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He Drove

and drove, and drove, with your blogger spending nary a moment behind the wheel, for which she was ever so grateful.

So, are you ready for some photographic evidence of all that driving? Believe it or not, I didn't take that many photographs because we were always on the move. Here's the best editing I could manage.

Let's get started then:
Turns out I discovered there was a hole in the sole of the black shoes, so they stayed home. Instead, I wore sandals on the way up. You should have seen the looks in the Detroit and Chicago airports!

The evening before we left, a new lens I'd purchased from Amazon arrived. Here's one of the first pictures taken with this amazing lens of Bruce working feverishly preparing for our departure:
We'll talk lenses another day.

While Bruce was working, I had a little chat with Jonathan making sure things were ready for our arrival. Well....he mentioned in passing his kidney was hurting. Not good.

Early the next morning, 5AM to be exact, the phone rings. It's Jonathan. He sounds bad. Real bad. He's spent the night in excruciating pain from a kidney stone. Like father, like son. Years ago, during his last attack, he managed to pass it after spending some time in a warm bath. Didn't work this time. Hour after hour he refilled the tub, hoping and praying that the pain would subside. Naturally, we were heart sick thinking of him in such pain, but what could we do? Nothing.

Boarding the plane we were both very anxious. There are some perks involved with being married to a three million miler with Delta, such as flying first class. I've said it before, and I'll say it again, boarding the plane first is really, really great. Having food and drinks served on china is nice as well.
Astute observers will note Bruce is not working! He's fiddling with iTunes. Yeah! So, we had a layover in Detroit, which turns out to have one of the nicest airports I've visited. Wonderful to look at and the design seems really, really functional.
The light tunnel is pretty fantastic too! Another perk of being a frequent flyer is club memberships. What, pray tell, is that Gail? Well, lovely rooms with snacks galore, comfy chairs, and quiet surroundings. Because we were hoping Jonathan got some sleep, we waited until we were settled in the lounge in Detroit. Yes, he had finally fallen asleep soon after we spoke. Can you imagine his anxiety thinking of the move the next day? We were heartened that his voice was not one filled with pain during this conversation. Soon, we'd be in Chicago.

And we were. Changing into my Uggs, donning a coat and gloves, we headed to the train station. The day was gloomy and cold. Typical Chicago weather. The kind of weather Jonathan and Alissa are sick of. In fact, as we were walking to their apartment, there were some snow flurries. Did I mention it was windy? It was.

Their apartment building is famous now for two things: the architect, and the flood of 2010. You'll remember that they were displaced for three weeks this summer due to said flood. Here's the atrium, I guess you'd call it, taken from their 10th floor landing:

Most of downtown Chicago was closed for the holidays as evidenced by this photo taken at 3 in the afternoon just as we exited the train at LaSalle and VanBuren:
There were a few hearty souls out and about, but not many. I managed only a few quick shots before Bruce was imploring me to get moving! That lens is amazing is what I have to say. Anyway, after our arrival, we assessed the situation. What was left to do? Where, pray tell could we eat? Even our hotel restaurant was closed! Turns out, when Bruce and Jonathan went to his office, the restaurant on the ground floor was open serving Thanksgiving dinner. And what a dinner it was! Wonderful food and service.

Those green beans were SO good. As was everything. In the above photo, you see that both Jonathan and Alissa are doing their best to have a good time, although right about then, neither one was all too happy. Jonathan in pain, and Alissa worried about the truck. Dropping us off at our hotel, Bruce and I snuggled in to watch a little football before the big day. This didn't work out as planned. Soon after snuggling, the phone rang. Once again it was Jonathan with bad news. Upon their return to the apartment for their last night in Chicago, they discovered Tia, their cat, was dead. Yes, you read that right. Although Tia was 12 years old, she'd not been sick, so it was completely unexpected. What else could go wrong?

As you've already guessed, there is no easy way to bury a cat in downtown Chicago on a holiday night. In fact, I suspect, it's never easy. In any case, after receiving the call from Jonathan, Bruce called information, something he frequently does with great success. After consoling Alissa the best he could, he and Jonathan put Tia in a box and found a place to have her cremated.  How they got any sleep that night, I'll never know.

