Baby Road: Day 1 by Bill Pike

IMG_3117.JPGThis last week has been a blur. Too many responsibilities on the radar, life is moving too fast. Departure day for heading out to help with the coming of grandchild number three had arrived.

On Tuesday, April 17, we were hoping to be on the road heading toward Chicago by six, latest seven. At 6:30 a.m. we were pulling out of the driveway. The goal was to make it to Lafayette, Indiana. That would leave us with two to three hours on Wednesday morning to make it into the Windy City.

We had been experiencing wacky weather this spring in Richmond. In the 80s on Saturday, and now in the 30s as we are leaving. But, this morning, the sun was out with some clouds. A familiar route awaited us— Patterson to 288, to I-64, to I-81, and back to I-64 again pushing west. Past Lexington, Virginia, the teasing of the sun on treetops was gone. A gray sky contrasted early pops of color dominated by the purple flower of the redbud trees.

The ferocious storm front that caused havoc on Sunday left behind swollen, muddy rivers and creeks. As we prepared to exit Virginia and enter West Virginia, it appeared that snow was falling against the back drop of the mountains.

Sure enough, a flurry of fine flakes awaited us. Digital signs in the median flashed a winter weather advisory. Here we are twenty-five days into spring, and winter is making up for what it failed to deliver.

We kept going, admiring the snow-covered landscape, and we guessed it had steadily fallen during the night or just before dawn. The good news was the road surface had not been impacted, so we kept moving.

My rapidly aging body needed a potty break. We stopped at the West Virginia Welcome Center. I commented to the friendly lady at the information desk, “nice spring weather.” She responded, “Yes, I don’t know what we did to deserve this.”

We survived the twists, turns, and steep climbs of the West Virginia Turnpike. Soon the gold dome of the capitol building in Charleston was in sight. Parallel to the interstate at times ran the bloated Kanawha River where a single tugboat pushed an empty barge upstream.

The snow-covered hills had disappeared, and north of Charleston, we opted to exit 64 and pick up U.S. 35. Eventually, U.S. 35 would carry us into Ohio. The further north we pushed, the more the sun played pick a boo. But, we were well past Indianapolis before the sun decided to really show up.

Traffic around Indianapolis hinted at the rush hour exodus, but we kept moving at a steady speed. We connected with I-65 and Lafayette starting appearing on the mileage signs.

Wasn’t long before we had taken a Lafayette exit, the Commander Supreme’s research landed us a room at a Fairfield Inn by Marriott.  We checked in and figured out a dinner plan.

Our oldest daughter, her husband, and two-year-old daughter live in Chicago. Their second child was due April 26, but the ultrasounds revealed a baby in the breeched position. So, we are coming in early to help out with a bumped-up arrival date.

After a good dinner at the 25-year-old Lafayette Brewing Company, we purchased a couple of sweet treats from Kathy’s Kandies. Our iPhone navigator, Nigel, complete with a British accent, led us back to the Fairfield Inn.


Sleep was needed. I’m hoping for a boy!

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