Road Trip Report: Day 7, July 18

‎Well, that was different.

I started the day with a quick visit to the Jasper Winery in Des Moines, purely because I chanced upon a list of wineries in the hotel directory. I really liked the wines I tasted, but they can’t ship to Canada and any wines I took with me would get roasted in my trunk over the remainder of the trip. Doh.

Then it was off to Nebraska, with the top up because it was yet another scorching hot day. I stopped for lunch at a highway diner, and stopped for a quick nap around 2pm. Years ago I learned that a 15-minute break can enable me to drive for hours, so when I start feeling sleepy, I always look for an opportunity to do so. Keep this in mind, because it’s a key factor in today’s story.

I got to Kearney, Nebraska, shortly after 5pm, and that’s when things got interesting, because I couldn’t find the campsite. And to make matters worse, my phone didn’t have a connection. So, I made my way into town and found a mall, where some cell kiosk employees confirmed my suspicions: AT&T appears to have forsaken Nebraska.

‎With this in mind, I decided to just keep driving, because I wasn’t tired at all and didn’t see a reason to stick around if I wasn’t going to camp. But first, I washed my car in one of those drive-in self-wash bays, because the northern Ontario moths baked onto my car’s grille had been grossing me out for awhile.

At this point, I really didn’t have any semblance of a plan. I just figured that I’d see how far I could go. As I drove, I hatched an idea: either I’d find a random campground off of the highway, or I’d just pull over in one of the rest stops and sleep in my car. I even got the bright idea to stop at Walmart and get some food supplies in case I ended up camping.

And then I drove. And drove. And drove. And as I got closer and closer to Denver, it became clear that my plan should probably change again. And that I’d driven something like 1,000km today.

At one point I pulled off to get gas and decided to check into a motel. However, there were no vacancies, which seemed strange. ‎So I kept going.

At this point, I’d been driving from 12pm Central Time to 11pm Mountain Time, with maybe an hour and a half of stoppage mixed in, and my GPS was saying that I’d arrive in Denver shortly after midnight. So, I abandoned my camp/car sleep plan.

When my phone got a 4G signal again, I tried to pull up, but it kept freezing when I tired to get hotel prices for tonight. Also strange. Maybe it was due to it being so close to midnight? Couldn’t say. So when I saw a sign for three hotels at the next exit at Thornton, I decided to try there.

And that’s when I discovered that every hotel in the area is fully booked due to a convention that apparently ends tomorrow. Thus explaining why I can’t get a room.

So, you might ask. Where am I now? Well, the lovely old lady at the Hampton Inn said that I could sleep in my car in the parking lot, which is what other people who came to her tonight are doing. And seeing as that’s reasonably close to one of my earlier plans, I took her up on the offer.

Yep, I’m sleeping in the Miata. And I just wrote all of this update on my BlackBerry Z10, because last night I figured out how to upload to my website from it. So at least that part of the plan is working.

It’s a funny thing. If I had shown up in Denver tomorrow as I originally thought would be the case, I would never have had this amusing experience. If AT&T had service I’m Nebraska, I might have stayed. ‎If not for the 15-minute nap, I might not have gotten this close to Denver. And so on and so on.

And I kinda like it.