Travel Notes I-80 Nebraska

Our travel method is a little bit different than most.  We travel in a Volvo 770 with a 48’ KentuckyLow-Boy.  It’s not a yuppie Volvo, it’s a semi-truck.  In fact, I bet my Volvo has more horse-power than yours 🙂   We made this upgrade last March when we picked up this converted tractor-trailer from our friend Rick in Dove Creek,CO.

Our “RV” which is what the State of Idaho calls it has a queen bed, full-size shower, kitchen, office and storage enough for all our supplies and also our daily-driver.  We call her the Taj Mauhauler and we travel with our cat.  How’s that for domestic?

Callie kitty

My partner, Big, was a novice truck driver when we started earlier this year, he still occasionally grinds a gear on his 13 speed Eaton, but for the most part, he’s awesome at driving.  Even when I’m tired and it’s late at night.  I don’t drive.  Well, I do drive, but not the Taj…I drive a Mini Cooper, the same Mini that fits in the top of the trailer when we feel like hauling two cars.  Miss Sally is more my size, she fits me.  My best girlfriends named her years ago when we were first putting miles on her, now she’s topped 100,000 and is still as happy as can be. Everyone asks what gas mileage I get, I tell them 27, but I’m sure I could get better.  It’s just that Sally likes to accelerate quickly, like me.

Traveling through Nebraska is one of the easiest things, the roads are straight and they run down hill when you travel West to East. Laramie,WY is at 8640 feet, by the time you get to the Missouri, you are at 700 feet – so it must all be down hill – I like to pretend we are coasting. Nebraska also has the best rest areas.  They show up every 30 to 50 miles, whether you need them or not.  It’s great to know that at least one state is thinking of its’ travelers, because there are so many that just set one up on each border and call it good. 

My favorite rest area is mm194, we stopped there yesterday to fix breakfast, but it’s not our first visit.  That particular rest area is really nothing special, but it has a ton of parking, and when you are in a big rig, you have to think about that.  Especially since we generally pull in late at night and many of the lots are already full.  Last month when we stopped we ended up between two trucks from our hometown.  Apparently, mm194 is a day’s drive from home.

The Missouri river has created some challenges this year.  Normally we cross on the 2 at Nebraska City to catch the 29 (which is the only road that angles to the Southeast)  The 29 has been closed most of the year.  The floods created by the Missouri have been awful.  I keep thinking the “Spring” floods should be over by now, but you wouldn’t know it as you drive by.  We crossed north of Omaha last month and read a sign that said “the Army Corp book on dams must be written in crayon” I think that summed up how the locals felt.  The water was everywhere, it still is.  Not being from the mid-west, I haven’t paid attention to what this flood has done to their economy, but I can only imagine.  Every time I drive by the “Road Closed” sign at I-29 I think of the poor folks who had businesses on that freeway and now have no customers.  How sad that would be to have hung your hopes and dreams on the traffic only to have it dry up when the water didn’t.  My prayers to those in that situation, I hope they can hang on to fight for another season.

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