Thursday, October 29, 2009

Thursday, 10/29

10/29 Thursday

We are now at a motel in North Platte, NE. We will stay here until the roads are open into Denver. Hopefully that will be tomorrow. I-80 is closed 50 miles west of here, but we don't go that far before we turn off to Denver.

The temperature was 52F when we left Lincoln, NE, this morning. It is now 36F and misting. The forecast is for 1-6 inches of snow this afternoon and evening. We will watch the internet information for highway conditions to Denver.

Our traveling in Minnesota, South Dakota, Iowa, and Nebraska clearly show that this is corn country. We see black earth, super-long sprinkler irrigation systems, and many miles of cornfields. Today we are in the cornhusker state. Very appropriate. When we left Minneapolis yesterday and headed west on I-90, we heard about the snowstorm in Colorado that was headed north, towards Rapid City, SD, where we were headed, to see Mount Rushmore. It was foggy with light showers all day yesterday, so that weather plus the threat of significant snow caused us to change our travel plans. When we got to Sioux Falls, SD, (just over the border into South Dakota), we took I-29 south, through Sioux City, IA, to Omaha, NE. We then turned west, taking I-80 to Lincoln, NE. The temperature is much warmer here than in South Dakota, so it is raining here versus snowing in SD. We checked several motels and found a good value at $37.

This morning we had breakfast at Virginia's Travelers Café, on Cornhusker Highway, in Lincoln, NE. The woman running our motel yesterday recommended this café. Our experience eating at the café far exceeded the low cost of the breakfast we split. The parking lot was full of pickup trucks, so we knew this café was a favorite with the local residents. Jokingly I want to say that when we entered, the café fell silent as everyone looked at the strange easterners that entered this cornhusker's farmer's hangout. Most of the people in the café were older men wearing jeans and baseball-style caps. Many had flannel shirts and work boots. One man wore jeans overalls. We knew we were eating with the locals at a popular place. Neat! I asked the waitress if it was always this busy, and she told us it was because of the rain. Farmers don't pick corn in the rain.

We went into a rest area near York, NE, (west of Lincoln). The man cleaning the restrooms says it's the best job in the world. How's that for a positive attitude! He works three days a week, with very little effort required, and the money he makes pays for his Medicare payments for Part D (prescriptions). He is retired military and retired sheriff's office.

Near York we started seeing electronic signs with a message that I-80 was closed at Ogallala, NE, so that caused us to stop at North Platte, where there are more motels.

The outside temperature is dropping as we travel towards the snowstorm. It was 52F in Lincoln this morning. About 150 miles later, at noon, the temperature had fallen to 36F. The forecast for North Platte is 1-6 inches of snow this afternoon and night.

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