Road Trippin’: Day 5, Omaha to Cheyenne pt. 1

We managed to get up and into the car by around 8 a.m. on Sunday, and we stopped for coffee from the local Starbucks before we hit the road once again for the long scenic drive through Nebraska. I’d been driving BK crazy for the past week by talking incessantly about Carhenge, a roadside attraction in which the sculptures of Stonehenge have been carefully recreated in old cars. And because either a) he’s wonderful or b) I managed to wear down his stance against it, he finally agreed to make a slight detour to Alliance, Nebraska.

I also insisted that we listen to Bruce Springsteen’s “Nebraska” album along the way because, well, life needs a soundtrack, you know?

After driving past miles and miles of soybeans and corn field, we finally stopped in a little town called Broken Bow, Nebraska to fill up on gas and make/eat some sandwiches. I also picked up some Sweet Leaf organic iced tea and Rocky Mountain Popcorn’s jalapeno popcorn at the gas station/convenience store to round our lunch out. Then it was on to Alliance!

About 10-15 miles from our destination, bk’s beloved Subaru WRX STI began making very strange and unnerving sounds, sounds that sounded disturbingly similar to those of a car running out of gas. Ooops. This was very unexpected as we’d filled up the tank in Broken Bow, and the needle hadn’t quite reached “E.” However, the gas in Nebraska also seems to be a lower quality, lacking ethanol content and registering a lower octane than BK’s car is accustomed to. Not to mention, dragging a trailer filled with furniture and housewares across the country is practically fatal for our mileage and efficiency. After several minutes of driving along while making this distressing chugging noise, we finally had to pull off to the shoulder of the road where the car gave its last final sigh before quitting on us.

This is how I felt about running out of gas.

So there we sat, with a full trailer and a dog in the middle of nowhere, Nebraska, surrounded by field after field of corn and sunflowers, and passed by only the occasional vehicle. We decided we’d have to flag someone down to see if they would take us into town to get a container of gas and then give us a lift back. This plan put us in a slight dilemma though. I was adamant that I was not going to be getting into a car with some potential psychopath and risk never being seen again. On the other hand, we didn’t think it seemed like a good idea to leave our fully-packed car and trailer alone on the side of the road. Thus it was decided that BK would take the risk of getting into a car with a potential sociopath while I waited with the car and poor Ruby Tuesday. Theoretically I could at least jump in the car and lock the doors if some unsavory character approached me, which seemed to be better odds than hopping in the car with someone who could ultimately turn out to be a homicidal maniac intent on dismembering me and shoving my body parts in an unmarked, shallow grave.

The man who slowed down to help us turned out to be an older man from Scotts Bluff, Nebraska who was driving a university-issued vehicle and told BK he  was a professor of theology at one of the local colleges. While BK went off with this so-called professor, he listened to stories of the man’s past days spent teaching English and religion in Papa New Guinea as well as the man’s anecdote of how he’d once driven all the way from New York to Oklahoma with an hitchhiker in tow, eventually taking turns driving with said hitchhiker.

Meanwhile, back at the car, I stood with Ruby in the blazing hot Nebraskan sun and contemplated just exactly what my game plan would be should my boyfriend never actually return from his attempted gas run. I’d nearly exhausted all potential options and was just about to give up on settling upon a successful plan of action when BK returned triumphantly with a container of six gallons of fuel. Whew! We loaded up the gas tank and were once again on our merry way, crisis averted.

Not long after, we arrived at Carhenge, which was everything I’d hoped for and more. Carhenge, completed by Jim Reinders in 1987,  fastidiously replicates the arrangement of the statues/sculptures at Stonehenge, with the structure’s “heel stone” depicted by a 1962 Cadillac. The main circle of sculptures spans a diameter of approximately 96 feet, and in the years since it’s construction,  more car sculptures have been added to the site. These pieces collectively make up what’s now called “the Car Art Reserve.” I mean honestly, how could I not want to go see this amazing sounding place? It was incredibly hot when we arrived but I was nonetheless thrilled to skip around the dusty and locust-filled grounds to study each piece. I think that my favorite sculpture at Carhenge was actually part of the Car Art Reserve, the spawning Canadian salmon.

At first glance I thought this baby was a shark, but according to the label, it was actually a spawning salmon….and it was awesome. It’s kind of amazing to believe that each of these is actually constructed out of cars. It also makes me really want to know more about what inspired Reinders to take on such a project, and well, why exactly would someone undertake such a thing? Whatever the reason, I’m very glad he did.

After Carhenge, we stopped for a Blizzard from Dairy Queen before heading onto our destination for
the night in Cheyenne, Wyoming.

This entry was posted in fun stuff, gluten-free, road trip, travel. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Road Trippin’: Day 5, Omaha to Cheyenne pt. 1

  1. Anonymous says:

    You are making me jealous. I love road trips, tourist traps and crazy road side attractions. If you have a chance to cut through South Dakota, you should really check out the badlands. Just before you get there you will find a “petrified garden” – which is basically a rock garden with a geological history of the region that is actually fascinating. Enjoy the journey Ms. Kerouac. xoxxo -v.

  2. OLIVIA says:

    (1) Blizzard from the DQ!!! (2) I am transfixed by your epic journey!

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