Tag Archives: nebraska

GAR: Day Two – Kearney NE to Rawlins WY (475mi)

We awoke this morning to relatively clear skies, after a night of pretty amazing rain, thunder and lightning. After grabbing a quick spot of breakfast, we got moving…. and realized that the roof on the Jeep leaks.

I’m not terribly surprised, as this has been a common complaint I’ve seen on some of the Jeep forums. From what I can tell, water may be getting in the channel between the two front halves, and then works its way forward, draining at the windshield onto the top of the dash. It only did it when I stopped, so I assume that there’s something weird about the water path when the Jeep lurches at a stop. Strange thing is that I picked up Sio in some torrential downpours Friday, and had no issues. I’ve gotta do some research on this one…

So, remember yesterday, when I said things were windy? I had no idea how windy “windy” could be until today. We stopped at Tree Rock, and I thought we were gonna get blown over as we walked around. All through Wyoming, we saw signs heralding “High Winds Next 5 Miles”. Really…. 🙂 The winds were incredible most of the day, which made for a really long drive. Fighting the wind all day just ate me up, and I was too tired to go too much farther tonight.

BTW, it’s much colder today. Yesterday, I don’t think the temps dropped below 85 all day (at least, until the storms came through). Today, we started out around 60, warmed briefly to 70, but spent most of the day in the 50s. And I hear rumors of near-freezing temps overnight…. that should be fun!

I’m still in awe of the change in the landscape today. This morning, we left the flats of the Nebraska plains, and shortly after lunch, we got our first glimpse of the Rockies. By the time we landed for dinner, we’d cut into the mountains. What a great, picturesque view of this big ol’ country!!!

GAR: Day One – St. Louis MO to Kearney NE (544mi)

After much scurrying about to load and pack (not in that order…. sometimes), we got underway on the Great American Roadtrip this morning just shy of 9am. Today is the first of three “big push” days, with 500mi being the target. Working hard these three days buys us shorter drives later and more time to smell the roses down the road, so it’s definitely effort well-spent.

And truthfully, it was largely an uneventful drive. The biggest concern we had was the wind. We had extremely strong southerly winds all the way across Missouri, and most of the way across Nebraska. Aside from fighting the wheel, that’s usually not a big deal. In the Jeep, that’s a different story.

I had read in the aftermarket catalogs about third party hood latches for the Jeep. The way the hood works is typical latch, but no handle inside the Jeep, so it’s kinda like the hood’s perpetually “popped”, just not unlatched. To keep it from being too much of a wind sucker, there are rubber hood latches on the hood, left and right. Get the right amount of wind (or buffeting from a big rig in front of you), and the hood dances. A lot.

Did I mention that the hood dances in high wind? 🙂

Needless to say, improved hood latches have moved closer to the top of my list for add-ons to the Jeep. That was really weird to see the hood moving around, and I kept having to tell myself that it was ok, expected, and that it would stay down.

Probably the coolest thing we saw on the drive today was in northern Missouri. A guy was changing a tire on the edge of the road, and standing right there on the stripe was a Missouri highway patrolman, hands on hips, facing the traffic. Pretty imposing look, and it definitely got your attention. Cool that he was watching the oncoming traffic while the guy was changing his tire.

BTW, northwestern Missouri and eastern Nebraska should be renamed “The Land of 10000 Additional Lakes”. The farm fields are flooded, really bad in places, with the lower lands becoming huge lakes with trees popping out of the water far from the shore.

We had planned to pull in at Grand Island NE, but I felt pretty fresh, so we pushed on to Kearney NE. As it ends up, that was a very, very good decision.

We watched Shrek 3 on cable, and quickly learned that there was quite sever weather just east of Kearney which was pummeling Grand Island. There were severe thunderstorm warnings and tornado warnings all night in that direction. We had bad storms, but nothing like what we heard about in Grand Island.

Despite the storms, it was a good day’s journey, and a good start to the trip.