The playlist for today’s drive:
-“Born and Raised”- John Mayer
-“Bossypants” (the audiobook)- read by Tina Fey
We covered a lot of ground today. Six states: Missouri, Kansas, Iowa, Nebraska, Wyoming, and Colorado. Wow. In the Smith family, we have a little friendly competition to see who can visit the most states. We call it “The Great State Challenge.” Prior to this trip, I believe I was at 33 of the 50 states. After this trip, I’ll have visited 39! What does it take to count as a visit, you ask? You have to either use the bathroom or eat a meal in that state. None of that silly ‘passing through without getting out of the car’ kind of stuff.
Today we visited 5 new states for me! We went a tad bit out of our way to do so, but if it puts me ahead in “The Great State Challenge,” we’ll do what we have to do. We started the day in Kansas City, Missouri. Then we crossed over into Kansas City, Kansas to eat breakfast. Next came a quick trip into Iowa, where we stopped to use the restroom. We stopped in a teeny-tiny town that was essentially comprised of a strip club and a general store. I wouldn’t recommend visiting. And what’s the weirdest thing about Iowa? Every tree we passed had already lost its leaves. Either that or all of the trees were dead. I’m not sure.
After a very brief stay in Iowa, we spent the majority of our 12-hour drive crossing Nebraska. This is where having Tina Fey read “Bossypants” really came in handy (if you haven’t read it, you are seriously missing out). If you’ve never been to Nebraska, let me explain what it looks like. Completely flat fields of corn. Or soybeans. That’s about it for the majority of the views from the interstate. But it’s surprisingly pretty. Once we got to the very western portion of the state, we started to see a few very out of place hills, but that was about it. Still, it was fun to drive by all of the corn and think of Akbar. If you have no idea what I’m referencing, please watch this completely ridiculous and hilarious video. It will forever change the way you feel about corn.
After Nebraska came about an hour’s drive in Wyoming, which, from what I can tell, has no trees. Just some crazy rocks and out of place hills. And windmills. But we’ll get to spend a whole lot more time in Wyoming over the next few days, and I’m sure it will be much more impressive. I’m just constantly amazed by the diversity of the landscape in America. The landscape got a whole lot more awesome once we crossed into Colorado. We had been waiting all day for the first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains, and I think it lived up to the anticipation. Wow. Those are some mountains. And really, we’re just seeing the foothills at this point. We’re spending the night at Eric’s aunt and uncle’s house in Fort Collins, Colorado, which is a beautiful town nestled in the foothills of the Rockies. We got here in time to head down to the college area (Colorado State University is in Ft. Collins) for dinner. Uncle Steve recommended we visit Old Town, which is this really cool (and relatively hipster) shopping and dining area on College Avenue. We ate dinner at “Ingredient Restaurant,” where I ate the most delicious salad of my entire life. I had the Azteca Salad, which is comprised of crisp greens, pulled red chili turkey, red peppers, black beans, pico de gallo, scallions, tillamook cheddar, and crispy tortilla strips in a chipotle ranch dressing. I know, right? Wow. It was incredible.
And may I take a minute to just rave about the weather here? It is beautiful. We ate outside without being hot or cold. We walked around without getting sweaty. My hair is the same size now as it was when we got here. I just cannot comprehend a life without intense humidity. Fort Collins-ites have it made. We even drove with the windows down and loved it. Can we possibly just move here instead?
For those of you who are dying to know what kind of progress we’ve made in the Roadtrip Scavenger Hunt, here’s what we saw today:
-Blue VW Bug (in Kearney, Nebraska)
-Pizza Delivery Guy (in Cheyenne, Wyoming)
-3 of the same color car in a row (3 white cars in Nebraska)
-Something that reminds you of your small group (We actually saw this yesterday. Whoops. O’Fallon, Missouri. Reminded us of Jimmy Fallon. And everyone knows that Jimmy Fallon is the best, especially our small group.)
-Person (alone) singing in their car (a man in Nebraska)
-First place you see a sign with the word “Oregon” on it (Apparently there is an Oregon, Missouri. When we saw the sign for “Oregon- 1 mile”, we hated the town for teasing us.)
-Canadian license plate (We saw several of these today, but the first was “Ontario,” spotted in Nebraska.)
As far as traveling the Oregon Trail goes, neither of us have been bitten by a snake, and we have yet to ford a river. We did pass by a trading post, which made me chuckle a bit. Too bad we didn’t have any animal pelts to trade.
Tomorrow we head to Jackson, Wyoming, where we’ll spend the night in the Grand Tetons! Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!