So there it is – a total of 2,696 miles in five and a half days. It cost me around $160 in accommodation and a further $100 for fuel, but was definitely a lot of fun. All that remained now was to get back to Chicago. I decided to head north to San Francisco along U.S. Highway 101 and across the Golden Gate Bridge to link up with Interstate 80. Just a few miles north of there are the giant Redwoods, but I missed those. However, there is a cross-section of a Redwood stump mounted at the north end of the Golden Gate Bridge. Instead, I battled my way through a snow storm over the Donner Pass in the Sierra Nevada mountain range and into the state of Nevada. A visit to the casinos in Reno, then on across the desert into Utah. The landscape in Nevada and Utah is definitely worth a mention – some scary looking stuff and as for the Great Salt Lake Desert, here you have over 80 miles of dead straight road right through the heart of it, so check your fuel level before you leave…
At some point half way through Wyoming, I took a slight detour north-east and up to Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. This is worth a visit – $5 will get you a car parking permit (good for a year) and a view of this impressive monument. Four presidents – Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln – gaze down on you out of the sheer granite cliff face. Quite a feat of sculpting!
The rest of the journey through South Dakota, Minnesota and Wisconsin into the heart of Chicago, Illinois was made on Interstate 90. The scenery was still marvelous but, at the time I was making the trip, the high crosswinds and heavy rain made for difficult and tiring driving for two days.
In all, the round trip of 5,690 miles took me 12 days and was extremely interesting. Anyone on a two week vacation and not averse to distance driving could surely find somewhere along the way to spend those extra two days and would be able to “Get their kicks on Route 66”.