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#North2Future Day 2: A Soft Place to Land

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Truth from the road: Kansas is big and if you want to drive across it, it will take a looooong time.

That’s how we spent the vast majority of more than 10 hours on the road yesterday: in Kansas. We saw rolling hills, plains, more plains, more plains and then, finally, the beauty of Colorado through first plains, then hills.

And here we are in Loveland, Colorado — ready to enter Rocky Mountain National Park tomorrow. But first, a night in La Quinta … and our first nights in real beds since the movers took our stuff last Thursday.

(Last Thursday seems like a really long time ago).

Military families often use La Quinta when they travel. First, their military rewards program is phenomenal. But for us the most convenient thing is their pet policy: they don’t charge anything extra for pets, and they don’t have any size restrictions. If we need a hotel, we know we can look for a La Quinta for a clean, comfortable, Chloe-friendly stay. Win. And even thought we’re no longer active duty Army, we know we can still trust them.

So we were super excited when La Quinta offered to give us hotel vouchers for our trip, giving us a chance to check out several of their hotels along our way. We’ll be staying in them here in Colorado and again in Boise. Score.

Now, here are a few highlights from our day in Kansas and Colorado.

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This morning we packed-up our stuff, and hit the road — I-70 alllllllll the way through Kansas and into Colorado.

People warned me that Kansas was boring. What they didn’t say is that it also so, so beautiful. It was so green and so gorgeous. Windmills, hills, then no hills for a super long time — then a slight rise in the land and, suddenly, Colorado.

Kansas highway
Kansas highway. Look at those windmills in the distance!
Kansas beauty
Kansas beauty.

The day included only a few stops. One was for lunch at a very, very small rest stop in Kansas. The toilet there, I regret to say, gave me a shower on the back of my legs when Huck flushed it as we left the stall. Awesome. Nothing like rest stop toilet water to get you going.

Pit-stop for lunch, somewhere in Kansas.
Pit-stop for lunch, somewhere in Kansas.

Right before we hit Colorado we really, really needed gas. A friend recently actually ran out of gas on the side of the road with her screaming child, so I’ve been newly inspired to, well, not do that. So we stopped when I saw a gas sign … in a rather questionable looking town called “Kanorado.” It was a grain mill, a railroad, a bunch of trailers, a gas station and a church. Luke says there are hundreds of towns just like this across the midwest. I suspect some of them are paved. This one was not. He wants you to know they are full of hard working people, making an honest living, “growing wheat.”

Kanorado, Kansas -- the last Kansas gas off the highway. They aren't so into paving their roads there.
Kanorado, Kansas — the last Kansas gas off the highway. They aren’t so into paving their roads there.
Kanorado, Kansas gas station. Pushed that sucker to empty.
Kanorado, Kansas gas station. Pushed that sucker to empty.

After we got back on the highway and enter Colorado, we had to stop – obviously – and take a photo with the sign.

From here it was power time — get to Loveland, Colorado, and call it good for the night at the La Quinta we had booked.

A quick stop for some Smash Burger, a Denver based burger chain I had never been to before.

Smash Burger. SMASH. In Loveland, Colorado. .. finally time to stop for the day.
Smash Burger. SMASH. In Loveland, Colorado. .. finally time to stop for the day.

And then — hotel at last.

Hotel bliss.
Hotel bliss.
Two kids who are happy to be swimming and not, say, riding in a car.
Two kids who are happy to be swimming and not, say, riding in a car.

 

Tomorrow we head into Rocky Mountain National Park for day three of our trip. Three days into vagabonding across America on our way to a whole new life in Alaska.

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