I got home from my 16 hour overnighter at 6:30am. Our original plan was to leave for our Nebraska adventure at 7am, and I didn't want to get too far away from that, since it's 500 miles to Milford, NE from Southern Illinois. So I laid down with Lori for about 45 minutes, and then we both got up, packed up a few things and headed out the door. We picked up the car hauler trailer, hooked it up to the truck and got on the road just before 10am.
I drove, because the shifting is so quirky on the truck that Lori avoids it whenever she can. She was the copilot, navigator, beverage procurer, and in-flight entertainment. We told stories and jokes, sang along with the radio, admired the minimalist Midwestern scenery, and generally enjoyed the warm, sunny springtime day.
We got to Kansas City at about 4:00, after a 300 mile stretch of farm fields and billboards. I think the only cool thing we saw between St. Louis and Kansas City was the Elvis Is Alive! museum. We decided that we don't want to live in Central Missouri.
Kansas City was slightly more than halfway and the point where we stopped going west and turned north, which was a big psychological boost for us. We had a moment of unwelcome anxiety when the truck began sputtering and losing power, but it turned out to be the last of the old bad gas working itself through the carburetor, and after a brief stop to check it out and add carburetor cleaner and virgin gas, we were on our way again.
We drove and drove; Up through Western Missouri, then Iowa, and finally we hit Nebraska at about 7. We got to Milford about 9pm, found our guy's house, pulled the truck in and lowered the ramps on the trailer.
The place was roughly comparable to Dante's innermost ring of hell. It was apparently a working pig farm and reeked so horribly of pig manure that I felt a little dizzy. Instantly when we stepped out of the truck, 100 million mosquitoes landed and got down to the business of sucking us dry. The yard was littered with car parts, yard implements, boats on trailers, and those rusty metal lumps that always seem to appear in the yards of men who cut the sleeves off their t-shirts. Various dogs on chains were barking that hoarse, strangled barking that dogs have when they spend their whole lives on chains in the yard.
The owner of that Little Yard of Horrors was a large, friendly man named Aaron, who was congenially oblivious to all of it. The pigs, the mosquitoes, the barking dogs, the metal lumps...no problem. He helped us load the Jeep onto the car hauler, signed the title over in his garage (tastefully decorated with more metal lumps and large Confederate flags) shook my hand and said good-bye. The entire transaction took less than 15 minutes.
We pulled out of his driveway with the smell of pig manure wafting through the truck vents, scratching at our mosquito bites and pretty much done in for the day. We decided to head back as far as Lincoln, NE, find a hotel and sleep. At that point, I'd been awake for 40 hours straight, and I was feeling a little fragile.
We drove back to Lincoln and found a Hampton Inn. I showered off the road grime, pig stench and moquito bites and hit the bed around 11:30. Lori stayed up to get online for a bit, and then went to bed about an hour behind me.
To be continued...