With the plains states ahead, and the last of my side stops now in the past, all that remained for my trip was for me to make my way home. And after almost a month on the road, I was ready enough to be home that the interstate would be my route of choice. Knowing that this would be a big mileage day, I woke up early. Before crossing out of the Academy though, I stopped to take a look at the school grounds, with the chapel that I had seen in so many Air Force photo slide shows.
While it hadn’t snowed at the Academy, it had snowed a few miles north of Colorado Springs, and I felt I had made a smart choice in the change of lodging. What wasn’t smart however, was timing my arrival into Denver with the morning rush hour commute. While not bad compared to the jams I’d faced in DC, it was annoying having to inch my way along. Luckily, I managed to reach my exit after only a few minutes, and found myself on the beltway that loops around the city.
I wish I could make 600 miles of interstate travel sound exciting, but it isn’t, especially on the Great Plains. While growing up, there was a video game I used to play a video game for the Nintendo 64 console. Pilotwings was an arcade style flight game with a level that resembled a miniature United States, complete with various cities and monuments. Using a gyrocopter, the closest thing the game had to an airplane, I would fly a route that would take me all over the US and let me see all the great American landmarks the game had included. The problem with a digital country small enough for a round-trip tour to take 10 minutes is that there can’t be as much detail as in the reality it’s based on. And so I rushed through the country’s heartland, much like I had roughly 15 years before.
Eventually I made it in to Omaha and started following the GPS’s purple line towards Offutt AFB. Unlike the day before, the gate guard said nothing about the gear I was wearing. I pulled into the parking lot of the inn and shut off my engine. I walked inside and asked for a room, but was told they were full. I wasn’t sure if that was true, or if she just didn’t want to help me, so I made my way back the way I came, returning to a Hampton Inn I had passed just a few miles from the base. I checked in, without issue, and settled in for the night.