Confused yet? Yeah, well welcome to my Saturday. Yesterday I had an Adventure. Yes, it really does deserve capitalization. It started off as a normal day...
I had planned to go to Springfield yesterday to visit at my parent's house because my sister & her girls were in from Ohio. Now, I drive back and forth to Springfield all the time. Its a simple two hour drive on a four lane highway. No big deal. Well, usually that's the case. But yesterday I think I ventured into the Twilight Zone. And the worst part? There was no flippin signpost up ahead.
I was off to a late start due to the fact that it was one of those rare mornings that Mike didn't have to rush off outdoors (an extreme rarity in the summer). So I spent some time in discussion with him. Then I grabbed Lu's keys (I was taking her car because it gets way better gas mileage) and headed out. I went to the closest gas station (ten minutes drive) and filled up her car. After I paid, I walked back to her car and realized one of the tires was really low and possibly going flat. Damn! I took her car back to the house, alerted Mike to the sitch and grabbed my own keys. Back to the gas station (yes, the same one) to fill my tank. You're welcome Lu, for the $30 bucks in gas for your car. I decided to visit the restroom and also grab some Good-n-Plenty candies for the sugar rush in case I got sleepy. The attendant and I laughed about my return visit and she wished me luck on my trip. Little did I know, I'd need it.
At last on the road, I phoned my Dad to let him know I was running late and that I'd be there about noon. Then I popped in a CD and began to enjoy the drive. An hour and a half in I hit a stream of cars completely stopped in the right lane of the highway. Not knowing what was going on, I joined the line. Turns out, the State Police were forcing us all to exit the highway at Jacksonville. WTF? They'd closed down the Interstate. In 24 years of living here, they've only closed that Interstate when there's a bad snow. But this is summer. I got off at the exit and phoned my Dad. How do I get there without using the Interstate? He didn't know for sure. So I figured I'd follow the semi-drivers, surely they knew an alternate route. But as I drove through town, I remembered that I take highway 104. Its how you got there before the Interstate was finished. I moved ahead of the truckers and led the way. I was pretty proud of myself. That is, until two blocks after we turned on Highway 104 and ran into the barricades in the middle of town. Well, what used to be part of town and was now a lake!! Highway 104 was closed due to flooding.
WTH am I supposed to do now?? I pulled into a gas station. A gas station that was full of people just sitting in their cars. I mean this town was overflowing with traffic and people stopped in the middle of their travels. I called Mike while I searched my car for my Road Atlas (never leave home without one! and teach your children to use it.) He said he'd call his step dad because the man knows every back road in this state. He's never liked highways! Meanwhile, I found an alternate route. I'd take 78 to Virginia (a town, not the state) and hit 125. Mike called back and said his step dad said take 67 to Beardstown and then hit 125. As my way cut out about a half hour of time, I told him I'd try my way first. Mike promised to call later and make sure I wasn't lost somewhere in Kentucky.
Off I set, driving through town I wanted to roll down my windows and shout "Follow Me"! I set out on one road to hit 78 and I made the turn. But 78 led me back into town. That couldn't be right! So I got back on 67 and drove a little farther. By this time there are cars pulled over on the side of the road with people on cell phones and banging on GPS units. I mean, alot of people were lost. I came to a sign for "old 67" and I pulled off. Luckily there was a four way stop and I parked and pulled out my atlas again. "Old 67" looked deserted. I've seen Children of the Corn and Jeepers Creepers and no way was I heading down a lonely highway on my own!
While I'm sitting there, a pickup pulls up next to me. Inside are a young (pretty cute) guy and an older guy~
them: you need help hun?
Me: Yeah, how do I get to Beardstown?
Them: Get back on that other road and follow it.
Me: Okay and do you know if 125 to Springfield is closed?
Them: Do you want to go to Springfield or Beardstown?
Me: I want to go to Springfield, but the Interstate is closed and Hwy 104 is flooded.
Them: Yeah, the Interstate is closed because there's water over it too.
Me: Oh! Wow!
Them: I don't think you can get to Springfield today.
*Now, it's become a challenge. Don't ever tell me I can't do something. Our family motto is pretty much "I do what I want".*
Them: Why you gotta go to Springfield?
Me: to visit some family from out of town.
Them: Prolly have to wait for the water to go down over the Interstate.
*Seriously??? Is that what all those other people were doing? How long would that take??*
Them: We're having a BBQ, you want to come while you wait?
*Why yes, I've taken complete leave of my senses and I'm going to go to a BBQ with two strangers in a pick up truck. That's the plot of a Lifetime movie just waiting to happen. Are they crazy??*
Me: No thanks! I'm going to Springfield!
I turned around and got back on the road I was on which did indeed take me to Beardstown. I was driving into some heavy clouds though and whispered to myself "we aren't in Kansas anymore Toto". The water was only inches from the road in several places and there were downed branches and leaves from the previous storm. I had alerted my Dad of my alternate route so they knew I'd be rather late. I also warned them that if 125 was blocked, I'd turn around and head home. But luckily, it went smoothly, if slowly. And I made it to town just ahead of one of those same semis who had pulled off the road at the same time! All in all, it was a four hour trip. I had to pee so bad it hurt by the time I arrived and I was starving!! All I'd had in the car with me was a Gatorade and the Good-n-Plenties.
But seeing my family and dinner at Olive Garden were worth it. Luckily, the Interstate was open on my return trip and it was uneventful. I did find out through the IDOT website that 78 was flooded. So it was fortuitous that I hadn't gotten to use my shortcut after all!
The moral of the story is this:
1. Be prepared. Make sure you have an atlas with you whenever you travel. And something to drink. And Candy.
2. Don't let people tell you what you can't do. Where there's a will, there's a way.
May all your Adventures have good endings,