Shortly after the total eclipse concluded it was time to hit the road. Watching the moon continue its path across the sun is somewhat anti-climatic and not all that exciting. My plan was to retrace my route and spend the night in Council Bluffs, IA where I had a reservation at a Hampton Inn. I was in my car and queued up to leave at 12:10 p.m.
It would take an hour to travel about 100 yards out of the field that I had spent the night in. It took another hour to complete the 1.2 miles out of Glendo. There is only one path ultimately leading out of Glendo onto I-25 and all of the thousands of people in the area had to make it through this funnel. To further exacerbate the issue the vast majority of the people were from the Denver area (or Colorado in general) and needed to head south. The interstate was already moving at a crawl with people coming out of Casper so it was difficult for anyone to move.
My original plan was to take I-25 south back to I-80 to take me across Nebraska. I would have actually joined up with US-26 which I had taken from Scotts Bluff yesterday. That maybe 20 mile stretch could have taken hours based on this report. When reaching the Interstate entrance I therefore decided to abandon that plan and would instead take I-25 North, then take Wyoming Highway 59 to Gillette where I could pick up I-90 and head east across South Dakota. I think I made the right choice as I made my way north, the southbound lanes were bumper to bumper, stop and go, for 14 miles with steady traffic coming out of Casper for the 28 miles until I exited onto Hwy 59. Yikes!
I was now completely winging it. Should I stop somewhere and camp or get a hotel, or just keep driving. I considered stopping in the Black Hills, but it was only about 6 p.m. and that would mean not getting home until late on Tuesday. I kept driving. Was going strong all the way to Sioux Falls which I reached about 1 a.m. Made it another two hours, to Blue Earth, when I decided I had to stop and rest. Pulled into a rest area and got settled into the back seat. Didn’t sleep real well, but must have got a little bit as my alarm woke me at 6 a.m. I felt considerably better and got behind the wheel again – only two hours to go.
Stopped in Faribault for some breakfast and to also make sure I didn’t end up in morning rush hour traffic. After breakfast it was back on the road for the final hour. Pulled into my driveway a little after 9 a.m. What a trip! Have to say I’d do it all over again!