Chicago) so there is a chance we could get snowed in.  Should be interesting… 
The rest areas seem to come much quicker here in Nebraska; up til now they’ve been every 100 miles or so, but we’ve already seen 2 in 45 minutes of driving.  About 100 miles into Nebraska and we have rain.  Better rain than snow; we’ve been gradually coming down in altitude since Cheyenne.  By the time we hit Omaha we’ll have come down 6000 ft.  Unlike the Sierras and west, the descent is very gradual so that you really don’t even notice it.  Obviously, no earthquakes out here or continental plates to bump up against each other.  Kids are doing well; we got up late (6:30) and so far no-one has taken a nap.  I think we might do better to get up much earlier; we have lots of books on tape and they play very well together, but still get bored.  I saw some laptop with pocket contraptions at Target in Cheyenne and I think I’ll try to get some for the girls.  They’d be able to draw and hopefully the toys will stop flying about the van.  

The rain makes it easy to see the screen; I should be grateful for that…one thing about towns in the midwest; when the town ends it is really over.  In the bay area, you can go from Grass Valley to San Jose (aobut 3 hours) with a couple small breaks in urbanization.  There are some fields outside of Davis and Vacaville but it is pretty much constant strip malls, auto malls, homes and business for hundreds of miles.  Out here the city ends abruptly and agriculture stretches for miles and miles and miles.  Stopped at a grocery store in North Platte (are there really only TWO in the whole town???) and it seems that the organic produce has come to an end.  We’ve been able to find organic carrots (at the least) up til now.  The prices are also quite high.  Convention produce out here is higher in price than organic produce in the Bay Area.

The girls never seem to tire of pretending they are Becca (cousin Becky from CA - 1 year old) or talking about her.  She is constantly in their thoughts.  I’m going to have to keep a camera at the ready; this is the 3rd time we’ve seen llamas on our trip - by the side of the road.  Last tank of gas got us 21.1mpg.  Almost to Kearny NE where we’ll spend the night at a really nice motel.  Outdoor, indoor and wading pools, free hot breakfast, whirlpool, large rooms, all for $62 (if we can believe the AAA tourbook).  Hee hee; we got it for $55.

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