Saturday, July 26, 2008

The Drive Home Begins

Whew! What a day! The drive has been (overall) a good one. I am hoping that the number of things that have happened already means that tomorrow will be an even better day. It’s around midnight and I am stopped for the night just shy of St. Louis, Missouri. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The morning started in Charleston, South Carolina. The my friends and I said good bye as Saga and I headed west and Fritz and James headed south leaving Ma Karrer and the cats a big, empty quiet house to relax and recover from the trip.

The challenges of the road started not fifty miles into the drive. I never did suss-out what caused the problem, it was a mystery. Suddenly, just after crossing I-95 the traffic came to a complete halt. I-26 was an absolute parking lot. Great! Just nine in the morning and already the “adventures” of the road begin.

The traffic thinned out around Orangeburg and I made it to Chapin (where my cousins live) in time for lunch. My plan had been to spend an hour-or-so visiting and having lunch and then continue the drive. But that is another lesson that I refuse to learn. Forty-[redacted] years of experience is not enough to teach me not to make plans!

The lunch was wonderful; the lunch was full of reminiscing and stories of the family; the lunch was three hours long! I am not complaining! I had a great time and besides, that squall line that was showing on the surface map this morning passed over. I decided not to take off again until it had passed. This picture of Craig and Sheila is a bit fuzzy because the camera was foggy, not because the photographer was!

About the time I hit Asheville, North Carolina, the engine light on my dash came on. Great! I had the Great Smoky Mountains to cross still. A call to the dealership reassured me. That sensor light could be anything. And it probably was. I do not remember when this happened but some time after I turned north onto I-24 the light went out.

I assume that the problem was bad gas. The last time I had filled-up was at a cheap gas station just outside Charleston at the start of the drive. About 500 miles in, I needed gas.

Remembering what the mechanic had said, the engine light could mean anything from a loose gas cap to a problem with the muffler. So, since the car was running fine, I took his advice and kept driving. At Nashville, I filled up with gas from a major brand… not because I thought it was better or anything, but because it was all I saw at the exit that came up after I noticed that I needed gas.
Just a while ago I noticed that the engine light had gone out. So, here I am. I’m not really sure where, exactly, “here” is, but it is not far from St. Louis. The last sign I saw said 75 miles. That was a short way back. The Motel Receipt says “Super 8 Motel, Okawville, Illinois.” By the mile marker, I am 41 miles from the Missouri border.

With everything that has happened today, Car Trouble, Traffic Problems, Unexpected Delays, Weather, not to mention the end of the vacation that is now within spitting distance, what is there left to encounter tomorrow? Space aliens? (I say that to challenge fate… C’mon, babe! Hit me with your best shot! Now it is time for me to collapse into that bed. Sun-up is only six hours away, the road beckons.

Wherever you are today, I hope that the old Irish blessing is an apt description of your day: May the road rise to meet your feet and May the wind be always at your back.

Don Bergquist – July 26, 2008 - Okawville, Illinois, USA

An Irish Blessing:
May the road rise to meet your feet.

May the wind be always at your back.

May the sun shine warm upon your fields.

May you have a happy song within your heart.

May there be a smile on every face you meet.

May you have love to warm your heart, and some to share.

May you be a long time in heaven
before the devil knows you’re dead.

No comments: