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2nd Travel Day - Thursday May 29, 2014

Current time: 12am CDT (May 30, 2014)
Today was another travel day and another day without seeing significant weather, but that certainly did not mean it was any less interesting.
We left the Comfort Inn in Fremont, Indiana at about 14:30z (8:30am EST) to perfectly blue skies and mild temperatures and began the trek westward in hopes to make it near the Nebraska/South Dakota for Saturday.

It is not long before we switch over to Central time, which was the first time I had actually driven through a time zone. Sunny skies soon turn overcast again as we begin to experience the influence of Lake Michigan out in western Indiana and eastern Illinois.

 Once we passed the influence of Lake Michigan the skies begin to clear up and the temperatures warmed up as well. The weather was improving again once we were nearing the Mississippi River (the border of Illinois and Iowa). We cross the mighty Mississippi at 17:48z (12:48pm CDT) and are now in Iowa.  
Iowa was not as rural as I had expected, but don’t get me wrong, there is certainly a lot of vast land along I 80 in Iowa. We passed Brooklyn, Iowa, which reminded me a bit of home because of the name, but the similarities ended there. The town was a very small one and the population is apparently just shy of 1,500 people. We saw some beautiful wind farms scattered throughout Iowa, some of which made for great pictures and completely took my breath way.

A bit east of Newton, Iowa I saw some towns with big brand names like Pella (which is where all the windows in my house come from) and a town called Kellogg (not actually related to the cereal brand who's HQ is in Michigan).

An observation we took at 20:08z (3:08pm CDT) reveals a mild temperature of 84F and a dew point of 64F.
At about 20:20z (3:20pm CDT) we begin to drive through Des Monies passing the first “skyline” I’ve seen since leaving New York City and we also passed an Adventureland amusement park. I got a bit of humor out of the town called Urbandale since it was still rather rural.

Thanks to the vast fields throughout our drive in the Midwest today, we were able to see some very distant (all the way from Missouri!) thunderstorms “bubble up” and top off. We saw one storm that had already top off begin to dissipate which was very interesting.
We get a quick bite to eat at a Subway (my first time eating there) and then we were back on the road heading for Nebraska. We then have dinner just east of Omaha, Nebraska at a Fazoli's and I spotted an old car with some pretty decent hail damage on it which we all seemed to agree was pretty interesting. 

Then we were off to Nebraska with a long drive remaining before we reach our destination for the night at a hotel in North Platte, Nebraska.
After some trivia games and a lot of driving, we made a gas stop at Grand lsland, Nebraska. The outside of the rest stop was very colorful, just like some of the people we met there.  Inside the rest stop was pretty nice with an arcade, a large store, and bathrooms that were very odd.

Photocredit to Claudia Pukropski 

The stop in Grand Island was the final one for today. We drove into the night, which got a bit scary without any lights on the road or off the roads for that matter and eventually made it to North Platte, Nebraska. 

Once we got into the hotel, a few of us decided to drive about 5 minutes south of the city to get a good view of the night sky. I got a few pictures but they do no justice for what I saw. The sky was absolutely beautiful. I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many stars in my entire life. I saw a shooting star after only being out there for a few minutes. It was pretty incredible and definitely an experience I won’t soon forget.

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