Another Fourth of July without any celebrations

Back home, we had scheduled today's trip to be the longest of our drives this year, and it actually proved to be rather long, but later on in the vacation, we got to drive even longer. We were now heading south, and today we were going from Wall to Colorado Springs. Along the way we were going through Nebraska, the second state on this trip, that I had never visited before. The first was South Dakota. Tim had never been to Washington either, so it was his third new state on the trip.

From Wall we drove west though. The fastest way from Wall to Colorado Springs was through Rapid City, that we had passed the day before. So we took then the interstate to Rapid City. Here we changed to South Dakota State Route 79 south. Because of a warning from the car that maintenance was necessary, we had to turn back after about 20 miles and head to the nearest Hertz office which was at Rapid City Airport ,to get it fixed, but after about an hour and a half, we were back in Hot Springs. Hot Springs is a small town, where there are some hot springs that pours out 88 degrees hot water year round, but we didn't spent time there though, as we were already late because of the car. Hot Springs is known as the hottest place in South Dakota with an average temperature over the year of 48 degrees. When we passed the town around 11.30 am it was already 98. In Hot Springs we switched to U.S. Route 385, which we took the rest of the way to the Nebraska border, and through this state. Nebraska was - at least the part, that we passed through - nothing much to talk about. "Boring prairie" or at least monotonous prairie with some small round grassy hills in some places. Sometimes there were cultivated fields, but then back to prairie. The only thing that changed was all the combines and other agricultural machinery as we had to drive behind. That excited us a bit, but not the way we had wanted as it caused futher delay to our already delayed schedule.

4th of July in Colorado Springs.Outside the village, Sidney, not far from the Colorado border we passed Interstate Highway 80. Here we visited a gas station, and got refilled as well as the car. This was in the middle of Nowhere and a sign even announced "You are nowhere", which was the way we had felt through most of Nebraska. After refueling we continued, on Nebraska Road 19, which at the border changed its name to Colorado Road 113. Just before the border we passed Calvary (Golgatha), or at least a hill with three empty crosses on top. In Sterling, Colorado we returned to the interstate, this time I-76, which we followed towards Denver. A while before we reached the city we met a ring road around town and a sign announced that this road would be a shortcut to Colorado Springs. It turned out to be a toll road, and at all exits, there were toll booths, where the signs were telling us "EZ-Pass only, no cash." As we didn't have an EZ-Pass, we were not sure what to do, but when we had to leave the toll road to change to I-25 south, there was no toll booth at that particular junction.

From there we only had to go about 50 miles further south to Colorado Springs. Colorado Springs was another place, where we had booked a room from home because of the Fourth of July celebrations that we expected to take place. It turned out that the hotel was right next to the interstate and 500 yards from downtown. After getting our room we went out to get something to eat, and when we got back to the hotel, Tim went to the room while I drove down to downtown, to enjoy the Fourth of July celebrations... - However no celebrations took place at all. It turned out that fireworks were banned in Colorado due to a six weeks long drought. Apparently there were no other forms of celebration, at least not downtown, because even though I walked around town for almost an hour, I saw nothing that looked like celebrations. It was 8.30 pm when I got there, so the celebration may have taken place at an earlier time, I don't know. The closest I got was some partly dressed up, partly undressed young girls who stood outside of something that looked like a nightclub and apparently were waiting to enter. Instead, I walked around and looked at some of the buildings in the neighborhood, but I had only walked around for about 30 minutes when it started to rain. It was raining so much, that I had to seek shelter under a canopy for 10 minutes. When I went back to the car, I once more passed the place where the young girls been earlier, but now they were gone, so maybe the nightclub had opened, as it was around 9.30.

Before I got back to the hotel, the rain had stopped, so we decided to go for a little evening stroll to the other side of the street, partly to enjoy the view of the mountains, partly to visit a 7 -11 where we could buy some fruit for our cooler. Eventually we went back to the hotel, where I sent another e-mail to the family back home, and Tim updated his Facebook profile with new pictures from the trip - something he did regularly along the way.

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