Monday, June 18, 2007

On the Road Again

Just when I thought I was done with the road trips, it was time to move to California. It would have been nice to fly out there and ship my stuff, but I decided to take my car, which meant someone (read: me) had to drive it out there. Luckily, I started off the 2,400+ mile journey off with a leisurely drive to Chicago and a weekend there before I had to start on anything too strenuous. But this morning I woke up on a mission to make it to Lincoln, Nebraska.

Now, one might think 522 miles through western Illinois, all of Iowa, and into the Cornhusker State would not make for an exciting trip. And one would definitely be right. But that's not to say that there weren't highlights along the way.

First, Western Illinois, in addition to outrageous toll prices (really, it's costing me more to go to Aurora than to get on the Chicago Skyway?), offered the birthplace and boyhood home of Ronald Reagan. Once I made it into Iowa, I entered the "Silos and Smokestacks National Heritage Area". A little different from the national heritage areas I saw in New Zealand, but I reminded myself that corn plays a much larger role in my life than, say, glaciers or nikau palms, so really which is more worth seeing?

The first place I actually got to stop--and what a way to kick off my sightseeing--was the world's largest truckstop. Although it wasn't quite the massive complex I was hoping for, it did include a trucker's museum and a dentist, so that was pretty sweet. Sadly I am about a month too early for the Truckers' Jamboree.

I continued along I-80, skipping the Buffalo Bill Museum, John Wayne's Birthplace, the Herbert Hoover museum and birthplace (but no Hooverville, sadly), the Bridges of Madison County, and a town called "What Cheer." I am a little mad at myself because earlier I had made a list of sights along the way, but had forgotten about it and ended up missing a giant cow and calf, a jail made out of squirrel cages, the world's largest ball of stamps and, most regrettably, the future birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk. Next time, I guess.

I finally made it to Lincoln, Nebraska where I am pausing for the night. I had a little time to go sightseeing, so I went to the Sunken Gardens (Nebraska's only garden that's listed as one of the 300 best gardens in America!), the capitol building, and for a stroll around downtown Lincoln.

About 15 minutes later I had seen pretty much all of Lincoln that I wanted to see. Anyway, it was time to get back to the hotel and start on my research as to where exactly I can find the 56 foot replica of the Golden Spike tomorrow on my way to Denver.


SWE said...

Oooh-the Ronald Reagan boyhood home and the wonders of Dixon, IL. We stopped there for kicks on our way to Walnut, IL, the hometown of Don Marquis. Think of all the history you just drove right by...

Roni said...

Geetha, you're (still) awsome! You took the joy that road trips in a foriegn country inspire and applied it to the Land of Americana. Good for you (not 'on ya') on your ability to enjoy the Midwest. Many Americans refuse to see the fun that exists there.

The mind boggles at all of the roadside attractions made possible by America's freakishly over-developed highway system. I must admit, the burgeoning Kiwi in me is a wee bit jealous of your ride through the land of Food on a Stick and Liquid High Fructose Corn Syrup.

Keep on truckin', cuz.

Peter (Sydney) said...

Ah, Iowa ... I have a friend (born in Italy) who studied at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, who told me Iowa stood for I Owe the World an Apology ...