So, Day 5 (Friday) was always going to be the longest day. We were leaving Omaha, NE and the endpoint was just west of Cleveland, OH. Yeah, that's twelve solid hours of driving. The longest driving day of the entire trip. I did plan a couple of stops along the way to which I was looking forward, but nothing like Antelope Canyon or Mesa Verde National Park.
I was so sick of driving. Fortunately, my mom volunteered to drive across most of Thursday and the first few hours on Friday. I was so grateful to take a break from that!!
Our first stop of the day was approximately 2.5 hours from Omaha in Des Moines, IA to see one of my very best friends in the whole world. This was an especially fun stop because not only did I get to see Layne, but Maggie also got to meet Layne's playful yellow labrador. It was a wonderful visit, but too soon it was time to hit the road again because we still had a long ways to go.
|Back on the road after stopping in Des Moines with a new toy from Aunt Layne!|
After another two hours of driving, we arrived at our second stop of the day. I know, I know....if we keep stopping like this, we'll never make it all the way to Cleveland. However, this was a very important stop.
It was time for a little travel companion switcheroo: my mom needed to head back to Ottumwa =( and my dad would be joining me for the rest of the trip! I really wish that both my parents could have been on the entire trip, but there was definitely not room in the car for all three of us plus Maggie. In addition, this way they both didn't take tons of time off from work.
After my mom hit the road, my dad and I were off. He's my hero because he drove the whole way from the switching point to Cleveland (approximately 8.5 hours). I'm especially grateful because this wasn't exactly a fun day of hiking and sightseeing like the first few my mom and I had. And, there wasn't an exciting end point with family and an adorable 2 year old. In fact, there was only one "tourist site" at which I planned to stop on Friday, the Herbert Hoover National Historic Site in West Branch, Iowa, the birthplace of the only president born in Iowa.
I'd visited here a looooong time ago when I was in either 5th or 6th Grade, but when I read that you were allowed to walk dogs around the site, I knew this would be the perfect stop to get Maggie out so she could stretch her legs (me too). The site consists of a replica town that gives a sense of what West Branch, Iowa was like at the time that President Hoover was born, including a blacksmith shop similar to the one his father owned, a schoolhouse, and the cottage in which he was born.
|the cottage in which he was born|
As part of the National Historic Site, the National Park Service reconstructed 76 acres of tallgrass prairie, which used to cover the state of Iowa before it was covered in corn and soybean fields.
There are also trails that wander through the prairie grass on which dogs are allowed, so we walked a bit further. I really enjoyed soaking up the sunlight and remembering/enjoying the beauty of the state in which I born and raised.
|my dad said this was a weed, but I love the yellow color|
Other than the stop at the Hoover Historical Site, there really isn't that much to relay about Day 5 of the road trip. Just a lot of driving and some bad traffic around Chicago (surprise, surprise).
We did drive by the World's Largest Truckstop, which is located on I-80 in Iowa, east of West Branch. This really isn't anything of note to those of you in Iowa reading this, but maybe some of the non-Iowa readers will find it humorous. No, we didn't stop. I've stopped there before and it is, not surprisingly, underwhelming.