Driving from Lake Tahoe to Chicago. You can take the I80 highway the entire way, the journey takes around 30 hours. Not wanting to prolong the journey across middle America, I decided to photo-document the trip and the changing landscape from the car, in motion, through the window. What I discovered was a surprisingly stunning and varied landscape, far more beautiful that I could have imagined. Summer rain storms, desert, mountains, grassy plains, small towns, an occasional big city, cows wind farms, sunsets and cornfields. Middle America, as seen from a car speeding down the I80, is quite a beautiful place.
At Lake Tahoe colourful bags and suitcases are packed in the tray of the truck, ready for the long drive across the country to Chicago; Sniff, the dog, watches out the back window as the highway through Reno recedes into the distance.
Just on the other side of Reno and squashed bugs already cover the windscreen, the Nevada desert a blur in the background.
Looking at the dead straight Nevada highway as it recedes in the side mirror; Dry grass with scrub and small foothills form the side of the road in Nevada.
Dry hill covered in scrub with a clear blue sky by the side of the road in Nevada.
Carlin, a small town in the middle of the hilly Nevada desert, the town letter C marked out in white on a dry hill behind the town as is typical in many Nevadan towns; Dry flat Nevada landscape with a line of power poles lining the roadside.
Rounding a bend in the road in the Nevada foothills to see a dead straight highway across the plain fading away into the distance.
A truck and orange road works cones on the highway in Nevada reflected in the shiny hood of the car; Dead straight highway through eastern Nevada with a big clear blue sky.
The silhouette of the driver with jagged hills and the white salt flats that appear the instant we cross over the boarder into Utah.
The dead straight highway vanishes at the horizon, with a blue sky, trucks and the white Utah salt flats beyond; A freight train crosses the white salt flats in Utah.
The straight highway heads towards the hills of Utah, with white clouds in a blue sky; Dry scrubby Utah roadside with deep blue sky and interesting clouds.
The straight dark asphalt highway heads through the golden dry Utah grass towards the distant mountains, with a cloudy sky.
A decrepit abandoned billboard in the flat landscape, with small fluffy clouds.
Signs of civilisation in Utah as a truck goes under an underpass; An old abandoned motel on the side of the highway, with Utah mountains beyond.
Looking in the side mirror to flooded areas of the salt flats near Utah’s Salt Lake City sparkling in the late afternoon light.
White salt flats with dry grasses and dramatic mountains in Utah; A line of billboards along the side of the highway in Utah with distant mountain and a sky of grey and white clouds.
Looking across the hood of the car as it heads down the highway towards the Utah mountains.
A line of trucks filling up with gas in Utah, large dramatic hills behind them; Flooded grassland in Utah with mountains and a cloudy sky.
A series of overpasses on the deserted multi lane highways heading into Salt Lake City, with a stormy grey sky; Speeding past a roadside scene with houses covering a small hill in the mountains beyond Salt Lake City, grey skies above.
Sniff, the dog, looks out the back window towards the setting sun, enjoying the scent of the Utah mountains.
The highway winds it’s way through the hills behind Salt Lake City at dusk, the setting sun and an approaching storm colouring the sky beautifully as a faint rainbow appear over the hills; A small white house nestled into the hills behind Salt Lake City as the entire landscape is coloured a deep pink by the sunset storm, with a faint rainbow peeping over the hills.
A bright rainbow emerges from behind a Utah hill as the entire sky is coloured deep pink by a sunset storm.
A large truck with the American flag painted on the back heads down the highway in the far east of Utah in the atmospheric pink and orange light of sunset.
A curving dirt road over grassy plains in Wyoming, with small hills and a cloudy blue sky hanging over the landscape.
Sniff, the dog, in the backseat has her eyes fixed on cows seen through the side window in Wyoming; Between green grassy plains and cloudy blue skies in Wyoming are large wind turbines as far as the eye can see.
The winding highway through the low distinctive cliff-like pale hills of Wyoming.
Red cliff formations of Wyoming as seen through the front windscreen, with the driver’s hands on the steering wheel.
A truck on the highway viewed through the side mirror with the dry flat landscape of Wyoming a blur in the background; Power poles beside the road in Wyoming with dry grass, low fluffy clouds, a vast blue sky and a distant train.
Trucks in both directions on the highway in Wyoming, with a cloudy blue sky and dirty windscreen.
Clouds across the vast blue Wyoming sky make shadows on the road and the sprawling dry landscape and are reflected in the car’s shiny hood.
A mass of wind turbines out the driver side window with grey storm clouds approaching as the driver checks his phone in Wyoming; Raindrops on the window with a cloudy blue Wyoming sky.
Raindrops in the sunshine in Wyoming make shadows on the car’s dashboard; Storm clouds collide as rows wooden fences on the rolling Wyoming hills attempt to block the winds from the highway.
Unique rock formations on grassy plains through the driver window with a stormy grey sky looming in Wyoming.
Stormy grey clouds above and sheets of rain falling on the Wyoming landscape ahead, with trucks on the wet highway.
In Wyoming a grey storm cloud hangs above and is reflected in the car’s hood, with a truck, bright green grass and a wet highway ahead and wet windscreen right in front; Raindrops on the windscreen with the dead straight Wyoming road ahead and dramatic storm cloud above.
Sniff, the dog, looks out the back window at the stormy grey sky above the green Wyoming landscape, the bags in the back of the truck now covered in garbage bags to keep them dry.
Three well-spaced houses on a flat green plain in Wyoming with cloudy blue sky.
Leaving Lincoln, Nebraska, a bigger city along the highway, with two Starbucks coffees; A blue oil drilling rig in the middle of a pale wheat field beneath a big blue sky in Nebraska.
In Iowa, from here all the way to Chicago, it’s just green cornfields as far as the eye can see across a flat landscape.
To see more photos of the Midwest go to Chicago IL.