Colorado Springs to Rolla, Missouri

Our first long trip! We were all excited and definitely it required lot of planning. But less would have happened without Peggy’s help. Not only did she make a list of things we must carry, she also gave us her Cell phone in case we had to make emergency calls. By Friday, 18th Feb, food and other accessories were ready and we left home by around 5:30 PM. We decided amongst ourselves to split the driving into three parts of 4 hours each.  One drives, other gives company and the third would sleep; that was the plan. Seb drove the first stretch.

Drive: Colorado Springs, Colorado to Rolla, Missouri
Start: Colorado springs
Destination: Rolla
Distance: 804 miles
Estimated time: 11 hours, 56 minutes.

We took the US-24 road which then becomes I70 and on it another 500 miles passing through Kansas State. The scenery was breathtaking; vast plain lands filled with golden brown grass. It appeared to us that nobody ever lived here. In between these constantly flowing landscape were small towns, tiny shops and few houses.The shops resembled indian roadside dabhas. It was an interesting revelation for me to see the country side. Because when one thinks of America, skyscrapers and cities come to mind but there are people living even in these small towns with not much comfort. With their farms and ranches they seemed to leave a life so disconnected from what I had pictured or seen thus far. But most of all there was just acres of acres of land. Questions were many but answers were none. But the deep silence of the place all along the road was hauntingly exciting.

We stopped by a small village to fill some gas and then drove nonstop for a long time. It was already dark. I kept Seb from being bored by narrating to him funny versions of Hindi films Pardes and Raaz. 

We had a very interesting experience while driving through Kansas. A Semi truck was driving in front of us and he kept switching on his rear lights blinding our sight totally. He would keep it on for a while and then switch it off. Then he would repeat the same. We wondered what was happening until we finally figured out that he wanted us to switch off the high beams. 

At 10:30pm we stopped to fill gas and I switched to driving. Jonah accompanied me while Seb tried to take a nap in the back seat. I drove till 2:45 AM. I drove mostly through Kansas city. It is told that the cops here were severe but we were lucky even though our speed did not have a limit. It was raining heavily that night and the freeway had loads of water. The vehicle in the front would splash lot of it on our front window hence necessitating  a safe distance between vehicles. In a rest area where we stopped, we met our colleagues KC and Sajil who were also driving to Chicago. They had decided to take a nap at the rest area and advised us to do the same instead of continuing. But we were in a hurry to reach our destination and decided to leave. 

At Kansas city there was some confusion and I took a wrong turn and I think I entered the city. But thanks to some signboards, I corrected myself. The song that played on the CD player during this was - “ Dil ne pukara hein oo jane janna….” From the movie Shakti. Whenever Jonah and I listen to it now, we recollect this incident and our drive around Kansas city.

At 2:45 am when we stopped for gas again, Jonah changed to driving.

I slept during rest of the drive. I think it was around 6AM that I woke up and we were nearing Rolla. Jonah was feeling really sleepy. He had to sleep during the first leg but then that was too early for him to catch any sleep. So practically he had no sleep at all. When the car began to drift towards the shoulder he decided to stop and requested Seb to drive.

At 7:15 am (central time, 6:15 in Colorado), as expected we reached Rolla. We called our friend Vishnu to confirm the proper location. And the fun part was that we called him from  a telephone booth exactly behind his apartment.

Time Taken: 12 hours 15 minutes