After a night of thundering rain, the kitties and I woke to sunshine in Peoria. Neither of them was happy to be placed in their respective carriers, but they resigned themselves to another long drive with few protestations.
It occurred to me as I drove how different this trip was since my last westward journey by car. At that time I drove an un-air-conditioned 1973 Chevy Nova without a radio. Young and stupid, I drove for twelve to sixteen hour stretches, with only a couple of overnight motel stops. When my brother and I crossed back to Ohio on that same trip, he and I took turns driving straight through with only fuel and meal stops. I recall we stopped for coffee somewhere in Canada in the middle of the night and I fell asleep at the table.
My comfort levels have changed, and so has technology in cars. Other than my car being cramped, the ride is more comfortable and the book on CD has kept me focused. I made a couple of water stops along the way and Henry was grateful. Pablo pouted and refused to drink on my presence. At a Phillips 66 during a fuel stop I ate a hot dog I bought. It's definitely hard to eat healthy fare on the road when you can’t sit down for a meal.
The Midwest is largely flat, but Iowa has a couple of distinguishing characteristics. Every few miles, I noticed windmills, looming like large white mechanical birds. The second oddity is the red colored freeway lanes heading west. The eastbound lanes have the normal gray hue, but for about thirty miles the west bound lanes are a terracotta red.
Other than in construction zones and within cities, most of the way the speed limit was 70 mph. When I crossed into Nebraska, the speed limit increased to 75, and even as I drove 77-79, cars flew past me. At one point a sheriff’s car tailgated me until I sped up to 83 to let him pass. His lights weren't flashing, so I wondered why he was in such a hurry. I was also relieved he didn't ticket me.
Overall I made good time until I hit Lincoln T rush journey, going the wrong way on I-180. I finally stopped at a muffler place, parked, and called the hotel. I was clear on the west side of town and I needed to be around fifty blocks east of there. This put me right in the downtown, and if it weren't for the cats, who were both crying by now, I would have stopped and checked out one of the cafes I spotted along the way. I found the hotel, but I have idea how I will find 80 West again in the morning.
It was much easier unloading the cats and my luggage. I may not be so lucky tomorrow, though. I turned on the 6 o clock news when I dropped cats and bags in the room and the prediction is more rain.
I tried to find Panera for dinner, but the desk clerk's directions were vague, so I ended up at a mall, eating lousy spaghetti and meatballs. I should have stopped at the nearby Olive garden, but I'm on a new city and wanted to try something new.
I couldn't find the street going back to my hotel until after I passed it, but I spotted a Barnes and Noble. I browsed for a bit, but did not want to add ONE more thing to my pigsty of a car, so I left empty handed. I headed back to the hotel, but that section of the road was one way. So how the hell was I supposed to find the place? Many of the streets in Lincoln have Names like O or R Street that intersect with numbered streets. I drove endlessly in circles until I found the hotel by accident. As Elizabeth says, lost is the new black, so I am tres stylish today.
Now enjoying my nightly glass of red and some pistachios and almonds I found in my purse.
Tomorrow, Cheyenne, Wyoming.