Wednesday, July 16, 2008

West Coast trip Journal

April 29 Day 1
Left home about 8:15 a.m heading west on I88 towards the Mississippi River. Picked up I80 on the IL side of the river, and kept going. There’s not much to see through here that we’ve not been past before. But once we got west of Des Moines, we were in new territory. We’ve never driven this part of I80 before. The scenery, though, was no different that what we see at home. We did see two communities in IA that each had 1 wind turbine. What a good way to save money for the community’s electric power needs!

We had packed a small cooler with cheese and fruit, and brought along nuts, granola bars and other munchies so we could eat lunches along the way figuring on saving money.

We stopped in Omaha to see the UP display that overlooks the city and the MS River bridges. The weather was lovely, and getting out to walk was a treat. Got pictures of the “Big Boy” steam engine there.

The eastern half of Nebraska is very much like IL & IA,. Green with rolling hills and farms. But as we moved west, the state becomes flatter, and more barren. As the elevation begins to get higher, the vegetation thins out and becomes scrubby. The trees are mostly evergreens. We followed the Platte River for miles. Along the river on both sides of the highway, were small manmade ponds of various sizes. I wondered if they were from strip mining or quarrying (sand and gravel are plentiful out here) Vince thought they might have been the result of building the highway. Lots of people fishing in them.

It was another beautiful day, and the temp got up into the high 70’s. Nebraska is an extremely long state. It seemed we’d never get to the end of it. As the elevation rose, we drove through the high plains. We saw thousands of head of black angus, many of which were in feed lots getting fattened up for market.

Just west of North Platte, NE, we entered the Mountain Time Zone. No mountains in sight yet though.

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