|Thu, 28 Aug: A long and rainy day...
Time to move along. We had a great time at the Methodist Cove CoE but the spot in which we are parked is reserved as of this afternoon. Besides which, we still have about 450 miles to cover to reach Box Elder, and we are due in tomorrow.
So, we got things ready for the road and pulled out of our site a bit after eight. We passed the Tarkin's coach so stopping for hugs and good-byes was obligatory. We'll see them in October at RoVer's Roost so it won't be too long.
We connected the car in a parking area and hit the road at 0845. We retraced our route thru the town of Alma to US 183 and headed north. Forty miles later, thru a persistent drizzle, we pulled into a Pilot/Flying J to top off the diesel tank. While diesel is no bargain in Nebraska, it much more expensive in South Dakota.
The station was right on I 80, so after filling the tank we took the "super slab" west to the US 26 exit some 130 miles away. We swapped drivers at a convenient rest stop and used another for our lunch break.
US 26 is a nice two lane federal road that runs northwest from I 90 to US 385 near the town of Bridgeport. The run parallels the Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad main line, and we had a ball train spotting the entire route. We were especially impressed with the BNSF marshalling yard in Alliance. Railroading is big business in these parts.
US 26 follows the rolling contours of western Nebraska. Our engine analyzer has a histogram that monitors vital engine functions. The plots for engine load and turbo boost pressure scribed an almost perfect sine wave as we alternately climbed and coasted. Alas, it didn't do very much for our fuel mileage as we barely achieved 7½ miles per gallon.
As we neared US 385 we ran into some rain cells that kept the road and the windshield pretty wet. Fortunately, traffic was quite light so the rain was more of an inconvenience (especially for the photographer) than a problem.
Once on US 385 it was an easy (yet wet) forty-some mile run to Chadron Nebraska where we stopped for the nite at the Wal*Mart. The heat wave is finally east of us (plus, we are now at 3,300' altitude) so the low was forecast to be in the fifties. Sure enough, we had a very comfy nite without any need for air conditioning.
We arrived at Chadron at 1615 (CDT) after covering 347 miles. It was a long day but we are now a mere 100 miles or so from our destination. We fell in bed at eight (mountain time) and fell asleep almost as soon as our heads hit our pillows.