The directions from our home in Massachusetts to our first destination in Boulder, Colorado are pretty simple. Three steps:
Step 1: Get on I-90 going west
Step 2: Change to I-80 near Cleveland, Ohio
Step 3: Change to I-76 somewhere in Nebraska
Essentially all 1,963 miles of the trip were spent on two very long and very straight highways. And, the drive could be a bit dull at times. Ohio seemed to take FOREVER. Once we cleared the Great Lakes, the road began to open up a great deal. There was less traffic, and you can enjoy the beautiful rolling countryside and wind farms.
Don’t let us kid you, this drive is LONG. Including stops, we spent 12 hours on the road during day 1, 15 hours on day 2, and 11 hours on day 3. To keep things interesting and manageable though, we worked in a few food stops and “sight-seeing expeditions”.
The first stop was the most out of the way, but also THE BEST – well worth the extra mileage. On our first day, we stopped at a Bernese Mountain Dog breeders home in upstate New York. This is one of the breeders we have been in touch with about acquiring a puppy, and they generously allowed us to stop by and meet their 7 puppies on their 3 week birthday!
We spent over an hour holding, petting, and watching the puppies. At three weeks old, they seemed to be living on 20 minutes cycles. They slept then woke up then barked (sort of) then slept again every 20 minutes. One minute we would be holding two of them while the rest barked and then one minute later all 7 would be passed out for another 10 minute nap. Isn’t that the life?
After spending over and hour with the puppies, the breeders invited us to join them for dinner (how nice is that!), so we had a delicious meal before getting back on the road. The longer stay at the breeders’ home put us behind schedule, so when we arrived in Buffalo, NY at midnight, we were quite tired.
Our second day was our longest scheduled day of driving. We woke at 5:15 am and were on the road at 6:03. With over 1000 miles to cover, our only planned stops were for lunch and dinner. As we drove, Jessica found an awesome burger joint in Elkhart, Indiana: Miles’s Lab. By lunchtime we were both pretty beat and two big burgers gave us a much-needed energy boost.
More yelping found us an interesting dinner destination: Tacopocalypse in Des Moines, Iowa, which certainly lived up to its name. Des Moines was our endpoint for that day and we were psyched to be able to make it there by dinner time.
By Sunday we were pretty sick of the road. Enter, Nebraska. Nebraska started off wonderfully. We swung through Omaha for a quick breakfast and were wowed by the old refurbished buildings. It seemed like a cool place. Honestly. But, after Omaha, it was all downhill. Well, not literally. It was actually dead flat with nothing to look at. With a whole state to scout the best lunch place we could find was Ruby Tuesdays. Sorry Nebraska, but you need to get it together.
I even took a time lapse of an ‘exciting’ part of the Nebraska drive. Below is 8 minutes of driving through Nebraska condensed into 16 seconds. If only we could have actually driven this fast.
Finally, we reached Colorado and then, a few hours later, the city of Boulder. We were excited to be done with the longest part of our trip and ecstatic to see our friends, Owen and Sally. We celebrated our arrival with a quick walk with a view of the mountains.