Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Summer Road Trip Part 1: Ohio to Kearney Nebraska

For the past 15 years, I have traveled all across the world. During the pandemic, I realized that there was a huge amount of the United States that I had never seen. I decided to set out on the ultimate summer road trip.

Road Trip Part 1: (Mile 0 to 900)

Since this was going to be a long 8,000-mile journey it made sense to rent a car. I started driving from my home near Cincinnati through the western United States. One of my good friends from college, Brian, decided to take time off and join me on the adventure. My first leg of the trip was to drive to Kearney, Nebraska to pick him up.

A stop in Kansas City

I decided to stop on the way to Nebraska for an overnight stay in Kansas City, Missouri. I chose a boutique hotel called The Fontaine for my stay.

Fontaine Hotel
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The hotel was in a fantastic central location in the city. The property even had a Peloton bike in the workout room. Lucky for me, I could continue some addicting rides with my favorite instructors.

Archway museum
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

Kearney, Nebraska

I had a short one-night stay as I headed out on the final leg of the journey to Kearney. It was about a five-hour drive in the Camry across Nebraska. Upon arrival in the afternoon, Brian greeted me provided a guided tour some spots in Kearney. The city of Kearney became his home a year earlier, after a move for work.

The highlight of the Kearney city tour was a visit to the Archway. It is an arch that stretches across the I-80 highway at exit 275. The Archway has a significant history as a stop on the Oregon Trail and the Pony Express.

The Oregon Trail, in particular, was a game I played when I was in middle school. I don’t think I ever succeeded in making the journey across the country virtually. It isn’t surprising. I had never been on any part of the actual trail that helped build America.

Art of The Archway

Martin Brothers Statue Archway
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

The Archway, is an exhibit that encapsulates a lot of U.S. history and has artifacts that show the history of pioneers. These explorers traveled across the Great Platte River Road to settle across the western United States.

It also has a campus has artwork to explore outside. One piece called “A Narrow Escape,” is a bronze sculpture depicting the true story of the Martin Brothers. The story is by David Biehl, a sculptor from Lexington, Nebraska.

A giant bison, sculpted is a popular place to take family photos outside the arch. This piece is by Gary Ginther a native from Cambridge, Nebraska.

Bison statue Archway
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

At the Archway, there is also an outdoor tribute to the automotive pioneers who traveled America’s first transcontinental highway. It was developed as an Eagle Scout project by Brian Cassler of Canton, Ohio. The display includes bricks that paved the original highway in 1913.

Hammer Motel
Photo Credit: Amy Harris/The Travel Addict

It was an original Lincoln Highway road marker and a replica sign from the Hammer Motel. The motel was a popular overnight stop for early travelers along the Lincoln Highway.

After the city tour and dinner, I went to bed to prepare for an early start the next day. Time to gear up for part two of the road trip.

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Amy Harris
Amy Harris is a writer and photographer who has been traveling for 20 years and flown over 2 million miles to visit over 80 countries on 6 continents. She is a freelance photographer for Invision by Associated Press, AP Images and Rex/Shutterstock. Her work can be seen in various publications and websites including: Rolling Stone, AP Images, National Geographic Books, Fodor’s Travel Guides, Forbes.com, Lonely Planet Travel Guides, JetStar magazine, and Delta Sky Magazine.

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