Friday April 5, 2013
Now the trek back to Michigan started in ernest as we traveled to Indianapolis. This trip was over 7.5 hours today and unlike our previous days of driving, the landscape was not very exciting – farm lands and the most we could expect was rolling hills. We got into a bit of a routine, however. Every so often, when we needed to relieve ourselves, we would stop at a fast food outlet (as opposed to a gas station), and I would get a coffee “something”. McDonald’s was usually the restaurant of choice, as they have clean restrooms, and now sell coffee frapes, lattes, iced coffee, mocha caramels, and so on. It had been years since I had been in one, so I was unaware of their changing menu, but now they do sell these things. So I tried a number of their offerings over these driving days.
I also noticed that the states differed in many of the details. As I remarked on earlier, the maximum speed was 65, 70, or 75, depending on the state and road type. Trucks are not differentiated from cars in many of the states as far as the speed signs were concerned, unlike Michigan where there is typically a 10 MPH difference indicated. Indiana differentiates by five miles an hour. They also are different in what they are willing to do for drivers. Missouri was rather tepid about drivers. They provided good roads, and readable road signs, but that was about it. They do provide the occasional “truck parking” area. Illinois provided the occasional “rest area”, but Indiana was (at least in our sojourn) the least hospitable. Every 20 miles or so, there was another road construction activity. Fortunately, we passed these on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning, as there was very little real work going on. Aside from limiting traffic to one lane, though, because there were not any workers on site, they didn’t limit speed. The few that were still active slowed the traffic way down (below 45 mph), in addition to narrowing the road to one lane. In all fairness, I’m sure the idea was to get the work done in Spring before the major holiday season began, but they could have been a great inconvenience, instead of the minor annoyance we experienced.
Saturday April 6, 2013
The final leg of this trip to get home. Perhaps not too surprisingly, it felt good to be in Michigan again. We came across the state on the I69, a very comfortable divided highway. The divider is in many cases wide and wooded, and occasionally in past drives, I would find myself slowing down as a deer appeared on the edge of the divider with the look in his/her eye of longing to be on the other side of the road. Thank goodness no deer appeared as I was traveling at high speed. It was only in Michigan, it occurs to me, that I saw a semi truck with a great “rack” of bars rising from its front bumper. Could it be there to fend off the occasional deer who strayed into the traffic lanes?
The house is in great shape, except the second bathroom, which our contractor has not finished yet. He has lots of excuses, but the fact of his having four months to finish a simple refurbishment in a 4 by 6 foot bathroom leaves us with concerns. The water came back on, the dust was not too heavy on the flat surfaces, and (sure enough) there are a few left-over piles of snow down at the bottom of the driveway to remind us why we spent so much time away. Beth from next door had kindly planted some pansies in the planter right outside our garage door as a “welcome home”.
So, our first winter vacation has completed. In retrospect, I really enjoyed it, and even though I missed Michigan, and the people here, as well as the comfort and convenience of home, I suspect we’ll be off next year for the winter as well.