Rovingpatrol's Blog

Illinois To Nevada By Car

Posted in Uncategorized by roving on July 9, 2009

I live in NW part of Illinois and at the time it seemed like it might be fun to drive almost 2000 freaking miles to reach Sparks Nevada.  The fun lasted about 4hrs into it. Then  it became a job. I didn’t bring a road atlas with me. I only relied on my GPS. (Note to self, bring road atlas on next trip so I know where the hell I am in in the states or even know what state I’m in)

Iowa is land a hog. Why does a state think they need to be so damn huge? I was halfway through the state wondering if it was growing as I was driving.

I will say though, Iowa has the most impressive rest areas I ever been in. The state goes all out to impress the traveler and it worked.  The rest areas also are fairly close  enough together so that if you need to use the bathroom, a person wouldn’t have their bladder erupt if they decided to wait till the next rest area.

Iowa rest stops were the only ones who would have a you are here map. In every other rest stop I was in I only saw the map of the state and they left out the you are here part. Unless I just didn’t see it.

Going through Nebraska was fine until it got around midnight. It seems most gas stations close around then. I would fill my car up when I reached a half a tank. So around 1am I was at that half full mark and started looking out for gas stations. I would see signs for gas and head off the interstate only to find them closed. When my gas gauge read slightly under half a tank, I started to feel a little panicky and decided to look for a rest area to park for the night.

The first sign I saw that said there was a rest area up ahead, I missed because I didn’t see the rest area. Nebraska likes to hide some of them. Instead of having them right there ON the interstate, they for some reason thought it would be fun to put it out of sight and make you drive through a maze to get to it. In one of their rest stops I couldn’t find my way out. My GPS was starting to get pissed at me. ” As soon as possible, make a u-turn.” I finally just sat there and waited for someone to leave so I could just follow them.

I drove till I found one that I could actually see and pulled in for the night. When I woke up a few hrs later I decided to go inside and use the facilities and buy me a can of coke to wash down my aspirin. This brings me to another complaint. All rest areas should have a soft drink machine. Which brings me to another complaint. The ones that do have a soft drink machine, whats up with the plastic bottles of soda? What is wrong with cans? Bottles of soda dont seem like they get as cold and taste a little flat.  Which brings me to another complaint. Do most rest stops have a thing against coca-cola?

Going through Wyoming wasn’t to bad except for the fact, they hate rest areas. They cant be bothered with building them so they have quite a few of places you can park but have nothing else. The rest areas they do have are pretty boring. They don’t want you sticking around so they just build a building around a couple bathrooms in the hopes you do your job then leave

Lot of road construction signs all the way west.  Lot of cones but no work being done.  I never was told if you have to drive slow even if there is no road construction actually being done. Sometimes I sped through them, sometimes I didn’t.

In one part of Wyoming there actually was work being done. They had the interstate on my side down to one lane. The problem is, they must have forgotten to put warning signs a few miles back because traffic was backed up for miles due to both lanes being full of vehicles trying to get into the one open lane.

The gas stations all the way to Nevada have no trust in us travelers. They all want us to prepay for gas. I would go in, stand in line, give them some money, pump my gas, then have to go back in, stand in line to get my change because I could never get all the gas I paid for into my car.   To all you gas thieves, thanks a lot assholes.

Salt Lake City really needs to do something about their road signs. My GPS is telling me what lane to be in and I follow its instructions. Next thing I know, my GPS is “recalculating”  When I look up, I see the lane I’m supposed to be in going off slightly to the right and since there is a cement barrier, I can’t get over to it and end up somewhere in Salt Lake city hell. My GPS is telling me to turn left. Problem is, I’m in the far right of the million lane and the road is packed full of cars filling all the lanes.  I turn my blinker on and lo and behold, like the hand of God coming down cars slowed down and let me over so I was able to get back on the interstate.

Not only does the west detest rest areas, they also build as few gas stations as possible. Now I’m looking for stations when my Gage reaches 3/4 mark. My car is new so it isn’t quit broke in and I was getting around 32-35 mpg.

I was going through the salt flats and wondering if I was going to make it out of there alive. I’m watching my gas Gage drop and the only thing in front of me is more interstate. When I finally saw a gas sign off in the distance, I realized I  yes, there is a God.

