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Driving Chgo- Denver,things to see on way, where to stop


May 28th, 2013, 07:11 PM
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Driving Chgo- Denver,things to see on way, where to stop

Will be traveling with my two college roommates (class of '73 so we are not real young!) from Chicago to Denver to visit one of our children. Plan on taking two days to drive there and looks like I-80 will be the way to go. We are planning on stopping to spend the night - looks like Omaha is a little less than half way or could stop at Lincoln which is almost exactly half way or even Grand Island. Any suggestions on where we should stop, anything special to see - doubt that we will feel like museums as we will be tired. Anything of historical note that is a can't miss along the way? Would appreciate any advice as to where to stop and what to see enroute.

Will post separately about things to do in Denver. Thanks!
Buckeyeknitter is offline  
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May 28th, 2013, 08:48 PM
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You are at 14.5 hours or 1,004 miles via I-80. If you were to go down to I-70 you could go through St. Louis and see its sites and also Kansas City and see its sites. That would put you at 1145 miles and 16.5 hours.

We did this trip and went I-70. All we saw in St. Louis was the arch; we did not tour there. We stayed in KC for a couple of days. We all really loved the Truman Library and Museum in nearby Independence, and our hosts also drove us by some of the historic homes/buildings in Independence. We also really enjoyed the Kansas City Royals game.
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May 29th, 2013, 03:52 AM
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I agree with Five--maybe take I70, at least to see the Arch. You will find that the driving is VERY easy and you will also gain an hour so you may be able to drive further each day than you think.
I have driven the I70 route often, and while there may be sightseeing along the way, not a whole lot.
If your time is limited, you may want to just spend it in Denver where there is lots to do.
There are also many motels along that route so making reservations may not be necessary--just stop when you are ready.
KC does have BBQ!!
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May 29th, 2013, 08:00 AM
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Spent a couple days in Lincoln recently. It's "Haymarket" area has bars/ restaurants. I may have missed when you are going, but you will want to avoid football weekends. If in the summer, the Saltdogs is a local baseball team, with a stadium accessed (by a long walk) from Haymarket.

The capitol building in Lincoln is unique and well worth a visit. The U of N campus (also close to Haymarket) has what I would call a natural history museum with a Mammoth display that is impressive for the relatively small size.

The university also has an art museum that I have heard good comments about BUT was literally empty of art when I visited it. (the idea was to show off the building as art, but IMHO not the best idea.)
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May 29th, 2013, 08:50 AM
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Stop in Sidney NE and take a walk through
Cabelas. http://www.cabelas.com/stores/store_...p?pageName=001 I'm sure you will find something there that will be helpful while you are in Colorado.
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May 29th, 2013, 10:39 AM
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FWIW: there is a Cabelas on the west side of KC if you go that route instead.
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May 29th, 2013, 05:05 PM
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We drove to Lincoln last summer and the Davenport to Omaha part of this route in April. Things we found interesting:

Moline IL - John Deere Pavilion - I haven't been there yet. However, it's been on my list of things to see for a while.

Walcott IA - world's largest truck stop. Not sure if it really is, but it well could be. There is a nice food court, large gift shop, and some neat displays inside. There is also a trucking museum behind the truck stop, but we didn't take time to visit it.

Iowa City - University of Iowa - there's always a few things to see at a major university

West Branch IA - Hoover National Historic Site - very nice museum and some other points of interest.

Des Moines IA - state capital - Zombie Burger Restaurant

Omaha NE - Mormon Trail Center - very interesting displays even for non-Mormons, downtown has a visitor's center (they opened early when we tried the door about 10 minutes before they opened.

Lincoln NE - another state capital and another Big 10 University. U of Nebraska has a great ice cream shop.

Kearney NE - Great Platte River Road Archway - museum built over the interstate (I haven't been there, but have heard that it is
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May 29th, 2013, 05:06 PM
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forgot to finish my sentence:

Kearney NE - Great Platte River Road Archway - museum built over the interstate (I haven't been there, but have heard that it is very nice.)
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May 30th, 2013, 09:47 AM
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I think you should stick with your original plan of I-80 through Illinois, Iowa, and mostly Nebraska; and then I-76 to Denver, with an overnight stop in Lincoln. It's the shortest and fastest. BUT, you'll have little time for sight seeing within your 2 day time frame. And that's too bad, because it's the most interesting route you could take, partly because it follows the route of the old Oregon Trail. Here are some of the worthwhile things to see, not including Omaha, if you should decide to add some time to your trip. I recognize that I am duplicating some of the excellent suggestions made in the preceding posts.

