« "I find occasion to journey to the land of my people." | Main | "I sit in the kitchen and catch up." »

April 18, 2007

"I discover that cruise control won't be an "option" next time but a requirement."

Two days.

That's what it normally takes me to drive to Kentucky. 900ish miles depending on things. The first day I have Jack in the car and the second, post drop off with the grandparents, I'm alone with my thoughts.

The first day passes pretty quickly. I divvy the drive into three parts on the way from St. Paul with the two breaks falling in Tomah, WI and Rockford, IL. I'm driving the truck and without cruise control it's a long, tedious, ankle and calf busting experience. By the end of the first day I'm ready to go back in time and slap my younger self for ever thinking cruise control was optional. Idiot!

Jack's a happy traveller. He's content to watch some DVD's, play "hide under the blanket" with me for 20 miles or so and nap on occasion. All things considered I could do far worse in the way of 2 and a half year old travelling companions. I will admit that after the 230th showing of "Monsters Inc." I am ready to pitch the DVD out the window.

By the end of the first day I find I'm ready to hit the sack pretty quickly. Jack's in bed and so is everyone else. I'm alone in bed thinking about what I am going to find when I get to Ashland and trying to fall asleep. I know I'm wrapped up when even Enya fails me. Watermark, my never miss go to sleep music, is now just more static on the line.

After a long night I wake up later than I mean to. It's not a problem per se but it is a pain due to my trying to time things and avoid traffic. Today I wrestle with the drive around Indianapolis then Lousiville and Lexington before continuing on I-64 east to Ashland. By Indianapolis my ankle is throbbing and the ibuprofen doesn't make a dent. My lunch stop at the Steak and Shake about an hour south of Indianapolis is my first chance to just let my foot sit up and rest.

The drive outside of Louisville hits a snag and I sit in a backup at an accident for an hour. Louisville is one of the few spots along the way that Verizon can actually connect with me. I talk to the Lord of the Zulak's for a while, the Astronomer as well. Both have to go and soon I'm alone with my thoughts again.

Mount Sterling comes and goes and with it a phone call to let my grandmother know where I am. The weather for both days has been either windy or rainy or some horrific combination of both. Now I am having overloaded coal trucks to contend with who feel that the weather is the perfect chance to drive at 80+ miles. Bah.

The trip takes about 3 hours longer than normal. When I finally get to Ashland's city limits the exit ramp is a mess as a construction crew is working on the ground surrounding the overpass. (This is where my father once drove my other grandparents car the fastest he has ever gone and the experience frightned him so badly he's never broken the speed limit since. 102mph I think if you're curious.)

The drive into town is uneventful. More empty buildings that are new since last year. Businesses that have opened and folded in less than 12 months. I pass other businesses that boggle the mind when you realize they've lasted over 20 years. The city limits seem more clogged than I remember. Two teenage girls in a rusted out Chevette try to talk to me at the first stop light and I just turn up the volume and smile as Above and Beyond play behind me:

"I've wrestled with angels all my life. Its always the halos and the wings that keep you blind and if I'd fought with all the strength I held inside."

A couple more lights and I make the left into the Indian Reservation. (All the streets are named after Indian tribes.) Another minute and I am parking the car on the drive and walking across wet grass and cracked pavement to knock on a door whose every creak and rattle I know intimately. As the door pushes open and the smells of the house hit me I'm home.

Posted by Jim at April 18, 2007 11:21 PM


Post a comment

Remember Me?