So, what else could or did go wrong? Nothing, absolutely nothing went wrong! The truck was ready to be picked up on time, albeit in the worst part of town, the movers showed up, and baby it was SHOW TIME! While waiting in all my winter gear outside by the truck while the movers were upstairs I took this of the building:
Cool, but I hope they won't miss it at all. Once the truck was loaded, we were off! At least Bruce and I were. Finishing up the last few details Jonathan and Alissa motored on out of Chicago to start their new life.
Here's how I got most of my shots! You might note my hands in camera in the bottom mirror.

Once we left the city it was smooth sailing. Well, sort of. Bruce battled winds once we were in the Illinois countryside, but he gripped the wheel and kept the pedal to the metal.  For the most part, we left the gloomy skies in Chicago, and the serious cold stayed there as well, although just before sunset we began to see some light snow along the roadway. While stopped for a little break, I found this behind the rest stop:
I was in awe of the sky as the sun was setting. I was also pretty much in awe of this cross beside the highway! That little dark thing just below the cross is where you'd typically have a rear view mirror. Anyway, I took this through the windshield as we whizzed past.
We made it to Marion, Illinois, had dinner, and within minutes after checking into our hotel, our driver extraordinaire was fast asleep.

Saturday morning we were up at the crack of dawn. Make that way before the crack of dawn. Climbing into the truck with our hotel hot beverages, off we went, arriving in Missouri just as the sun was beginning to make it's presence known. A not too scary bridge over the Mississippi River:

Before this trip I had no idea Phillips 66 was still in business. Silly me. Here's one from Portageville, MO, population 3,200.
By this point we were about a third of the way there. The miles kept adding up, with Bruce calling out each 100 mile milestone. Every now and again we'd talk to J &A, however the cab was too loud for me to hear them very well. Sometimes I felt like I was having to shout just to make Bruce hear me! We didn't even have the radio on! You may have noticed in my first picture the atlas in my suitcase. That was so very handy, letting us know well in advance where each rest stop was located. Not to mention tons of other interesting facts.

Arkansas was very pretty, with plenty of color still left on the trees, although the roads were the worst. Our good weather and traffic continued!
Somewhere in Arkanasas, during one of our many, many gas fill ups, I saw this amazing sight:
Yes folks, that's a motel for $19.99 a night, with cars in the parking lot no less! I suggest you make it big.

Another one taken while on the move. Those green, green fields were really something. We don't know what they were, but it was almost startlingly green.

And then we were finally in Texas, stopping once again for gas:
Mr. Bruce is walking just behind the truck, probably looking for me! On this trip I took photos for reasons. This one is because there is still an S&H green stamp sign just below the trucks top sign. Long story short, Judy, my sister-in-law, is always reminding me of the year we were all so poor we used green stamps to buy Christmas gifts. Too bad that option isn't still available for cash strapped folks these days.

The sun was making it's descent just as we were heading into Dallas, making it almost impossible to see:
The cab grew silent with Bruce doing his best to remain calm and concentrate. Shortly after taking this photo, we approached the beltway around Dallas. Bruce suggested I not look. I didn't. I would have gone into a panic if I'd watched us approach a flyover, about four highways up in the air! There was one more to come. Once I again I ducked.

Finding a hotel that night was harder than we'd have liked. Suffice it to say, we drove nearly an hour longer, finally finding a hotel in Hillsboro, TX. The kids stayed on the other side of Dallas. I had my first Texas nachos that night--man they take their spices seriously! After driving 700 miles, Bruce once again fell asleep within minutes, as did his navigator companion. I did, however, wake in the night, worrying myself sick over J&A driving through Dallas. Misplaced fears my friends. They sailed right through it!

It seemed like the last 150 miles were the longest, but finally we arrived, finding their apartment with the help of our handy GPS. Nice. Very nice. Before long, they pulled up and the unloading began.

More than once, we marveled at Bruce's strength. We all pitched in and before long things looked like this:

It looked even better some hours later, however, the parental units were bushed, falling asleep in a heartbeat on an air mattress set up in the living room. Morning arrived, and after much hugging and good wishes, Jonathan drove us to the airport. While Bruce was photographing Jonathan and I, a nice man stopped, asking if Bruce wanted to join us. Of course he did!
Good grief do I look like a hag or what? Yikes! You would have thought she drove! While waiting, we enjoyed some of the famous fare from Salt Lick in the airport. Delish!

Flying on Southwest was about a 360 degree difference than our flight to Chicago, but it got us home:
And there you have it folks, a tale of three journeys. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
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