Day 2: Roaming the Heartland – Iowa, Nebraska, and the Foothills of Colorado

12 Apr

Upon waking up first thing in the morning, I had a WTF (“what the fuck” if the old people are reading this blog) moment. I was in Iowa, a place I thought I’d never be. The town of Coralville, Iowa sits on the Iowa river, nestled in the valley of two shallow grade hills.

As a checked out I spoke with the desk clerk about my journey, and heard from her what I heard from several people.

“Across the whole country? I’m so jealous!”

It hadn’t really dawned on me that I was doing what so many others had wanted to do. Driving cross country in a car wasn’t exactly what I would call a relaxing vacation. About 10 hours into my drive, I was getting so anxious to reach my destination that I wondered if maybe I should have just stopped for the night and tacked the last couple hours onto the next day.

I knew that I couldn’t… and that a trek this being does work that way. So, I put the pedal to the medal and powered through. Waking up in Coralville was well worth the trek. As I stood at the pump filling up my gas tank, I noticed that beyond a rather large railway bridge, there was the sparkling wide, Iowa River. The air was clean, the hills were rolling and my Egg McMuffin was hot and fresh (though not as good as the ones back home). Making my way back on in the interstate, I immediately realized why they called this the “Heartland”. Wheat, farms, cattle… as far as the eye could possibly see.

I stated out driving through Des Moines, Iowa… a relatively small city. It was followed only a few hours later by Lincoln, Nebraska. Although they were no where near as big and as glamourous as Toronto, there was something homey about them. Both cities had sprawling suburban populations, and the people in both towns seemed nice… though a little anti-social.

It didn’t take me very long to figure out why.

Lincoln is located nestled up against the boarder of Iowa and Nebraska, and is clumped together with nearby city, Omaha. The rest of the state… is completely and totally empty. In fact, I drove for nearly TEN HOURS before I say another city, and it was Denver, Colorado.

Day two was by far the most boring day, but for dedication to putting in my miles, I was greeted by the stunning sight of Denver. The “Mile-High-City” as it’s called a blessing, in that I had something to put my eyes on other than the flat oblivion that had been ahead of me for the past twelve hours.

I knew the day after, I would be driving down some of the most dangerous and visually stunning roads in America, but they would have to wait… I had eight hours of terrible sleep ahead of me first.

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