meaner than a junk yard dog

I’m talking about Chicago.  (Remember the song????)

We left Rochester Thursday morning.  The sun was shining.  The sky was blue.  Everyone in Minnesota is so darn nice.  We’d had a wonderful evening with Mandolin Ann and Boom Boom Neil, the bass and recorder man in both Idaho bands.

It was time to hit the road, make some tracks, put in the miles, get to Indiana, blah, blah, blah.

We’d never driven this way before.  New roads, new scenery, it was all good.

That worked out just fine until halfway through Wisconsin, when it was my turn to drive.  I set the GPS to “South Bend”.  I checked our road atlas and knew we were heading south to pick up I-80 and go east.  I had my I-pod, ice water and half a bag of M&M’s.

Ready to roll.

About 45 minutes into my driving time, Banjo Man squished his king-size fleece blanket into a pillow, closed his eyes and began to snore.

About 2 minutes later I had no idea where I was going.  The GPS said to take the I-90 road.  The other sign said, “Bloomington”.  I had no idea where Bloomington was.  I didn’t remember ever driving through there.

Click here to see the route:

I didn’t wake up Banjo Man to ask his advice.  There was no time.  I was wedged between cars and semis.  I picked the I-90 option because I knew that I-80 and I-90 sometimes combined in the Midwest.  Was this road going to lead to I-80?  It was 45 mph, all construction, two lanes, no exits, no gas stations, no nothing.

It went on for an hour and a half, until I–still following that pink line on the GPS–burst into four lanes of traffic.  By this time I was pretty sure I’d screwed up.

And then, trying to decipher the signs over SIX LANES OF TRAFFIC, I took the wrong lane and ended up at….O’HARE AIRPORT.

Banjo Man woke up to planes dive-bombing the car and me wailing, “I don’t know where I am!!!!”

You can imagine his dismay.

I followed the “recalculating” lines on the GPS while Banjo Man frantically studied the road atlas.  I eventually got back on the horrible road I was on.

Did I mention that it was 5:45PM?  Rush hour in downtown Chicago?

Banjo Man pointed out some tall buildings in the distance.

Me:  “What are those?”

Him:  “That’s the Chicago skyline.  We’re going right through there.”

It took 2 hours.  It felt like 6.

There was no way to pull over.  No place to hide.  No way for Banjo Man to do anything but study the map and ask me how the hell I ended up in Chicago?  I explained about the GPS, the construction, the lack of signs that said “To I-80”, the lack of places to stop….

Once he realized I could handle driving in the insane bumper to bumper traffic, he started to relax.  And chuckle. And point out buildings.

“That’s the Sears Tower.”

Me:  I hate it.  I don’t care what it is.

Him:  Wow, we’re going right past Wrigley Field.

Me:  I hate it.  I don’t care what it is.

The minute we made it into Indiana, I pulled off to the side of a toll booth and Banjo Man got behind the wheel.  Just a few miles later he took an exit and drove right to a Cracker Barrel restaurant (one of my personal favorites).  I think he was afraid I was going to burst into tears and hoped that the sight of Halloween decorations and mashed potatoes would cheer me up.

It helped.  A little.  I ate some potatoes and turkey and I took some migraine medication and I bought a really pretty black and yellow scarf.

We didn’t make it to South Bend.  We got a hotel room just a few miles away from the restaurant and collapsed into bed.

Here’s the route I should have taken:; marginwidth=”0″ marginheight=”0″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no”></iframe>

There’s a big difference.



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2 Responses to meaner than a junk yard dog

  1. connie says:

    Jim Croce. I’m never going to Chicago. I refuse to have a stopover there.

  2. Pingback: a man’s gotta have a map | is there any more pie?

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