Iowa was all corn in rolling hills. It was actually quite lovely.
So for Leg 5, Nebraska started off with some corn, but on flatter land, and then the land turned to scrubby ranchland, and then to scrubby wasteland of nothing at all.
My little car finally had to protest. We had already noticed the coolant temp gauge had gone up from a quarter to a half, but it hadn't gone anywhere near the red zone. However, eventually the overheat light came on. Still no red zone, no steam or smell coming from the hood. I tried not to panic. Mister M read the manual and it said to stop driving immediately. Of course I couldn't do that, as I was on a freeway in literally the middle of nowhere. Fortunately, the exit for Potter was only a couple miles down the road. We turned off the AC and pulled into a service station. The light went off and we ended up staying there for about half an hour to give the car some rest. We consulted quickly with the technician and he said it was probably ok to keep going.
It was eighty miles from Potter to Cheyenne, where I'd already called a Midas. Nebraska's speed limit is 75mph, which is awesome, but for that eighty miles, I stayed between 60-65, and we kept the air-conditioning off, the heat up, the windows down. The harsh plains wind blasted my left ear as I made myself stay calm. No warning light came back on, the coolant gauge stayed about the same.
We made it safely to Midas. I had them do an oil change and a coolant flush. I hadn't added any coolant in who knows how long, or a coolant flush. This is a bad job by me, and it made me a little scared and very grateful that my little car had made it so far without any problems.
The Midas guys in Cheyenne were fantastic. We actually went to a second location after the first was done, so they could fix the gasket that was still leaking. (This was the THIRD TIME I had paid to fix the same leaking gasket! Gah!!) So it was another chunk of money, but well worth it. Now I knew the car was good, functioning the way it needed to, and I felt safe continuing on the journey.
But even better than that was a new friend I made there. The resident kitty walked in to the waiting room and after less than a minute of walking around and meowing at us, climbed up on my lap, padded up my belly, and started kneading and purring. She was so soft and cuddly and friendly! I loved her!
That night we drove on to Laramie, with a full moon and downright chilly air. What a relief to be out of the hot midwestern sun!