And here is where I fail you. No new pictures.
I don't know what happened other than we decided we wanted to be home.
We left Utah and headed northeast to Wyoming. Our plan was to cross Wyoming and head south to Denver where we'd spend the night. We'd then drive to Kansas City, see a Royals game, and spend the night. Our next stop was going to be St. Louis for a few hours, on to Indianapolis, and then home.
But Wyoming was so blooming long, hot, and tiring. We were starving and couldn't find anyplace to stop and eat. We pulled into Cheyenne around 6 pm and descended like locusts at the Outback. All three of us stuffed ourselves like we'd never eaten before, much less had a huge breakfast.
We decided to call it a night there. We tried two hotels. One didn't have any rooms; the other didn't have any non-smoking rooms. We decided to try a place that was on the other side of the interstate exit. We'd seen billboards for miles, but I thought it was just a truckstop. Boy, was I wrong. It was fantastic. The place is called Little America
. It was a beautiful property with luscious landscaping, big rooms that are beautifully decorated with fresh paint, new linens, and chandeliers. The dining room had an amazing breakfast buffet with some of the freshest fruit I've ever tasted. They even had huge raspberries and blackberries. Sera was in heaven. The place reminded me of hotels we stayed at when I was a child.
If you are ever in Cheyenne, I highly recommend Little America
We woke up the next morning and decided just to head home. We went back across Nebraska. We made a stop in Sydney to visit Cabela's
, now known as Jim's favorite store. We spent way too much money, but bought Jim's school wardrobe for this year and filled in some holes in the camping area, including an airbed on a frame that will work for me. I'll be able to enjoy camping now. I also got a new pair of shoes and an enamel-coated cast iron pizza pan.
We pulled into Omaha around 7ish. We'd spent so much money at Cabela's that Jim was determined we'd camp out. We were rushing to set up before sunset. When the tent was almost finished, I took Sera to the KOA store to buy firewood, newspaper, and make our bedtime bathroom run. I heard the clerk talk about rain, so I asked her. She said there was a storm going north of us. She'd seen the radar, and we had nothing to worry about.
Famous Last Words
We were starving and planning to roast some hot dogs on the camp fire. Something was weird about the wood, and it would not stay lit. It ws burning, but it wouldn't stay flaming. Jim finally got it to flame long enough to cook a few hot dogs. Just as he's bringing them to the table, we see lightning and hear thunder. Then I feel a drop.
I take Sera to the tent and then grab the hot dogs, buns, and condiments and toss them on my bed. I run back out to help Jim grab anything else, but he's got it packed up and in the van. We run to the tent and zip it shut just as the rain started. We sat on our beds eating our dinner and watching it pour. I lay down with Sera and watch our campfire now burning brightly in the pouring rain. How is that possible? The thunder and lightning are so loud and constant. I start counting between lightning strikes and thunder. 1, 2 boom. 1,2,3,4 boom. 1,2 boom. You get the idea. And then the wind started. The tent was rocking and rolling, but we were dry.
Then this huge gust hits us. The side of the tent seems to collapse and the rain comes in. I cover Sera as Jim and I scramble for our shoes. He throws our stuff in the duffel, I grab Sera, and we run for the van. We went from radio station to radio station and couldn't find any weather reports. Eventually the wind dies down and the rain lessens. The thunder and lightning fade away. Jim and I discuss our options. We don't want to tear down in the dark. We don't want to leave our stuff. We don't want to take Sera back in the tent in case we have to run out again. Jim decides to check the tent, and if it's okay, he'll sleep there. Sera and I stay in the van. She'd fallen asleep while we waited out the storm, but Jim getting out of the van woke her up.
It was a long night of holding a squirming toddler and trying to sleep in my seat. Jim, on the other hand, found the tent was fine, mopped off the rain from my bed, zipped himself up in his sleeping bag, and slept like a baby.
When we left the next morning, we stopped at the Cabela's ten miles down the road to buy a weather radio. We needed one at home anyway. The staff there told us the wind gusts the night before had been 80 mph.
This was the third time I'd camped. Would you believe I'm doing it again?
I'm a glutton for punishment or unbelievably optimistic. While you've been reading this, we've been camping. We left Monday for Mesick, MI. We're camping there on Monday and Tuesday before heading to the upper peninsula of Michigan, known as the UP. We'll camp up there on Wednesday and Thursday. On Friday, we check into the Grand Hotel
on Mackinac Island, where we'll be terribly spoiled. We head back home on Sunday, and the great travels of the summer of 2008 will come to an end.
Provo, UT to Cheyenne, WY - 458.07 miles
Cheyenne, WY to Omaha, NE - 498.28 miles
Omaha, NE to home - 558.24 miles