Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Midwest.

Back in the Midwest. Missouri looks a lot like Arkansas. Hours pass like state lines. Mile markers tick by like seconds. Outside the temperatures flirt with the mid-90s. The air conditioned car tries to soothe our poison ivied skin. I’m so itchy.

Right past St. Louis, we detour to Horseshoe Lake State Park, IL for the night. The sky darkens as we pull into the park. The main office has been closed for hours, so we decide to pay in the morning. Fishing lines border the lake and families enjoy the sunset over the water. We pull into campsite 32, set up tent, and dine on cold soup cans. The gnats are furious, but we should have known better. We’re on the lake right next to the woods. Hop into the tent for the night. Goodnight.

Or not. The weather is hot and muggy. Our poison ivy outbreaks are stinging and buzzing like we’ve sat ourselves in a hornet’s nest. My body burns and it takes every ounce of willpower not to scratch or scream. To add insult to itchiness, a dog two campsites down from us starts barking. And doesn’t stop.

I don’t know how we do it,
but we end up falling asleep at some point. Promptly at 7:30am we wake up to an incessant honking. I unzip the tent to face a park ranger in his car. “Have ya’ll paid yet?” He asks. Really? REALLY?! He wakes us up at awful early in the morning to ask us that? Ugh. I tell him that we arrived late last night and we’ll pay on the way out. That seems to satisfy him.

Of course I can’t fall asleep after that. Pack up the tent and leave. Pay on our way out. Illinois looks a lot like Missouri. Indiana looks a lot like Illinois. Lots of corn. Cross another time zone. Back on Eastern Time. Whoa. Now we know we’re getting close.

Brake lights? BRAKE LIGHTS! We slow down to a crawl right before a construction area. The crawl jams into a complete stop. We turn off our engine after 10 minutes. No one is moving, except to get out of their cars to grab a glimpse of what in the world would hold up traffic like this! I followed suit, but could see nothing, even from on top of my tippy toes. After gossiping with the cars around us, we figure out via the radio that there are two accidents: an overturned semi and a 7 car pileup. We were told to expect a three-hour wait. Three hours. Cars start turning around. A couple cars try to cross the median into oncoming traffic. Our car wouldn’t give us enough clearance with all the junk in it. So we wait. As we make friends with our neighbors and bake in the 90+ degree weather, a few cars start moving. We hop in our car and we’re off, slowly at first, but gain momentum. Looks like it won’t be three hours afterall!

The overturned semi truck looks pretty bad, but we never see the supposed 7 car pileup.
Indianapolis comes and goes and now Columbus is on our radar. I see more and more corn fields followed by farmland.

Yup, we’re in Ohio.

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