Here's an update on our quick journey to Colorado. We left our Siesta Key rental house a couple days early - the fact that it had rained 3 days straight prior to our departure sure made it easier to leave. On this part of the journey, we changed our approach from our casual, meandering trip on the way down (~6 hours driving per day, multi-day stops), to a higher paced, no nonsense haul back to CO with a straight-forward path, and driving about 10 hours each day. We also took a different route than before (which was straight south into Texas and across Dixie); this time it was a northerly route into the heart of the mid-west, then west from there.
But we still tried to have a little fun on the way; all this road-tripping had us really noticing the various places we were flying by and flying through. Florida billboards were simply filled with ambulance-chasing lawyers. I guess these fine attorneys don't need to chase ambulances when their humongous faces are looking down on every accident in the state, saying "Injured? Call me!". Georgia on the other hand, seemed to have quite their share of "adult superstores", judging by their highway billboards. Georgia also had more police cars on their highways than I've seen in my life, holy cow! It must be a big part of their revenue stream in that state. Also I noticed their patrol cars are painted blue with orange accents - my Florida Gator buddies will recognize this as an obvious attempt to build animosity toward Florida! 🙂 Both states BTW, also had a LOT of "Jesus saves" billboards and radio stations - the Bible Belt remains strong in the midst of all the debauchery!
By the end of the first day, we were in Smyrna, Tennessee near Nashville, in the nicest La Quinta we've seen. We like LQ because they are pretty economical and all of them are pet friendly. So the Littles are welcome guests, yes! We have a nice portable kennel for them that we fill with their blanket and toys, and they hop right in. When it's time to go, this thing folds and rolls up like those sun shades for car windshields.
The next day, we were immediately stuck in the Nashville morning rush, which slowed us down a bit. It's a beautiful city, I just didn't want to see it from the freeway at 10mph! Once we got out of there, it was off toward Kansas via several other states. In Paducah, Kentucky I was interviewed for a local story on gasoline prices - you can watch the video here if you haven't seen it. You know me, classic engineer, always looking for a camera to stick my face into! We'd gone from Tennessee to Kentucky to surprise, Illinois! We were pretty much blindly following the GPS and didn't realize it had us routed northward through Illinois.
Oh well, a couple hours later we were headed west again toward St. Louis and then all the way across Missouri to Kansas City (actually we stayed in Overland Park, KS). That evening, surprise, we found a brewpub in Kansas City (Martin City Brewing Company) and enjoyed some tasty local beverages! The GPS led us down a road named State Line Rd. As we went along, the GPS kept saying, "Ding, welcome to Missouri" and a few blocks later, "Ding, welcome to Kansas". Deb wanted it to be in Missouri because she'd seen enough of Kansas in her first 20+ years there. This went back and forth a few times and we ended up at the brewery in...Missouri, yay! I didn't care, I just wanted a beer.
We really lucked out with the traffic in the KC area - we had a "total reverse commute" as my California friends used to call it. On the way into town, everyone was rushing to get out of town (on the other side of the highway). To make it worse for them, there was an RV crashed sideways on the other side blocking 3 of 4 lanes, plus it's boat was separated from the trailer, but off to the side. We only had some curiosity slowing on our side and we cruised right on in to our hotel. The next morning, it was the opposite flow, as we left town while everyone else was trying to get in to work - this worked out great for us with zero planning!
The last day driving was from Overland Park to Greeley. Once we got past Salina, KS both of us started remembering some of the towns and stops. We first met in Denver where Deb was living with her brother while attending dog-grooming school in 1986; she lived in central Kansas and I in Denver. So, we both got a lot of windshield time and "enjoyed" the Great Plains, the wheat, the milo & sorghum, the corn, and the sunflowers. This trip was no different except they've added windmills, and we made a unique stop at the halfway point. Deb's parents' great friend Eileen was leaving Greeley heading to Kansas and we were going to cross paths. Deb's father Dave estimated we would meet at Oakley, KS and he nailed it! Eileen hit Oakley 8 minutes ahead of us, and we stopped, hugged, and chatted before heading off in opposite directions. She'd been helping out at the house so this was a virtual passing of the torch. I hope we can be half as useful as she was!
Once in Colorado, the GPS sent us (seeing a trend yet?) north out of Limon, avoiding the entire Denver afternoon rush. There was construction and lots of big, slow trucks, but we ended up in Greeley on schedule and not too worse for the wear. We were surprised that we couldn't see the mountains at all coming in; there was just too much smoke from all the western wildfires. We managed to avoid all that Hurricane Harvey rain on the way, but we were greeted with the western summer equivalent: smoke and fire (none of it close to us, but the smoke travels hundreds of miles).
We're very happy to be back to visit family and friends, and are already helping with Deb's Mom and around the house as much as we can.
How about you? Got any good roadtrip tales for us? Do tell!