Road trips are a beacon of summer. Mention a road trip to an American and one is instantly transported to miles and miles of connecting interstates and roadways, where at any moment any number of cars are traveling. Who knows what cars one might see on the road trip too. There are infinitesimal numbers of tractor trailers pulling all sorts of freight, from automobiles to haystacks, wind turbine parts and manufactured houses, to containers filled with unseen goodies. Campers and automobiles alike play hopscotch with one another, weaving in and out of the aforementioned truckers.
That being said, the other half and I are on such a trip. We are currently in the Windy City, the Second City, the other half’s sweet home, Chicago.
Here are some musings from the trip thus far:
Tell me that you are from the Midwest without saying you’re from the Midwest…. You buy a slice of gas station pizza and it’s good. Although, that being said, gas station coffee is usually cheap, but it’s also a roulette. You never know if you are going to get great coffee or terrible watered down stuff. But usually it’s hot and hopefully caffeinated, so there is that.
As usual when driving across Iowa on Interstate 80, one must stop in Walcott at the largest truck stop in the world. We did, of course. The plethora of people there amused me. There were the general public that live in the area and just pop in to get their usual things on their way to their own jobs. There were tourists from all over the world soaking in the atmosphere and buying cheap momentos (we fell into this category, having bought a sticker, a patch and some unicorn stuff) and there were the truckers who were doing their own thing, getting their fill of news and socialization as they washed clothes, took showers, caught up on social media and bought the things they needed to continue on their merry way. And of course, one cannot listen to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” without doing the headbanging reminiscent of Wayne’s World, even if one is going eighty miles plus on Interstate 80.
Despite being its own state and having a larger population, most of Illinois looks pretty much the same as Iowa does. Corn and soybeans, soybeans and corn can be seen for miles and miles on end until you reach the outer suburbs of Chicago. Then and only then does it vastly differ from Iowa. With that, Chicago traffic is, of course, on par with Los Angeles / Southern California traffic as being some of the worst traffic I have ever been in. I will argue though that compared to So Cal, the Second City’s traffic still comes in second.
Of course, the other half and I set aside one day of our trip to actually be tourists when we visit major cities. We park our vehicle somewhere safe and ride public transportation everywhere we go. It saves us gas and wear and tear, and that way we can actually sight-see along the way and enjoy the views. So, of course, being in the Second City, we rode the famous elevated trains. The sun was bearing down on us in the later morning, since we decided to sit on the east side of the train on our ride into the city. We could hear and see every vibration of the tracks as we watched miles of scenery go by. There was colorful graffiti, some of it quite elaborate, decorating surfaces. Streets, buildings of all shapes and sizes, empty lots, railroad tracks, landmarks and trees flew by our window as my eyes scanned the horizon for the familiar. There was the smell of plastic, stale air and whiffs of body odor and food as the tracks whines and creaked with every small turn and clacked as the wheels of the train ran over them.
But Chicago, while not as versed in my own memories as Los Angeles or even Philadelphia and Boston are, is becoming a place I enjoy visiting. The history, though not as connected to me as it is the other half, is rich and vibrant. I am learning what I can about it. The river architecture tour we took was great in helping with that
Other musings from this trip that deserve some honorable mentions so far: Alexa cannot work if the Echo is at home and you are on the road, no matter how much you try to “wake her.” Also, pink is a color, not a flavor, so no matter how rare or well done your roast beef is, you cannot use “pink” as an adjective to describe taste.
We’ve still got a couple of days left on this trip, since we still have a large chunk of the other half’s family to visit and the drive home. Memories will be made, details for stories will be written, and time spent together will be had.
Until then, readers, stay magical. Continue to write your own stories. I will.
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