Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Days 2 and 3 of Driving: Norton, KS to Milwaukee, WI (14 pictures)

Read about Day 1 Here

After crashing the night in Norton, KS, wake up came at 8am to grab a small breakfast from the motel lobby and then hit the road. Today's driving took me across the endless farmlands of Kansas, through small towns built along railroad tracks and towering silos filled with grain. With weather being in the high 80s, the country music playlist on my iPod became useful.

I never knew Kansas and, now, Nebraska were so rural and such staples for farming in our country. Endless sights of Allis-Chalmers, John Deere and Case tractors and big combines- kicking up dust into the dry sky of the Platte Valley. My route took me through places like Long Island, Alma, Haldrege. Places like Phillips County, Kansas... which is the cow-calf capital of Kansas and Kearney, Nebraska...the Sandhill Crane Capital of the World.

Today was planned to be a fairly easy day of driving, about 8 hours worth to Des Moines, Iowa where I would...

 call it a night. As soon as I passed the Nebraska state line, the endless amounts of brown farmland continued to sprawl. Passing over the Platte River, I hopped onto the interstate and made a dash towards the neighboring state of Iowa. Along the way, I made a pit stop in Lincoln, Nebraska- a really cool town- to check out the towering, state capitol building. At the tip top of the gold dome, the building claims the title for being the second-tallest state capitol, at 400ft tall.

Filled up with gas and a burger, the trip to Iowa was underway for only a few more hours. En route- I stopped at a rest stop to fill up my water bottle, stretch, and call a few friends. Sitting on a picnic table looking out across the distant fields, I could see giant windmills spinning away and more farm equipment creating shapes of dust in the sky. The sun was slowly starting to set. I reached Des Moines an hour or so before dusk, met up with a good friend and took a stroll through Iowa's capital city. A must-see is definently the Pappajohn Statue Park, filled with strange and abstract, yet neat statue displays everywhere. Especially at night it's worth the walk. It's located near Grand Avenue by 13th and 15th streets.  Fresh coffee followed by craft beer capped off the night.

Tuesday morning rolled around and after a quick homemade breakfast, I was back on the road again. With Dubuque, Iowa set as the destination, I sat back and finished off the last 6 hours of the drive back to my hometown of Bayside, Wisconsin. Before crossing the border bridge, I stopped off along the bustling Mississippi River in Dubuque to check out the marina, which was filled with big paddle-wheel river boats. One particular in a dry-dock having repair work done to it.

After 3 days, almost 2,000 miles, one popped tire and four tanks of gas- I pulled into my parent's home in Bayside, WI, absolutely exhausted, to find a nice cold treat in our fridge: a pint of Guinness. Happy St. Patrick's Day!  

A few more favorite songs played today during the drive:
"What Sarah Said"-Death Cab For Cutie
"Give Me Shelter"-The Rolling Stones
"Crosstown Traffic"-Jimmy Hendrix
"Drink to That All Night"-Jerrod Niemann
"Patience"-Guns N' Roses

Here are a few pictures from today's trip (which can be enlarged by clicking them):