Travel Day 3 — Out of the East

Aerial Bear
2 min readJan 24, 2021


…and into the snow!

We are under the “W” in Iowa

We’re outside Des Moines having travelled about 450 miles. Much better speeds today 60–65 mostly, accounted for by flatter, straighter roads, less traffic and a little more confidence from the driver. But the day didn’t start out that way…

Leaving Angola, we decided to continue west on state route 20 which took us through a beautiful mix of woods and horse farms. We also saw quite a few Amish buggies, which surprised me. I know better, but somehow I always revert to thinking that they all live in Pennsylvania. They had some amazing horses, obviously well kept.

The forest was mostly oak, maple, and hickory, but I saw a stand of weeping willows too, looking like spun gold in their winter foliage.

After about an hour we connected with route 80 and started to make serious time until we hit Chicago, which was stressful because of heavy traffice and worn our road surfaces. It takes quite a while to get through this, but onc eyou emerge you are in Illinois farmland which is still woodsy and rolling.

This continues through Iowa where you begin to realize that you are doing more rolling up hills than down as you rise onto North America’s central plateau.

The skies open up as well, and we could see for miles. This was really soothing in spite of the fact that we could see the clouds lowering out on the horizon. A weather check confirmed that a low over Colorado was gearing up to create snow over Ioa and Nebraska late in the day. We started researching alternate stopping points and found several.

Crossing the Mississippi a couple hours before sunset we were treated to a breathtaking sunset with a sun dog hanging just south o the high way for nearly an hour.

We stopped at I-80 the World’s Largest Truck Stop, just to reaffirm me basic impracticality.

Night fell and about one hundred miles from Des Moines, the snow started. It was fine for most of the drive, but for the last thirty miles it started to accumulate, making the road hard to see. We slowed down, made the exit safely, and drove the three miles to the camp on unplowed road at about two miles an hour. #safetybear

It’s Sunday morning as I write, and we are assessing our options for the day. It seems like our best plan is to get going asap, and try to make it into Wyoming where we’ll be west of the snow system. North Platte could get 4–8 inches tonight, so we do NOT want to be in the middle of that. I’d like to write more, but I need to pack up and get rolling.

Thanks for reading! I am touched that folks are checking in on us.



Aerial Bear

I am a bear living among humans, and have gotten so good at it that people rarely notice. I am a husband, step-father, author, musician, and much else.