Monday, November 17, 2014

Day #6 Freedom, Wisconsin to Eureka, Illinois

Day # 7 Freedom, Wisconsin to Eureka, Illinois
October 27, 2014
Next Stop: Eureka, Illinois

Left Freedon at 10:00 am. It’s hard to believe that just over a week ago we were in Hawai’i.  We miss the ocean, the fish and the sun.  We’re getting tired.  It seems to be accumulating so we’re looking forward to spending the extra day in Illinois.  We’re in a hurry to get to NC but also need a break.  Eureka’s a good place for that.  We left at 10:00, stopped at Starbucks at 11:11.  I had blueberry oatmeal, Emilie had a donut.  She was living on the wild side. 

1:30 pm  Stopped for lunch, etc.  Were at a truck stop and the sandwich guy had just wheeled in the fresh sandwiches.  Score!  I also found some Nestle’s chocolate milk that was flavored Thin Mint.  It was sooo goot.  It tasted like runny Chocolate Mint ice cream, just like I love it.  We also found some cheese curds for Angie (she had put in a special order the day before). 

Afternoon I’m slipping—I didn’t write down the time we hit ILLINOIS.  My birth state.  We’re tired!  Anyway, it’s good to be in the motherland.  Things look familiar.  The beautiful black soil, the pristine farmland, corn ready to harvest, fall foliage.  It just feels like “home” even though it’s been 43 years since I lived here.

4:00 EUREKA!! And as my siblings will remember: “First to see the water tower, First to see the courthouse!”  We would always try to be the first to announce the news of home when we’d come home from Chicago or other far flung locales.  We came into town right on schedule.  Miles driven so far: 2,479.  What that means to me is I only have a short time before I have to say goodbye to Emilie for real.  This trip is going too fast.  You’d think that after almost 2,500 miles I may not feel that way but I haven’t faced the fact that she’s really moving so far away.  I’m the Queen of Denial and sometimes it’s OK with me to stay that way. 

It’s now 8:47 pm Central time.  We’re leaving here tomorrow morning, stopping in Bloomington, Indiana to have lunch with my sister, Carolyn and them will continue on to Charlston, W. Virginia.  Thursday we will complete our trip with our arrival in Raleigh in the afternoon.  Before I start my next day (I don’t even know what day this is of our trip—I’ve let myself go.  Oh dear.) I want to talk about our Eureka experience.

We went up to mom’s room when we got here and found out that my cousins, Janet and Stan Reedy were coming as well.  They walked in about an hour later.  We visited for a while and then made plans to visit and have dinner together the next day.  I want to say right here that now the last three times I have been in Eureka, Janet and Stan have been here, too.  There was my brother’s funeral, mom’s 98th birthday party and now.  It’s been so good to get to know them better.  My mom and Janet’s mom were sisters.  This summer when Dave and I were in Canada we visited with Janet’s sister, Alice and her husband John.  We were all pretty close growing up as they lived in Indiana and we in Illinois.  They are 10+ years older than me—closer in age to my sisters—but I LOVED it when our families would get together for holidays.  It was so much fun getting in on the older girls’ activities and our parents played cards into the night.  I was a kid so I didn’t have to do any of the work.  I really appreciate my cousins and am thankful that we are still in touch.

Day #3 Moscow, Idaho to Billings Montana

October 24, 2014
8:00 am Day #3
Leaving Moscow after a stop at Java Bug.

 We’re a little put out by Sam, the iPhone GPS Guy.  We asked him for the closest coffee shop and he was directing us to one 3 miles away and we practically ran into Java Bug.  Not Sam’s fault, I guess.  Java Bug needs to do some marketing and tell SAM/SIRI about them. 
 Coeur d’Alene, Idaho: Beautiful! 
 Gassed up and potty break.
Dinner in Billings
 In 1989 Dave and I took a trip from Kansas to Illinois, dropped the kids at Grandma’s and proceeded to look for a job.  As we traveled through the various states we realized each state had a unique way of warning passengers that bridges freeze before roads.  We started a collection of them.  So I decided to do it again.  Why not? I thought.  So another dimension of these states’ descriptions.  I will announce how they warn us of the bridge hazard.  Idaho’s is   “Bridge May Be Icy”.  Another awesome traveling aid is the speed limit is 75.  These roads are practically empty in some places and a lot of things are very isolated.  If they didn’t raise the speed limit everyone would go that fast anyway and it takes FOREVER to get anywhere this way so it cuts down on commute time.  We had to get used to driving that fast, though.  At 75 mph a second with your eyes off the road =several seconds while going at 55.  Also, it takes longer to stop.  We’ve encountered a few slow movers and they come up to us so fast we really had to be alert.  They come up quickly.

Mama taking over the controls now Yikes Bikes!
Entering MONTANA
Big Sky Country
11:00 am Pacific Time 12:00 Mountain Time 
ETA for Billings, Montana 6:20 Pacific/7:20 Mountain.

We really need to change our watches.  Phones correct themselves but alas we have to manually change the car clock and watches.  What a hassle.  We want better technology so we don’t have to do anything manually again!  We’re Gen X.  I’m also starting to identify more with Emilie.  Must…remember…I’m…a…Baby …Boomer!  I learned how to do EVERYTHING manually.

Watch for ice on bridge.
1:10 Mountain Time
Missoula, Montana
Emilie’s driving again.  She took over after we stopped at Starbucks in Missoula.  I wasn’t sure where we were so I asked the Barista.  Emilie thought we were in Missoula so I lost that one.

Notes on Montana: The mountains are gorgeous.  There are zillions of pine trees and millions of trees changing their color for fall.  Don’t know the type of tree but it must be the only one that grows at this elevation.  The leaves are from golden yellow to bright yellow.  They are about 25% fallen.  When the sun shines on them they sparkle like diamonds.  The evergreen trees are a very deep, deep forest greet.  In fact, we thought they were black until we got closer to them.  People (when we encounter them) are very nice.  I guess when you’re so isolated you like the chance to talk to other people, I guess.

Billings, Montana
Trip Meter: 1006 miles traveled so far
7:30 pm

Arrived at the Clock Tower Best Western.  Got unloaded and were going to walk to a restaurant close by.  Before that, Alice ran out of the room after Emilie.  Emilie had already gone downstairs to the parking lot.  Alice didn’t know that.  She thought Em was still on the second floor.  She could hear Emilie’s voice but couldn’t figure out how to get to her.  She would go zooming around outside the second floor rooms desperately trying to get to Emilie.  At one point it looked like she was contemplating jumping down so I finally caught her and carried her down.  You never know what a dog will do.  Our Eddie once jumped out of the car when he was with Michael.  They were going about 40 mph and he had music on.  She got nervous and jumped right onto the road then ran to someone’s front lawn.  He brought her home and Eddie was all shaken up but only had a few road burns on his little body.

We walked to our restaurant (sans Alice) and watched a heartbreaking game 3 of the World Series.  We had enough leftovers to save for tomorrow’s lunch.  Slept well, got up and out by 8:00 am.  Montana has its beauty but it’s a l-o-n-g way across.  Mostly prairie as we got closer to North Dakota.