On the morning of Thursday, June 27, 2019 at 6:01 a.m. we departed Richmond bound for Chicago. Nice way to spend my birthday—a long 13 hour road trip.
We had a good reason for making the trip. Our oldest daughter, Lauren, husband, Doug, and two children, Caroline and Hudson are moving to Raleigh, North Carolina. We are going to help with the final staging of the move. The moving company arrives on July 2.
It is the perfect storm.
At the center of the storm is one of our least favorite words—change. Leaving your Chicago comfort zone is also about courage. The courage to realize that winters in Chicago punch hard and wear you out. Taxes in the windy city are blood pressure boiling high. No public elementary school is in close proximity to their current home. And last, but certainly not least—crime. As I’m writing this 21 have been shot in Chicago, two died, and the weekend isn’t over.
No doubt change is difficult, but in this case, I think it makes sense.
And speaking of change, the start of our journey this morning also involves change—the Commander Supreme is in the driver’s seat. She takes the first leg from Richmond to the West Virginia Welcome Center.
I take over there as we push through the those humbling hills and twisting turns of I-64 and the West Virginia Turnpike. North of Charleston, we pick up US 35 that will take us into Ohio. US 35 is a good distraction minus the almost 14 mile stretch where it shrinks down into two lanes.
All along the way, construction projects have slowed us down, but never put us at a standstill. Further along on US 35, an accident slowed us a bit. A flat bed loaded with construction materials slid across a wide median.
We pulled into a rest stop, and the Commander Supreme took back over.
Somewhere well before Dayton, the sky was beginning to darken in front of us. I texted our son, Andrew, for an update. We were driving into a strong storm with flash flood potential. But, the good news was he expected the storminess to be short-lived.
At about the same time, our youngest daughter, Elizabeth, was attempting to land in Minneapolis for a business meeting. The weather was too stormy to land. They were diverted to Fargo, North Dakota.
The sky darkened more, gust of wind swayed a few trees back and forth, on the horizon lightning flashed, and then we entered the fray. For several miles it was a car washer rain. Even baked on bird poop was pounded off.
Traffic slowed, lots of drivers pulled over. We put on our emergency flashers, quickened the slapping of the windshield wipers, and crept like a turtle. Gradually, the rain let up, and in the distance the sky’s darker shades of gray begin to lighten.
Traffic was heavy as we exited US 35 and connected with our next interstate. The Commander kept driving until we were on the other side of Indianapolis. We stopped for gas, and I-65 home of 18 wheelers became my focus.
Gradually, we hooked a westward left, said goodbye to Indiana, and connected to the Chicago Skyway.
It is the Chicago Skyway Toll Bridge also known as the High Bridge that conveys poet Carl Sandburg’s words calling Chicago the “City of the broad shoulders.” Crossing this massive steel framed bridge feels like we are sitting on broad shoulders. Sandburg’s description fits.
Without too much conflict, we amble our way to Lakeshore Drive. Traffic is heavy-stop and go through lots of traffic lights. Eventually, we exit on to Lasalle and make the proper merges without a harsh beep from a local.
But, I confess, I did break the traffic laws at one point. At a busy intersection that had no left turn traffic light, I made a left turn on red. Of course, the Commander Supreme wasn’t happy. I’m sure the traffic engineers for the city are top-notched, but they got this intersection wrong—it needs a left turn traffic light.
Over on North Hudson, our son-in-law, had us a parking space scoped out. It was the biggest parking space I have ever seen in Chicago. I didn’t need to parallel park!
With Doug’s help, we unloaded the car, pulled our road trip stiff bodies up the stairs, and were promptly greeted by Lauren, Caroline, and Hudson.