Post-Grad Road Trip! Leg Two. Hello, Nebraska!

There we were in Joliet, with full bellies and one blackened eye, ready to get back on the road for day two of our travels out west.  (Missed day one?  Go here.  Catch up.  Get back to me.)  We made it to Ogallala, Nebraska that day.

Two days, roughly 1575 miles. Not. Too. Shabby.

Unforch, again, not too many pictures.  Those will come in the next installment, I promise.  For the first few days of this trip, we were all about business, didn’t stop much, and were focused on getting OUT WEST.  We did much more sight-seeish sorts of things the next two days.  What I remember about this part of the trip?  It was hot.  Like, hot-hot, and sticky.  It was flat.  This was the first time I’d ever experienced the Midwestern, flat-and-straight prairie (the farthest west I’d driven before that was to Chicago) and you really CAN see things coming at you for miles.  We drove through a tornado warning that night, which we–perhaps thankfully–didn’t know about until we got to the hotel.  Really, we should have anticipated a tornado watch.  The clouds were somewhat psycho that day, forming and unforming, going from non-existent to ominous in a matter of a few miles.

Taken from the window of the car. Flat and ominous, indeed.

Here are some notable moments from this part of the trip:

Somewhere in Iowa, I remember seeing a bank of trees that were all, entirely, bent at a 90° angle because the constant wind didn’t permit them to grow straight.

Somewhere in Iowa, I smelled my first pig farm, and finally understood why marrying Pig Finn was such an unappealing prospect in the movie Waking Ned Devine.

We drove through Omaha, Nebraska, after rush hour.  We were still expecting traffic to crawl along since it was a city, after all.  It wasn’t.  We blew through it.  I have no idea if traffic has become more dense since then, but for someone whose first (and most frequent) experience with a city was New York, where there is always traffic, this was an eye-opening experience.

Somewhere in Nebraska, at a gas station, a man walked past, looked at the license plate and said, “Hoo weee!  You girls are a long way from home!”  Which isn’t particularly all that strange, maybe, or memorable for anyone else.  Plus, it was factually correct.  But.  It helped me recognize that I was adrift from all my safety nets.  My parents, my (then) husband, the rest of my family, were all a thousand miles away–literally.  It was the first time I realized that it wouldn’t be so hard to slip off the grid and while that prospect holds some sense of terror, it was also exhilarating.  Freeing.  I almost asked my friends to leave me in Wyoming, but that’s another story for a later blog AND, it’s also not what happened.  But there, in Nebraska, the possibility of a great big world opened up for me.  Lessons exist no matter where you go, so long as you’re open to them.

Remember I said it was sticky-hot?  We’d bought ourselves little spray bottles so we could mist ourselves while driving.  No A/C in the car.  And it was hot.  So.

Meet the inevitable.

There is no way we could have been stuck in a car all day, in the heat, more than a little wired, with full spray bottles of water, and not end up running around the parking lot of the hotel engaged in a massive spray bottle battle.  When women get together it’s not always about lipstick and bitchy competition for the cutest boy.  Remember that, people.

Next up: A bit more Nebraska, a trip through Wyoming, and a glimpse at a Nevada sunrise.

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