Saturday, August 22, 2015
The drive on Thursday was peaceful and beautiful, full of corn and cows, as i traveled west on Route 224, through Ohio and Indiana. Most disconcerting was the sight of all the huge wind turbines, looking like something out of a science fiction novel. This was the heartland of America.
Driving into the blazing pink and purple sunset gave me such a thrill that i got goose bumps.
I had to pull over and recuperate from my night in Warsaw, Indiana, where i had dinner at Mad Anthony's Brew Pub & Eatery (https://www.madbrew.com/warsaw). My stomach was staging an uprising against road food, and the wahoo sliders and IPA did nothing to help that. After a day of driving through western Ohio and Indiana, I was happy to find a nice bartender, Amber, who felt like talking. I realized, though, that I was tired, especially of listening to people and nodding politely.
Thinking i would find a quiet place to nap for a few hours, i found a convenience store, got a cup of hot water for chamomile tea, and used the rest room. The apple cheeked clear behind the counter was kind and chatty, and told me she was a former meth addict. According to her, Warsaw, the orthopedic capital of the world, has the fifth highest number of meth users in the US.
I returned to my car and shut my eyes, but the lights were too bright and there was too much activity. I found a quiet park, and settled down, just as my neck spasmed. After an hour, a female municipal worker in a truck chased me away, saying the park didn't open until 6:00 am. Since i had to use the bathroom anyway, i went to the 24 hour CVS, bought some pain relief pads for my neck, and tried to nap in the parking lot. Rest was futile since i didn't realize i was parked smack dab next to the train tracks, with noisy trains coming through every ten minutes.
As the sun rose, I gave up and decided to drive west, ending up in Chicago morning rush hour. I didn't regret taking the back roads, but by Friday morning, I was happy to be in rush hour city traffic, at least for a while, until i felt remnants of my old DC road rage struggling to the surface.
Chicago drivers are almost as crazy as New York and Boston Drivers. I haven't experienced rush hour like this in more than fifteen years, and i was totally overwhelmed by the speed and honking, and got off in Gary, Indiana to avoid being mowed down by people trying to get to work on time. I drove through Chicago, and four hours later, i ended up in Arlington, Illinois, at an inviting corner restaurant called the Uptown Cafe (http://www.uptowncafeah.com/Uptown_Cafe/Home.html). A very nice waitress served me a delicious omelette, toast, and coffee. I felt really exhausted physically unwell, my head full of festering boils, and lonely, really lonely. Desperate for sleep, I checked out Hotwire, and got an inexpensive, but nice room at the Schaumberg Hyatt Regency for the night, before heading onto Milwaukee.
I gained an hour, as i crossed into western Indiana, and wondered how my phone knew that.
I was checking in at the front desk, just as a hot shot executive was checking out, and snapping his fingers at the bellman to bring his luggage out to the cab. The most important executive in Schaumberg (in his own mind) was SNAPPING HIS FINGERS AT ANOTHER HUMAN BEING..."Chop chop," he said. "I don't want to miss that plane." Since i was so tired, I almost bit that fucker's hand off.
When i got to my room, i undressed and crawled between the crisp sheets for a much needed nap. After sleeping for a few hours and writing a bit, I went searching for a grocery store and found a Trader Joe's (Thank you, God!), where i bought fruit, tangerine juice, string cheese, corn salsa, corn chips, crackers, peanut butte, and luna bars, for dinner, and for road snacks. Due to a dearth of decent eateries on the road, i had been making detrimental food choices, and my body staged a strike.
I spent Friday night curled up in the king sized bed, with Stacey Keach and the crooks on American Greed, before falling into a deep, dreamy sleep. The next morning, I felt 100% better and not so desperately lonely. I lounged in a cloud of pillows, drinking coffee and enjoying the big bed. Eventually, I put on my bathing suit and found the pool, where i lolled for an hour, letting the bones in my body shake out after sitting in the car for so long.