We hit the road early yesterday morning – 3 kids, a dog, and yours truly. It felt exhilarating to be up before the sun. Sadly, it reminded me that not a whole lot has changed since the divorce; I am used to making this trip on my own in the car. Once I even braved the PA turnpike in the winter with a young baby in the back, stopping to nurse and change diapers regularly. He, of course, was much to busy to drive with us. On rare occasion he met us there for a few days via his first-class business flight. So, it didn’t feel strange at all, but very comfortable and familiar.
The first hour or two of the trip sped by with adrenalin flowing and some good morning-show satellite tunes. Once we got past the congestion around Philly, we found ourselves among the gentle, rolling hills of the Allegheny Mountains. The trees looked like soft blankets of green chenille fabric across the land. And the sides of the road rose sharply with jagged edges, like the end of a huge block of chocolate someone had been hacking away at with the wrong knife.
Each time I drove through a tunnel, I eerily thought of Princess Diana’s untimely death.
The next leg of the journey had built-in entertainment from a round black woman driving a blue Toyota minivan with Illinois license plates. She had the most inconsistent acceleration I’ve ever seen. I tried to get away from her or let her pass, but eventually, there she was again, probably frustrating the hell out of everyone around her. Sometimes the truckers play tag in the hills and speed up as they race down the mountainside, but at least they have a pattern you can rely on.
Wheeling, West Virginia, then Ohio… Zanesville pottery places… farms with huge round bales of hay drying in the sun… old red barns… cattle grazing in the fields… day-dreaming… listening to the same tunes over and over…
I knew we had arrived in Indiana when I saw the familiar billboard sign in the cornfield that says something about “avoiding hell” and “trusting Jesus.”
When we were about 1 1/2 hours away from Indy, my son complained from the back seat, “Can’t we just take a plane? I’m bored as a table!”
I-70 construction in Indianapolis left me with a lovely gift – a huge chunk of metal in my back left tire. The tire pressure light came on just as I was making the exit to my mother’s house. She lives close, and when I opened the door in her driveway, I heard the loud hissing sound of a tire going flat. Bummer. At least it waited until I arrived.