Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Eastern Wanderings 2009 - Day 4-5: Driving Truck Isn't Much Fun Any More

Vital Statistics:

Miles: 648.9m, Minneapolis, MN to Grand Rapids, Michigan

States Traversed: Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan

Hours I spent driving around Minneapolis lost: 1.5 (I don’t like Minneapolis very much anymore)

Time of day I passed through Chicago: 3am-4am Sunday morning (there was still busy traffic!)

Deer road kill I have seen before today: 1 (complete with someone’s bumper lying next to it)

Deer road kill I have seen in the past 36 hours: 17 (the Eastern states are a bad place to be a deer. I’m actually getting a little tired of seeing deer bits and massive blood smears all over the road. I’m starting to wonder if perhaps there are not some weird ritual killings going on...)

Today I relaxed in my hotel a bit and left Minneapolis around 11. Well, I left my hotel at around 11 but didn’t leave Minneapolis until a few hours later. There was construction on all the exits that I was planning on taking to the highway and I got majorly lost, so lost that at one point I ended up driving through a cemetery (picture my U-Haul trucking through your last funeral procession) Stopped to ask directions and I’m pretty sure the guy had no idea what he was talking about even though I asked him clearly, “Are you sure?” Finally, after about an hour of following bad leads, I stopped at a dumpy hotel and asked the guy there, despite the sign outside that said No Direction Given. He was friendly and showed me on his spider-web cracked iPhone the map and how to get back to the highway. Kind stranger again.

Made it through into Illinois and stopped at the info centre, planning to stay the night in the truck there. I nestled in with my Subway sandwich and watched Slumdog Millionare on my laptop in the cab of my truck. Then I fell asleep for a few hours and woke up at 2:30 ready to take on Chicago. I wanted to go through Chi Town when it wouldn’t be busy, this seemed perfect. In fact, while it wasn’t Chicago busy (the traffic was still moving at the speed limit) there was a fair amount of traffic for 4am on a Sunday morning. The 6 lanes each way can be daunting but it’s done now.

Along the way there were ton’s of fireworks billboards, firework outlet stores and firework warehouses (these Americans like their fireworks!). Some of them even advertised “Buy 1, Get 6 free!” That’s a deal. I’m actually surprised more crimes aren’t committed with fireworks (Give me your cash or I’ll put this Roman Candle through your stomach. What, that doesn’t scare you? I’ve got 6 more where that came from)

On the other side of Chicago I stopped and slept for another hour, then spent some time writing up the blogs and uploading the pictures at a picnic table at a rest stop. Feeling pretty exhausted so there’s going to be some rest time in Grand Rapids. Sitting, eating, sleeping, and driving in the truck seems a little old right now. Have to say, not as much of a fun adventure as I saw it playing out in my mind. More along the lines of mind-numbing driving, crappy eating habits, crappy cups of truck-stop coffee, and not enough sleep. I must be getting too old for these kinds of shenanigans.


Andy said...

Oh Eric, thanks for making us laugh. That firework bit was hilarious.

Sorry it's not everything you hoped it would be, but yes, it is probably just because of your age :)

I'm gonna miss you buddy, but I'm glad I can follow your wanderings here.

Glad you've made it safe (somewhat)!

Daddio said...

I know exactly what you mean by being too old for these kinds of shenanigans :)

The Renegade Librarian said...

Dude, when Caitlin and I drove across and back we remember all those fireworks billboards! Americans are crazy-ass pyros! :D