Driving a long distance you notice the same people. Mostly truck drivers. I pass them, leave then miles behind, stop and get gas and end up passing them again. Crips, how much gas does a semi hold anyway? It was getting a little embarrassing passing the same guys over and over.

The country is very brown from Utah to Nevada. I see nothing growing. I’m wondering to myself, what do you people do to contribute to the rest of the country?

The wind in some parts were pretty wild. I saw a a camper flipped over from the wind. I had to grip the steering wheel and just hang on.

There is a couple tunnels that I had to go into. One was fine. It had lights inside. The other, not so fine. No lights inside. Imagine, your in the bright sunlight when suddenly your going through a unlit tunnel. Not good.

I never been to a place that practically has no humidity.  Here in IL, the humidity rarely goes below 50% so even if its in the 70’s but the humidity may be in the 90’s it feels crappy.

In sparks, the temps in the day time reached into the 90’s but with the low humidity I never sweated. Very weird. I felt like I was a human magnifying glass and sun was burning right through me.  I was tired all the time. At night the temps would drop into the 60’s and the wind picked up. I slept like a baby every night. Normally I toss and turn. In Nevada I was falling asleep within 15 min. of my head hitting the pillow.

I never felt dirty. My glasses would get that oily stuff on them up near the top where they hit your eyebrows but not in Nevada. I was only having to clean them once a day.

Every morning I would wake up in a panic knowing I still had that drive back. It almost made me sick every time I thought about it.

I did enjoy myself there though. Went to Carson City way up in the mountains, went to lake Tahoe and took a ride on the tour boat while one and only Mark Twain  explained the history of the area.

On the way back, I knew what to expect so was prepared. I filled up before hitting the salt flats. I had gave my car its first oil change in Sparks and noticed the more I drove the better millage I was getting. I ended up getting a little over 40mpg. It was much better. I never reached panic mode all the way back.

Again, Salt Lake City REALLY needs to rethink the interstate markings. I was being double careful this time. Everything was going perfect. There even I-E 80 markings painted on the road and I made sure I was on it and thought to myself I got it this time. I’m actually going to make it when suddenly my GPS was “re-calculating” again.  The difference this time was I didnt end up in Salt Lake City hell and was able to get on the right lane.

I think they should have gas stations at all rest stops. Or, if your going to put a sign up that says “GAS” put it near the interstate. Don’t make people get off the interstate and end up driving 3 miles into some town or city looking for the gas station. Your not going to trick me into stopping to shop. I’m getting my gas and blowing your town.

When I hit Nebraska on the way back a deer shot out in front of me. It was around 1am. Now I’m paranoid as hell. I’m trying to keep my eye on the road and now off the road looking for any deer who seems to think the grass is greener on the other side. This went on for an hr when I decided enough. I’m stopping at the next rest stop excpet of course the next rest stop was parking only. If you needed to take a leak, I guess you do it on the ground.

As I’m looking for a rest stop that has a building I saw a comet. I thought for sure that thing was going to hit the ground.  It looked like it burned up not more then 50ft from the ground. I found my rest stop and slept for a few hrs before moving on.

About the middle of Nebraska I noticed the humidity was getting higher. I had my car window down the whole time since Nevada but now I’m getting the crud feeling so use my a/c.

When I got into Iowa it was like a whole new world. All that green. All them cows. All them farms and corn. Again, what do the people out west contribute? Dirt? Sand?

I stopped into one of their beautiful rest areas and they had a map with a “You are here” on it! My heart sunk. I’m looking at it thinking, holy crap. I have that far to go? Holy crap.crap crap crap.

Everything is going smoothly till I hit Iowa City. I see it in the distance. Its huge. Storm clouds. I’m right in the middle of the city when it hits. It poured so hard I could barely see anything. The cars around me don’t seem to be fazed and still speed.  I can’t pull over till it passes because there is nowhere to pull over.  I hold on and hold my breath till we get out of it.

After leaving Iowa city, not much happen. I just can’t believe how big that state is.  I finally made it home to IL. Never will I do that again…I don’t think.

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