You may have wondered why I haven’t been blogging for a few days. This is it. My office is piled full of boxes, papers, and books that I packed in Arizona and brought to Illinois. I think it may take me a few days. Or weeks. I did finally find the cord to my printer this morning after a desperate, 24-hour search. It was packed in a box between my toothpaste and chocolate chip cookies. Logical, right?
When my younger son told me we’d have to switch the weekend of our trip from Arizona to Illinois, I knew no good could come of it. After all, it was the 100th anniversary of the Titanic sinking, and while we were not travelling by water, we were driving about 1800+ miles in two days. This trip never goes the way I anticipate it will go.
My son had a prior commitment the following weekend when I had originally planned to make the trek. And, better yet, this would put him in a prime position to say, “Of course Mom likes me best.” He would finish his stint driving with his aging parent so she could spend the other nine months back in her hometown. However, his two siblings are now on the chopping block for the next trip.
We carefully set our plans to drive through the mountains of northern Arizona, through Show Low, and pick up the interstate going across New Mexico. Alas, snow and sleet that weekend in the mountains meant we would have to go south through Tucson. Really? It also dictated driving across that nation that is so huge it masquerades as a state–Texas.
We set out through Tucson and headed into the southwest corner of New Mexico. Las Cruces gave way to El Paso, the city across from the Mexican town of Juarez. Our rule: No stopping, not for gunfire or bathrooms. However, we were stopped outside of El Paso by the border patrol, checking with drug dogs. They asked if we were US citizens and then let us through. I guess a 65-year-old with fading hair color is a “go.”
We continued through southwest Texas, wind blowing, dust flying, and hardly a town in sight, When we reached Odessa we had a moment of silence for the town of Friday Night Lights fame. Then we
journeyed on through Midland, Big Spring, Sweetwater, and Abilene. Our original plan was to go north through Amarillo, drive into Oklahoma, and spend the night in Oklahoma City. By now, however, there were tornado warnings in Oklahoma and Kansas. Really? We stopped, after 891 miles, at Abilene.
The next morning we dragged our weary bodies out of bed and drove north through Wichita Falls and into Oklahoma. I have to say there is very little in west Texas other than oil wells, scrap metal dumps, tumbleweeds, and, of course, high school football fields. The minute we crossed the state border into Oklahoma all was green, softly blowing grass and trees. It was almost as if Oklahoma had paid its water bill.
Wichita gave way to Emporia and then Kansas City. Should we go across Missouri or head north? Our trusty phones prophesied storms coming north through Missouri. We opted to go through the northwest corner to Iowa and take route 34 from Osceola through Burlington and on into Illinois.
Here we were, driving down a two-lane Iowa road in the darkness while insects the size of bricks were hitting our windshield hard enough to make us jump. My son asked, “Geez, what was that?” I guess he didn’t remember that part of the Midwest.
We drove 960 miles that day and as soon as we crossed into Iowa my sinuses and lungs knew they were home. It may take me a week, however, to get my legs working again. We parked my trusty Toyota in the garage after all of those 1800 miles, and I vowed to make an appointment to give her an oil change and tire rotation so she would be rewarded for her valiant effort.
To paraphrase one of my granddaughters, “Home, I’ve missed you so!”