Day 4: Ogallala, Nebraska, to Salina, Utah

This post recounts our travels on July 6, the fourth day of our road trip adventure, but I’m posting these privately during our travels and am switching the status to Public after we return home from the trip, so as not to tip off the criminals about our house being empty for a month. I’m adding photos at that time, too.

The fourth day of our Great American Epic Road Trip Adventure, July 6, began in a hotel room at the AmericInn in Ogallala, Nebraska. This would be one of our heaviest travel days, with 658 miles to go before we’d arrive in Salina, Utah, for the night. Not surprisingly, Ogallala and Salina were not on our must-see-before-we-die lists, but we had to divide up the route into manageable chunks of driving time between towns with available hotel rooms, and that’s where we were able to get reservations.

My son actually planned the route, with some input and tweaking from me. He’s a wizard with maps and directions, knows way more about the U.S. interstate system than any college student I’ve ever known, and jumped in and began mapping out our route on his own initiative, freeing me up to spend most of my planning time making reservations at 16 different hotels, lodges, and B&Bs.

Because of our heavy travel schedule and because I was driving most of this day, I don’t have a lot of photographs from July 6. We did manage to fit in a stop at a Little Free Library that morning, in the town of Brule, Nebraska. This part of Nebraska wasn’t sure if it wanted to be midwestern farming community or part of the Wild West, so it felt like a rather interesting combination of both. I felt sorry for Brule. It seemed depressed and dilapidated, parts of it looking like a ghost town. But it had a Little Free Library — actually, two of them, side by side. And that is an excellent recommendation for any town.

Brule, Nebraska, has two Little Free Libraries side by side. The one with the purple door is for children’s books. Action Figure Jane poses in the adult LFL with a book we left there.

My “What Would Jane Read” project involves stopping at Little Free Libraries along my travels, photographing my Jane Austen Action Figure inside each one, leaving one or more Jane Austen (or Jane Austen-related) books, and then blogging about our visit and giving Jane’s opinion on what book she would like to read from that LFL.

I hadn’t stopped at any LFLs closer to home, because I’d already been to many in that part of the country. But I couldn’t remember if Action Figure Jane and I had ever visited a Nebraska LFL together, so when I saw there was one just a block or two off our route, I decided it was time for my first LFL stop of the journey. Jane and I left a copy of The Jane Austen Book Club, I took a few photos of the town (see two of them below), and were back on the road after just a few minutes.

The most scenic part of our trip was western Colorado. We drove through Denver just as a huge storm was approaching, and then over the mountains, with rain on and off as we twisted up and down those mountain roads. The views were spectacular, but I could not take photos while driving, so I have just a few from the one scenic viewpoint we stopped at along the way.

We checked in that night to a Quality Inn & Suites in Salina. It was a lain vanilla hotel in most respects, but it did have some Old West touches — roughhewn wood accents and cowboy pictures on the walls — that gave it some distinction. It also sported the first of the dead animal heads we’d quickly get used to seeing overhead in the lobbies of most of the hotels we stayed in while in the western U.S. My dad, a hunter who never outgrew his childhood fascination for cowboys, would have loved it.

Miles traveled this day: 658. We bought gas in both Nebraska and Colorado for $4.899 per gallon.

Much of Brule, Nebraska (above and below), has an Old West vibe, but some of it looks more like an Old West ghost town.
The most scenic part of our drive so far was crossing the Rocky Mountains in Colorado. Unfortunately, I was driving that leg of the journey, so I was able to take very few photos. This is one showing some dramatic mountain scenery from an infrequent stop for photographs.

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