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Well, we managed to find an even sleazier motel than that Howard Johnson in Lansing - and it costs a little bit more, too. It has a microwave and a refrigerator, but it's a very low-key place - the bathroom comes equipped with flies. It helps a little bit that it seems to be run by two hip young sisters.
One thing I forgot to mention about the landscape yesterday was how big the sky is. With the lack of trees and hills, the sky looks huge! Watching the landscape change as you cross the continent really gives you newfound respect for the country. The endless farms (which still didn't end) and the rolling hills gave way to the prairie lands. And then by the narrow strip of Nebraska, the road started going up and up, and just kept going upwards on a gradual incline. High plains area. Definitely started feeling like "the West". And then it started actually getting mountainy - a branch of the Rockies, I suppose. It was very exciting and beautiful landscape. The mountainy parts actually remind me a lot of the "mountains" in central PA, except on a much larger, grander, majestic scale. I expect more mountains to come, though tomorrow, it's eventually into the desert. I'm looking forward to a whole week where I don't have to go anywhere near the driver's seat. Still a long day of driving ahead tomorrow, though. By tomorrow night, we should be in Reno!