Between Omaha and Lincoln is the Strategic Air and Space Museum.


Continue to Lincoln and visit the State capitol. This is not your stale old design with a dome etc. It's one of a kind. Do not miss it. Read about it here.


Then go south to the Homestead National Monument just a little to the west of Beatrice, which BTW is pronounced bee-A-triss, with the accent on the second syllable. Why? I dunno. It just is. The locals will appreciate it if you say it "right".


Next, go back north to I-80 and head west. Visit Harold Warp's Pioneer Village. You will have to carefully plan your time there, because it's a big complex and you could be there all day unless you skip some of the stuff of lesser interest to you.


Get back on I-80 and go west a short distance to "The Great Platte River Road Archway". This is not only a "must see", it's a "can't avoid seeing", because it spans the highway! I have not been there because it didn't exist in the 60s, But several of my older grandchildren have, and they recommend it.


Here is a "must read" about the 100th meridian. You can read it any time, like right now as you read this post. You will cross it as you pass the town of Cozad. It's the kind of thing that geeks like me find interesting. If it's convenient, you could visit the town of Cozad and the 100th meridian museum and sign. Not "must sees".


Continue on I-80 to Ogallala and branch off on US 26. (This shows as a scenic route in my Rand McNally road atlas.) Go to the famous Chimney Rock.


Then it's on to Scottsbluff.


After that, head south on State 71 to Colorado and find your way to Denver

And an afterthought. You didn't divulge when you are traveling, but if you will be going through Iowa between August 8-18, you might want to stop in at the Iowa State Fair. It's a biggie.


Also, my profile shows that I am a Southern Californian. But I was born and grew up in Chicago, and lived 3 years in the mid 60s in Lincoln, NE.
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May 30th, 2013, 03:18 PM
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Gretchen you need to slow down. Your a flying by everything There is far more to see along I-80 than I-70 especially after you leave the Kansas City area. A long haul of nothingness.

Unfortunately you really don't have time to see anything. It is a solid two day drive. Depending on your timing (Omaha around 5pm) Lincoln is a good stop with a lot motel choices along I-80.

Dbdurand did lay it out very well. He hit some jewels. I would add a couple of things. Just off I-80 at Iowa City is the Amanna Colonies. Just 10 miles off I-80 and one of our favorite places to stop for lunch but it sucks up an hour and half.

North Platte has the Wm Cody, Buffalo Bill, ranch where his traveling Wild West show wintered each year. If interested in railroads, the Union Pacific yards are the largest in the US and very interesting. Three humps operating 24/7. That could suck up half a day but the tour is worth it.

The arch at Kearney is worth the stop. Very well done.

House of Yesteryear in Hastings.

A quick hit that you can do quickly - Oli's Big Game bar in Paxton west of North Platte. Get a beer, it is a unique place in the middle of nowhere. Long, long story.

At Cozad the is an old car museum that is fun, right along the interstate. Gothenburg has the Pony Express museum. Both are hour or so quick hits.

Rest stops in Nebraska are very nice and frequent. Once you hit Colorado along I-76 they thin out and are now associated with towns. The Julesberg stop is nice and worth a visit. A live tourist information person is there during the day.
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May 30th, 2013, 05:13 PM
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Fmpden--probably so. I only go to Denver to "get" there, and antique along the way.
Our OP did ask for suggetionst of what to see, so I would also wait for that.
And I would also like to know what their overall plan is. I could "maybe" just drive through for the ability to see things in the Denver area.
There are MANY ways to plan a trip.
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May 30th, 2013, 05:14 PM
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I suppose the moral of the story is to ask on a travel board or from those who have been there before assuming an area is safe or not safe.
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May 30th, 2013, 05:15 PM
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Oops - I meant to post that under another subject line.
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