This picture is from Big Springs, Nebraska. It's a small town just off of I-80 in the western part of the state, close to the Colorado border. It was one of the towns we stopped in (if only briefly), on the remainder of the January trip from Wisconsin to California.
We hit a lot of states in a short amount of time: Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado, Utah, the tiniest northwest corner of Arizona, Nevada -- and, finally, California.
I really enjoyed the drive back through the center of the country. My only regret is that we didn't have additional time to stop and see more of these small towns.
Some highlights: I was amazed by how historic and picturesque Dubuque, Iowa looked. Beautiful old brick buildings in a valley along the Mississippi. It would definitely be worth another visit sometime, if I were in the area.
I would have liked to see the Nebraska State Capitol in Lincoln -- I've seen pictures and think the architecture alone would be worth a stop. (And not just because of its nickname: The Penis of the Plains. [Thank you Wikipedia for that bit of trivia.])
If Big Springs, NE (just off the interstate) was that photogenic, imagine what was to be found even further from the highway?
One disappointment (no offense, Coloradans!) was eastern Colorado and Denver. Not the highlight of the trip, by any means. Dusty, unappealing -- and Denver itself was pretty unattractive and ramshackle. We drove through mile after mile of body shops, strip malls, drab residential areas with little appeal. (It didn't help my overall impression of the city when we got into an accident with my newly-purchased Element in Denver. Luckily, the damage was none too severe (just some rear bumper repairs needed). We completed the drive and had the repairs done in San Diego.)
I DID really like the rest of Colorado west of Denver. What an amazing sight -- snow-covered mountains climbing up into the sky, deep valleys down below and I-70 right in the middle, hugging the side of the mountain as it heads west. I wish we'd seen more of it in the daylight -- thanks for driving through Colorado that evening, Tj.! I was in no mood to drive after having the accident in Denver....
We drove all the way through the Rockies and stayed the night in Grand Junction, CO -- then continued on through Utah the next day (another place I definitely want to get back to -- the bit we saw driving through was stunning), arriving in Vegas that evening. Bill flew in from San Diego and met us there -- the three of us had a great couple of days partying, seeing some of the changes/remodels at the casinos, gambling, eating too much.... Typical Vegas entertainment -- over-the-top and lots of fun.
We completed the trip back from Vegas the last week of January -- we got back to San Diego, I settled in and then reality (work!) started again on February 5th.
OK, now we're up to date -- I can blog in 'real time' from here on out!
4 weeks ago