Friday, November 20, 2009

Traveling to Chicago

I'm pooped. And I have another 3 hours of driving ahead of me tonight to get home. I do believe I will end up crashing big-time tonight and will probably not wake up at an early hour tomorrow morning. Fortunately, I don't have a paper or project to prepare for a class, so I won't feel any guilt whatsoever. YEA!

I spent yesterday in Chicago. Pretty much a first for me. I don't think I've ever been there, other than to fly in and out at O'Hare. Oh yah - once I went with a group from college to see Angela Lansbury in Sweeney Todd, but that hardly counts, we drove in to see the musical and drove back out.

So, this was a brand new experience for me! I learned a lot. The first thing I learned is that I'm definitely old-school when it comes to maps. I had a Garmin and my Blackberry with Google maps and the GPS turned on. They didn't help me much. Enough to keep me from crying and screaming, but there is definitely a large scale of emotions between that and being perfectly calm.

I needed a real, live map of the city. I'm one of those people that makes my decisions after looking at an overview of the situation. I had no good overview. Imagine a 50 year old woman with 'unawesome' eyesight trying to peer at the tiny little street names on my Blackberry. Uh huh. Nope!

It took a little doing, but I navigated my way into the bowels of downtown Chicago and found the theater, the location I was meeting my friend at and a parking garage - all within 2 blocks of each other. Whew. I parked the Jeep and started walking.

Leaving the city was an entirely different treat. There I was with tall buildings surrounding me and neither the Blackberry nor the Garmin wanted to help me. I drove around for awhile, trying to get my bearings. Finally I just told the Garmin to take me home (it's preprogrammed). I didn't care how it did so, I just wanted to go home.

I got onto an interstate, saw the highway I actually wanted to be on, dashed across traffic and got there! Whee! That all happened within 15 minutes - I'm so glad. I'd have been an angry, screaming witch if my frustration had lasted much longer.

Now, I had managed to fill the tank in Iowa City and was only at about 1/2 tank when I got into Chicago. Good thing, because there's this very nice Interstate leading from Chicago to the Quad Cities with NOTHING available on it. Alright, that's an exaggeration, but it's not far from the truth. I checked my available gas and, hmmm ... I had 5 more miles in the tank than the trip to the Quad Cities would require. Even I'm not that courageous.

It's a toll road, so there aren't any gas stations/restaurants/hotels ... anything off of the exits. Yes, at DeKalb, there was an Oasis. Thank heavens. I saw that place show up and dashed the heck off to go to the bathroom and get gas. At that point, I released the rest of my travel stress and headed for home.

Ok ... funny thing ... I live in Omaha - or Iowa. You don't actually see too many 'crazies' interacting in the real world. Not so true in the Chicago area. I was driving through a toll booth and when I pulled up, the clerk had his music turned up really loud. I handed him the money and as he handed me change, he yelled at me, "Why doesn't anyone else hear the signals?" My mind spun around really quickly and I decided I didn't like where this conversation might go, so I simply responded with, "I have no idea," looked to ensure the gate was up and tore out of there. Yikes! (hehe)

I kept thinking I would just pull off in a hotel in Davenport, then Walcott, then ... on and on until I finally had had it - and stopped in Coralville. It was 2 am. The clerk came out to help me, must have seen my very tired eyes and got me into a room. Within 15 minutes the lights were out, and after another few minutes, so was my brain.

When I get home tonight, I'll tell you about the middle part of my day - it was great!

1 comment:

Babe83 said...
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