We just finished a road trip to Illinois. Thanks to the cash for clunkers program, we retired the 1994 Dodge van that had served our family so well, at 197,000+ miles. It was sad to see it go, but we got a new Honda Civic, which meant the 2001 Mitsubishi Mirage was an "extra" car. So we decided to drive to Bloomington, IL, to deliver it to Brad and Melanie so they would have 2 cars. Nancy and I set out on Wednesday, Sept. 9, at 5:00 p.m. and made 291 miles to Rawlins, WY, that night. The next morning, we drove 784 miles to Des Moines, IA. Along the way we stopped at the highest point on I 80, a rest stop in Wyoming with a 3 ton bust of Abraham Lincoln. Unfortunately the light was such that had I taken the front view, it would have been in shadow.
In Des Moines, we checked out the medical school for Jeff -- he thinks he might want to attend the University of Des Moines. It looke like a nice school. Then it was another 300 miles to Bloomington, to see Brad, Melanie and Chloe. Although we didn't stop, we passed the self-proclaimed biggest truck stop on I 80, called Iowa 80. It was definitely huge.
We delivered their "new" car, named Maurice the Mitusbishi, courtesy of Leah. They seemed happy to have a second car. It was a short (for me) visit. We had a hard game of Play 9, in which Brad got minus 20 points on one hand, resulting in a double V-snap and picture text to Jeff to brag, then he promptly got plus 24 points a couple of hands later and fell out of contention. The next morning, we all piled into their car and drove to Chicago to put me on a plane home, where I covered the same distance in 2 1/2 hours.
On reflection, I'm struck by the vastness of this country. Driving as far as we did you can see just how big America is. The plains of Nebraska are truly awesome in their own way, every bit as much as our mountains. Iowa is different from Nebraska; there are rolling hills instead of flat plains. Truck stops are interesting places. People meet briefly and then disperse. In the middle of Iowa we ran into two guys from Utah, our cars parked next to each other, both of us doing much the same thing, delivering stuff to family members in other states. Where but Nebraska could you find a lunch buffet offering liver and onions?
It was a great trip, fun time spent with Nancy, an all-too-brief visit with Brad, Melanie, Chloe and little soon-to-be Ezra. Now I'm home and looking forward to work (oh, please forgive me for lying on the Sabbath).