Left Aptos on Monday May 15, got a late start so the first day was a bit stressful battling Bay Area traffic. Started to relax as I headed thru the Sierras, enjoying the brightness of the snow as it got dark. Stopped overnight at Fallon NV, which was quite dismal by the light of day the next morning.
Day two brought another longish driving day through Nevada. Overnight in Wendover on the Nevada/Utah stateline. A strange and sad little town with casinos on the Nevada side, and the start of the salt flats on the Utah side.
The Utah terrain was quite interesting. Driving across the salt flats, which were like mirrors, I couldn't quite tell if the reflection was from the salt, or residual rain from the night before. The approach to Salt Lake City was breathtaking with the surrounding snow capped mountains. Spent a few hours in town, visiting the Mormon Tabernacle (lots of weddings taking place, even mid-week), walking around town between periods of snow flurries. Glad I packed a beanie and gloves at the last minute! I had been to SLC in the 90s while working as a consultant for HP and forgot what a truly lovely city it was. Snow flurries continued as I settled in for the evening in Rawlins Wyoming. Woke to heavy snow the next morning and ended up staying 2 more days because Hwy 80 was closed!
Also while in Rawlins I got a notice from AirBnB that my 1 month rental in Lubec (starting May 23) was cancelled! I guess that the host had some complaints so AirBnB cancelled his listings and all reservations. The host told me I could pay him directly but I SURE wasn't comfortable giving him my credit card . . . There was obviously a reason his listing was cancelled and I wasn't going outside the protection of AirBnB.
So I made lemonade from lemons. First I thoroughly enjoyed my snow days in Rawlins. I was holed up in a pretty nice hotel, bingeing on HBO and HGTV and truly began to relax. I hadn't realized that I was so tired getting my house ready to rent and all my work wrapped up before the trip. So it was a treat to be forced to VEG out!
Plus with the snow days I would have had to rush to get to Lubec by May 23. So I relaxed my travel schedule and added even more days to the journey east. It's about the journey, not just the destination!
3 Nights in Rawlins WY
I added a stop in Omaha, which I hadn't planned on. My mom was born and raised in Omaha so I had spent a few summer vacations there as a child, but I'm not in touch with any relatives there. I texted my sister Jan to get some contacts and showed up on the doorstep of my cousin Bob and his wife Carol. Enjoyed a nice visit with them, and they gave me the contact info for my other cousin Mary who still lives in my Grandma's old house! I didn't call ahead but showed up on her doorstep as well! I hadn't seen her or the house in 45 years, I was 15 the last time I was in Omaha. I also went to Hanscom park, a park nearby where I spent a lot of time during childhood visits (and where my dad courted my mom during WWII). A lovely and nostalgic day. I hope to stop by again on my way home, I promised everyone some advance notice next time!
Carol and Bob Dargy
My cousin Mary
The next day I drove through Iowa, a really beautiful landscape and saw signs for the Bridges of Madison county! So I turned off the highway and spent the day looking at various bridges, admiring the charming homes, walking around Winterset (Madison County seat & birthplace of John Wayne!) and simply enjoying gorgeous scenery.
I did have a run-in with the law in Winterset. A car was turning left into a shopping center and I went around him on the right (legal in CA). As soon as I did I saw flashing lights . . . Was pulled over by the Madison County sheriff. He just gave me a warning, I told the server at the winery what happened and she thought that the cop just pulled me over cuz of my red car with CA plates! He was probably disappointed that a grey haired lady with 2 dogs was driving! He was nice and all ended well.
Winterset, Madison County
Remember Ben Franklin??
Spent a night in Davenport IA, then went in search of a cute coffee house the next morning. Found myself in Le Claire IA a super quaint little town. What you don't see in the photo off to the right is the Mississippi River in all its "wider than a mile" glory. A wonderful surprise, there is something magical about the Mississippi and making that crossing from west to east.
Another couple of relaxed days of driving with overnights in South Bend and the Cleveland area. Taking my time through periods of rain, making sure the dogs and I get to stretch every hour or so. I've decided that 4-4.5 hours of driving per day is enough. Enjoying the drive itself, I just finished Bruce Springsteen's autobiography "Born to Run" an 18 hour audiobook read by the Boss himself, the perfect accompaniment to a cross country drive (thanks for the suggestion Joan Hoover).
Le Claire on the Iowa side of the Mississippi. Illinois is across the river
My little car is working out great! It is small but I have packed everything I need (laptop, printer, ukebass, small amp, music books, art supplies, clothes, dog supplies, etc) and there is plenty of room for me and the kids. Fits like a glove!
Price of gas. $2.15 in Midwest, up to $2.50 in NY
Travel stops are very competitive in the midwest. What do you think of the name Kum and Go??? Not sure about that one
Sapp Bros advertise the most luxurious bathrooms on the highway. They weren't lying - I haven't seen bidets in public restrooms since I was in Tokyo!!
Ezpass, I'm so happy that I ordered a transponder in advance. Love that I can cruise thru the many toll booths from Illinois eastward.
Lovin' the road - I've definitely got my Dad's genes, he was a truck driver for many years, and I've inherited his love of the road.
Sapp Brothers Bathroom Bidet
The kids at the motel
The kids in the car
Today it is May 26, 11 days into my adventure and I am about to leave drizzly Painted Post, NY in the Finger Lakes region. The drive yesterday was lush, driving through the Allegeny mountains in NY, simply stunning. I should get to Maine tomorrow and spend Memorial weekend in the Rockport/Camden area. I also booked a week on Deer Isle. Then I added a couple weeks to my Eastport rental for 6 weeks total.
So with the snow delay and the Lubec cancellation, everything worked out even better than my original plan. I'm truly enjoying the journey!
Stay tuned for future updates from Maine!