Sunrise in Chicago
The word was that we needed to be on the road before 7 if we wanted to miss the morning Chicago traffic. We managed to get out of the big city with only one minor slowdown and before we knew it we were at the beginning of the world’s largest field i.e. the states that fill the space between the Great Lakes and the Rocky Mountains. Google approximated the drive from Chicago to Denver to be 16 hours so we decided to knock out 12 hours on the first day and spend the night Couchsurfing in North Platte, Nebraska. We planned to entertain ourselves with music, reading, playing silly games, sleeping, talking, arguing, thinking… you get the point.
Driving through this section of the country is extremely dull. By dull I mean the most boring drive. But I love it because this is the section of the country that people miss when they fly. Enduring seemingly-endless miles of those golden fields is what make you fill with joy at your first glimpse of the Rocky Mountains.
Mr. Moose crosses the Mississippi river.
We ran into some rain and road construction, but made a pretty good pace. There are a few restaurants that we always stop at, one being Hamburg Inn in Iowa City.
The Hamburg Inn in Iowa City, Iowa.
Our stomachs were full of nothing but coffee and dry cereal so we stopped around 11 am for some breakfast. The Hamburg Inn is a Hawkeye staple and has served many students along with a couple U.S. presidents.
They are famous for their pie shakes – large milk shakes with delicious pieces of pie broken into them. Best. thing. ever.
Chocolate Bourbon Pecan Pie Shake
We stuffed our faces, then were soon back on I-80. Carrie took the wheel and we both got really sleepy from eating so much. Lucky there was a rest stop with ice cold Mountain Dew to boost our energy levels.
Mr. Moose on I-80 west.
Just before sunset we made it to North Platte, a small railroad town in the middle of nowhere. We have had a lot of Couchsurfing success in the Midwest, and as usual had a great host who showed us around and took us out to a good diner, The Depot, near the rail yard.
North Platte is home to the largest railroad depot in the world.
Fox Theater in North Platte, Nebraska
There wasn’t too much excitement in North Platte on a Monday night, but that was fine with us, as we were eager to get to bed after such a long day of driving through the cornfields!