We choose to drive almost no interstate roads for many reasons. It's usually less stressful driving, it's filled with beautiful country side, small regional towns, local mom and pop eateries, and a better snapshot of the region. This time Route 34 was the main choice on the way out and I highly recommend.
We arrived after Denver's big snow had melted off the roads and scooted home right ahead of the next big weather system.
Since we used a more southern route both ways, the Iowa, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado areas were hilly at the least and mountainous at the highest. It never became boring especially with the many colored fall leaves.
Sadly, many little mountain towns almost exclusively rely on tourists dollars. Many buildings were vacant. The economy has had a negative effect on those small businesses. Overheard several merchants talking about how the streets used to be filled with visitors and now they're having days without anyone at all coming to their stores.
I was quite surprised that we didn't see more windmill farms. We've got almost 260 coming to our neighborhood. You would think with the windswept plains, it would be perfect. Either too windy or perhaps not appealing to the land owners.
And as we drove home through Kansas we commiserated with Dorothy: "There's no place like home!"