Midwest Road Trip

Colorado → Nebraska → Iowa → Illinois → Indiana → Louisville

Two weeks ago, Matthew and I took a road trip through the Midwest. Although it was a road trip through many of “The Forgotten States,” I still feel that it was a road trip worth documenting.

As part of Matthew’s bank’s work program, he has to complete rotations in different departments, and one of those rotations is in a regional office, which is why we ended up in Louisville, Kentucky – home to his new office for the next few months. Although the objective of the trip was not our favorite thing (to move Matthew way too far away from me), that didn’t stop us from making the most of the drive from Denver to Louisville.

Since we already stopped in Kansas City and St. Louis on our way from Georgia to Denver a little over a year ago, we decided to take another route, which was a bit longer but much more appealing to us, as we’d never been to Nebraska or Iowa, or what I like to refer to as “The Forgotten States.”

After researching these states a bit more, I realized that this name wasn’t far from the truth. According to Thrillist, both Nebraska and Iowa are a part of the “Least Popular States to Visit,” which isn’t entirely surprising. However, we had a great experience spending time in these states.

Our first stop was Omaha, Nebraska where we stayed at the Hyatt Place right next to the Old Market downtown, easily Omaha’s most lively, historic neighborhood.
Honestly, there wasn’t much to do in the city, but we were only there for a night, so we found plenty of things to fill our time. We walked through pretty parks to reach the Missouri River, where we went across the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge. Then, we met up with one of Matthew’s co-workers for a drink at Brickway Brewery & Distillery, and then walked around Old Market, where I happily convinced convince Matthew to try Indian food at Himalayas (we split butter chicken, garlic naan & soup ~ sadly not pictured), which we both agreed was delicious.

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The next day, we ate our complimentary breakfast at the hotel (which was actually really great), and walked around the city a bit. It was extremely windy so our walk didn’t last long, but we were pretty much ready to leave anyways. Omaha was a lot of fun for a night, but I don’t think we’ll be going back anytime soon.

Then, we were off to our next stop: Davenport, Iowa.
Because this was a road trip, everything wasn’t expected to go perfectly. So, we weren’t entirely surprised when we got a flat tire as we made our way to Des Moines. Luckily, Matthew happened to have 4 tires in his car (which he bought about a year ago..don’t ask) and he knows just about everything about cars, including how to calmly change a tire in 38-degree weather with a pretty crappy carjack in under 20 minutes.

DesMoines_Pho3After our flat tire incident, we stopped in Des Moines to get lunch, and may I say that Des Moines is pretty dang cool for one thing in particular: their skywalks! For a place that gets so chilly during the wintertime, these skywalks seem to be lifesavers – I know they were for us while we were walking around in the biting wind. To warm up, we got pho in the city (completely forgot the name of the spot) and happily ate every bite before continuing our drive to Davenport.

In Davenport, we stayed in a fancy historic hotel, Hotel Blackhawk, which was surprisingly inexpensive (not only because of Matthew’s work discount, but also simply because Davenport is such a small town).
Despite being a small town, Davenport seemed to have a lot of great restaurants, plus it was riverside, lending for great views and an awesome path along the Mississippi River. We walked across the Davenport Skybridge (which doesn’t go over the water for some reason) and then grabbed dinner at Front Street Brewery, Iowa’s oldest brewpub, where we split spinach artichoke dip, along with baked mac ‘n cheese with a side of brussels sprouts, and of course a beer.

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After a fun night in Davenport, it was time to make the last long stretch to Louisville. We passed through Peoria, Illinois, Indianapolis, Indiana and more cities in between, before finally ending in Louisville.

Overall, I think my favorite part of the trip (aside from reaching each stop) was the difference in terrain. With each mile we drove, the scenery changed entirely. Of course eastern Colorado and Nebraska were flat and full of windmills..not entirely exciting. But then, Iowa had rolling hills with endless cornfields and farmland, along with many bridges crossing rivers – truly more beautiful than I thought it would be. Then, the trees really began to appear in Indiana and Louisville – the large, full trees we’ve always been so familiar with from the southeast. And the leaves! Fall was still very much present in Kentucky, a state that shows off the colors in a bright & magnificent way.

Although Kentucky is far from my favorite place right now (as it has taken my best friend for the next few months), I’ll admit that it’s definitely an interesting state ~ one that I’m looking forward to spending time exploring when I visit Matthew throughout the future months.

More adventures to come!

frugal & free,
Claire

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