Indiana, Iowa, Nebraska, Colorado on Day 2 & 3

We awoke to Day 2 of our road trip at 9am CT which was extremely startling to us early risers (that's 10am eastern!). Admittedly, we went to bed at 1am CT after we decided to push through Indiana. Most surprising was that Bertie -- our trusty no-later-than-6:30am alarm clock -- was snoozing away too. Being as hot as it was and wanting to get on the road for another long day of driving, our plan to do a hike at Starved Rock State Park was quashed. Our consolation prize was driving into Matthiessen State Park for a short walk into the sunflower field.

We crossed into Iowa state over the Mississipi River -- the second longest river in North America! 

We stopped in East Iowa City, Iowa for refreshment at Heyn's Ice Cream. 

Here is Bertie waiting for her Pup Cone.  

Then it was off to the Interstate to finish up the day's drive to Omaha, Nebraska. The interstate through Iowa and into Nebraska was in great shape. Overall, a fairly uneventful day of driving!

Day 2: ~650km 

Omaha to Denver was to be our third day of driving. Bertie was eager to get on the road and made sure we didn't sleep in like the day before. 

Most of the route on I80 is straight plains -- the Great Plains to be exact! In fact, the stretch between Lincoln and Grand Island is almost entirely straight. 

A tidbit about Grand Island: when Pike's Peak Gold Rush c. 1859-1861 (later known as the Colorado Gold Rush) began, Grand Island was the last place travellers could obtain supplies before they crossed the plains.

We crossed the Missouri River early in the drive and later the Platte River. The Missouri River is the longest river in North America! Rising in the Rocky Mountains of western Montana, the Missouri flows east and south for almost 4000km, before entering the Mississipi River north of St. Louis. The Platte River is a major river in Nebraska. Measured to its farthest source via its tributary the North Platte River, it flows over 1690km. The Platte River is a tributary of the Missouri River, which is itself a tributary of the Mississipi which flows to the Gulf of Mexico. So... as always... everything connects to everything else!

The Platte River valley played an important role in the westward expansion of the United States, providing the route for several major emigrant trails, including the Oregon, California, Mormon, and Bozeman trails.  

Shortly after Grand Island, we went under the Great Platte River Road Archway Monument, near Kearney, Nebraska. 

This prompted me to do a bit of research on the Great Platte River Road, which itself was a major overland travel corridor following the Platte River. It is regarded as the grand corridor of American's westward expansion. The road was also used by the Pony Express. There was ongoing conflict with the Cheyenne and other Indigenous peoples of the Great Plains. 

Although the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad reduced travel along the road, the route is now the path of the I80. 
Crossing the Great Plains was very peaceful and we enjoyed seeing the flat land and cattle ranching. 

Somewhere outside of Denver in the High Plains we could begin to see the welcome silhouettes of the Rocky Mountains. At the western edge of Nebraska, we also crossed into Mountain Time Zone. From Omaha to Denver we climbed from 1089 feet to 5280 feet! 

Day 3: ~900km

Upon arriving in Denver, we recovered with some cold beer and grub before taking a meander through downtown Denver and the South Platte River. 


  1. What great sights you have seen so far ... And only more to come!
    Bertie sounds like she is a real natural at road tripping

    1. Yes, she loves to road trip. It's not her first rodeo!

  2. Was the Heyn's ice cream worthy?

    1. It was! But we had even better ice cream - well, frozen custard - in St. George Utah

  3. πŸπŸš—πŸΆπŸš™πŸ’¨
    It’s fun learning a bit of history about these travel ways!


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