Sunday, July 15, 2012

Day Four: Laramie WY->Avoca IA

 Started out the day in Laramie – I debated whether or not to visit the fence where Matthew Shepard was found, but in the end decided I didn’t have the stomach for it.
I continued to stay off the main roads as much as possible, seeing some awesome high country in Wyoming before crossing over to Nebraska at Torrington.
Nebraska started out blistering hot and only got worse.  I followed route 30, which runs near route 80 most of the time, and is roughly where the Oregon Trail was. It also runs parallel to a set of railroad tracks that were the busiest I’ve seen.

Every day, 52 trains of at least 100 cars packed with coal come down out of the mountains, and 52 empty trains return there to pick up more. I waved to one of the conductors, and to my surprise and delight, he tooted the horn in return.

Route 30 through Nebraska is, I have to say, the most depressing thing I’ve seen in a while. I’ve always been fascinated with urban decay, but seeing one small town after another devastated was tough to take. Main streets without a single open shop. Many towns consisting of a huge set of grain elevators and a few shacks crowded nearby on barely paved streets.

By the time we got to Grand Isle, I had to try something else, so I got on the main road and sped along through Lincoln and Omaha, landing in Iowa after nightfall.

I try to hit the welcome center at each state border, but often I cross on a minor road, so I’ve only hit a few so far: Colorado, Wyoming, and Iowa. It’s actually surprisingly nice to be welcomed to each state by smiling people, and I like to collect maps from each state and mark out my route to help me remember what I saw and experienced.

Tuna has been quite the trooper, hardly complaining at all after the first day. Her arthritis has been acting up a bit, but not too badly. We’re still titrating the rymadil to figure out the minimal effective dosage.

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