We made it back to our hometown of Dayton, Ohio. We left the coldness of southern Wisconsin early on Tuesday morning and drove straight through to Ohio in ten hours. And by straight through, I mean that we barreled south to avoid the rain and snow around Chicago. (Remember—no wipers.) Then we jumped on interstate heading east to Indy and then I-70 to Dayton. I had plenty of time to think. So here are some random observations about the drive:
- Man, the interstates are boring. All those memes about the midwest being a series of billboards telling you that Hell is Real and there’s a Grandpa’s Cheese Barn? All true. Add in the constant speed and the monotony of fallow field after fallow field and it’s easy to write the midwest off as a giant slate of nothing.
Of course we know this to be untrue. For the last 8,000 miles we have been entertained by the scenery of the backroads and all the sights we stumble upon. Even gas stations along the back routes are more entertaining. (They’re not designed to be efficiency centers like the ones on the highway; they are more mom-and-pop stops for the leisurely driver.)
- There are a bajillion semi trucks out there. If you want to understand the scale of shipping in this country, take a hiatus from driving on the highway for a month. When you merge back onto the four lane road, you’ll be shocked by the number of trucks. It’s simply mind boggling. And the number of Amazon trucks? Holy cow. I want truck drivers to make a decent living, but also—try not ordering your holiday gifts from Amazon this year, folks. There’s someone local who will use your money to not fly to space if you buy from them.
- It’s wonderful to have heat. Before Sam at Dune Buggy Supply got his hands on her, Adie did not have heat. For the most part, that was not a big deal. But in 20-something degree weather, heat made a huge difference. I would not have been able to keep driving at night if I didn’t have heat.
- Miracle and I hate being apart. Before we left, lots of people advised us to keep our time apart sacred (and we have). But traveling in Adie by myself is lonely. Miracle was following me in our friend’s car with Jolene in the backseat. And it sucked. We’re used to talking to each other and pointing out the odd sights along the route. (Fortunately, the highway lends itself to fewer observations.) This is a journey we’re doing together. We love the feeling of the bus being loaded down with gear, Jolene judging our foolishness from the backseat and us trying to figure out what we’re doing and where we’re going to go.
One of the plans we concocted in order to retrieve Adie from Minnesota involved me flying to Minneapolis and driving back completely solo. I’m so glad that plan was short-lived. This trip has four players that have to make it work: Adie, Miracle, Jolene, and me.
- This is all about stopping, not driving. This one is a hard one for me. I notoriously have summit fever; I love making it to the finishline or the mountaintop. The end. Yeah, this is that it’s-about-the-journey-not-the-destination cereal box philosophy. But the story—our story—happens in those moments when the road trip stops. When we’re at rest. Meeting people. Taking it all in. Even, yes, when we are broken down and spending tons of money to get back up and running. Ten hours on the road and I was ready to stop. And now that we’ve been off the road for two weeks, we’re ready to go again so we can stop again.