The road back east….

Moab Utah to Glenwood Springs Colorado
The scenic route 128 follows the Colorado River out of Moab through the valley surrounded by huge rock cliffs. The river and road wind through the rocks providing so many fabulous views. Along the riverside there are many campsites, for tents only, must be lovely spending the night with the sounds of the river and the bright stars above. As the rocks gave way to flatter lands we were excited at sighting wild deer, loads of meerkats, and wild turkeys. We stopped to view Dewey Bridge, which had been a historical wooden bridge, until a few years ago when a child playing with matches burnt it down, all that’s left are the steel supports.  Eventually the road joined the interstate for the rest of our journey to Glenwood Springs, which crisscrosses the Colorado River all the way along our route.
Glenwood Springs is very pretty, a spa town with a number of hot springs which unfortunately we were too tired to try out by the time we arrived. The journey ended up being 370 miles, 160 longer than planned due to a wallet being left in the hotel room!

Glenwood Springs to Brush

Following the Colorado River sparkling in the sunshine, we made our way through the snowy Colorado rockies. The temperature plummeting as we climbed higher and higher where the signs along the way instructed drivers to use wheel chains November through to April. The scenery certainly took on an alpine look not only with the snow but the buildings and we hadn’t realised how much we had missed proper trees for the last few weeks.
Stopping for a picnic lunch by the river watching the fly fishers waving their rods, we were taken aback by a huge bird with a fish in his claws flying just over our heads. What a picture that would have made, but I’ll have to be happy with the picture in my head!

Brush Colorado to Kearney Nebraska 
They call it ‘the plains’, and with good reason, it’s plain flat for miles and miles and miles! Field of wheat, barren fallow fields, fields and fields of cattle grazing, so cute with tiny calves with mums. We chose to use highway 6 rather than the interstate, interstates are great for getting somewhere fast, but boring, stressful with huge trucks whistling past (thought the states has a reputation for being tough on speed limits, that’s not our experience) and basically no fun. Passing from Colorado into Nebraska we lost an hour with the time change, now on ‘central time’. We passed through cities, with no more than a couple of shacks and huge grain silos, small towns with a couple of houses and even bigger grain silos, hit ‘civilisation’ with a gas station before we reached our destination for the night at Kearney, Nebraska. Much bigger than we had anticipated Kearney has many hotels and restaurants and to Amr’s delight a Red Lobster, he could hardly wait to check in before we were off for dinner!!

Kearney Nebraska to Walnut Iowa
 Travelling along the interstate 80 today we played hide and seek with the Platte River. Other than glimpses of the river the scenery was pretty much plain all the way! Walnut is known as the Antique Centre of the area, most of the shops here are antique shops, of not selling antiques they are antiquated! Just out of town, and just off the interstate our hotel for the night is.. well… in the middle of nowhere other than the gas station and Emma Jeans Diner. We called in for dinner, the welcome was friendly and the food wholesome and tasty.

Walnut to Cedar Rapids Iowa

 With the exception of a stop at the designer outlets, the drive was, well, just a drive. Cedar Rapids sounds so nice, the hotel promised views of the river and Rapids, central to restaurants and downtown activities…… well, it’s central, but not much else. Walking round the deserted streets we found, a grill/bar that reeked like a brewery, and nothing else. Resigned to jumping into the car to the nearest McDonalds ( to mean to pay the inflated hotel prices, obviously designed for businessmen dining on expenses!!) we were the only customers getting in the way of staff socialising, after gulping down our burgers we made a hasty exit, only to fill me the door locked!!! Fortunately we were directed to the side door to make our escape….

Cedar Rapids to Madison Wisconsin 

At the border between Iowa and Wisconsin we found the small town of Dubuque. A stroll along Main Street was pleasant, and there were lots of tables and chairs for people to use, many local people were eating their lunches as we strolled. We stopped then at the Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium, $25 each seemed a bit steep so we took a walk along the riverside which was delightful. I have a thing about the Mississippi, (tales of Huckleberry Finn and Tom Saywer), as well as having followed the river down the River Road from St Louis to New Orleans on our first road trip in the USA. It was calm and peaceful today, lovely to walk along its banks, much as it would have been refreshing to dip our toes in the cool water we resisted! Otherwise the journey was uneventful, the most exciting was watching the plumes of dust rising in the fields from the farmers ploughing the fields.

Madison is the state capital, nice town, big Capitol Building dominating the university town. By the time we got here it was hot, we were tired and had Bly paid for an hours parking as we weren’t sure what to expect! We could probably have spent more time exploring but didn’t want to get a parking ticket so made our way to the hotel which was outside of town, hoping to find somewhere nice to stop by the lake, no such luck unfortunately. After checking in we made our way straight out to find a diner to eat. On our way back traffic was bad, we found that there had been a major accident, the roads were blocked, fortunately we managed to get back to our hotel but the roads were closed for the next few hours.

Madison to Chicago Illinois 

Bit of shopping en-route before dropping the car off after 5000+ miles back at O’Hare airport. Ready for a couple of days in Chicago before we fly home.

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