Friday, May 30, 2014

From Council Bluffs to Streator, Ilinois

What a great night's sleep! After getting the chain repaired, grapes from Wal-Mart and a simple supper, we kicked back in our room and just decompressed. It felt good not to be "moving." 

Irene and I used to drive anywhere from 12-14 hours. I once drove across the US from Jacksonville, NC to San Jose, CA in 56 hours. As time went by we began to limit ourselves to 10 hours driving and then we would pull into a motel and sleep the night away. Our last trip to California last November confirmed that 10 hours was our max. This trip has shown us that our max now is about 8 hours or 500 miles is all we want to cover in a day.

We have also discovered that Motel 6 is no longer satisfactory to us. It use to be that we would check in late, around 9-11:00 PM, grab a quick shower and hit the sack and sleep until 5 or 6:00 AM and then we would hit the road. So a bed and bathroom was about all we needed or care about.

Now we want to check in around 5-6:00 PM after covering 500 miles and we want to shower, jammy up, kick back in a nice chair and watch a little TV before we hit the hay. Now we want a refrigerator, microwave, free WiFi, TV, and coffee maker in our room. We have had to upgrade to Days Inn and the likes.

Well, back to Council Bluffs. The bed was like a soft baby's blanket. We slept soundly and  woke up around 4:00 AM. After a good hot shower and throwing our few things back in the car, we were on the road again. I turned on the Swoop light, plugged in the address for my daughter's house in Streator and followed "Kate" right back on to I-80 and as they use to say, "and away we go!"

The drive across Iowa was a bit long. It was flat and uneventful. There isn't a lot to share about the portion of the trip. We are morning people so hitting the road before 5:00 AM was great. We would drive for a couple of hours and then look for somewhere to eat breakfast. Irene was resourceful and "healthy." She brought her dried oatmeal and when I got a Sausage Biscuit she would order a cup of hot water and make her own oatmeal. What kind of vacations is that?

We finally made it to Davenport, Iowa. Davenport is on the border of Iowa and Illinois. The thing that separates the two states at that point is the famous Mississippi River. It took Irene by surprise; she wondered what the Mississippi River was doing way up there. She thought it was down around Mississippi. She wondered if I had made a wrong turn somewhere. It gave me a good chuckle.

We crossed the bridge into Moline, Illinois (Rock Island, IL) and it was just a short couple of hours to my daughter's house. Illinois is beautiful, at least along that stretch. We drove by miles and miles of cornfields, farms, and ranches. I was born and raised in Ohio. I love the mid-west. I love cattle and especially beef cattle.

When we moved to California in 1966 I thought people in California ate so strange. Being from the mid-west we ate meat three (3) times a day, this is beef and pork country. Meat and potatoes land. It was good to "be home."

We pulled into my daughter's driveway at exactly 1:00 PM Sunday afternoon (18th). We hadn't seen her, her husband, and our grandson for five (5) years. Needless to say hugs and kisses were the order of the day. I can't tell you how my heart felt having finally arrived and seeing them.

Details of the visit tomorrow!


Arlee Bird said...

8 hours/500 miles is a comfortable travel schedule. We still usually go at least 12 hours/1000 miles when we do a trip, but we're not pulling a trailer either. I'll usually nap in 20-30 stretches while my wife drives the empty stretches, but I drive most of the way and nap just enough to get recharged with about 3 naps during each day's drive.

I'll agree about the motel upgrade. To me it's worth it to pay a little more even if I'm getting in the room a little late and leaving bright and early. I'm signed up to the loyalty clubs so I get free rooms after so many stays. Costs more but I want comfy and clean.

Can you believe I actually played Streator, IL at least once that I recall. It was a pretty non-descript place from what I don't remember, but that's the way a lot of those midwest towns are. I wouldn't mind settling down in a place like one of those, but I don't know that my wife would like it much. I'm a heartland of America sort of guy.

This has been a great trip to follow and you've got me yearning for the road now. We leave at the end of June. I'll be spending about a month in Tennessee with my mother. I never can tell when I'll be making my last visit with her so I gotta go whenever I can.

What is the best short story ever written?
Tossing It Out

Larri said...

I found myself grinning at the meat 3x a day sentence. You're absolutely correct! That's the Midwest for you. I miss that, too.

We really like the Hampton Inn. The free breakfasts is good for our family budget. Love that Irene took along her oatmeal. :)

Wow, 5 years. Didn't realize it had been that long since you'd seen your family. With technology, I stay pretty connected to my family; yet, time passes quickly and I find it's been several months between actual IRL visits. So happy you were able to finally hug your girl and grands. :)

Scott said...

That is a long time. Guess I need to not complain about my daughter heading to Germany for a year!

Gregg Metcalf said...

Scott - it was a long time. We of coursed skyped all the time and emailed and talked on the phone. But it is not the same as seeing them and hugging on em!