Day 1 - Friday, June 28, 2002
Lansing to Indianapolis
Got up about 8 AM after a so-so night's sleep. Got more packing done (loaded most of the car Thursday night). Lon stopped by at 9:30 to take some of the stuff I wasn't bringing along (Jen didn't show, which was a bit of a bummer). Lon and I chatted for a while, and eventually he left and I packed the last few things, including the computer. Left the apartment a little before 11 AM.
Dropping off the cable modem and my apartment keys was really easy, no hassles at all. So I had time to stop by 21st Century one last time and say goodbye to Dave Comfort (nothing new to buy that I wanted, though).
And yeah, I started to cry a bit as I left the shop. It's one of the places I'm really going to miss, since I probably won't ever be back.
Hit the road at 11:30 AM, car mileage 70060. Decided against stopping for lunch on the way out of town, since finishing off the stuff in the fridge filled me up.
About half an hour south of Charlotte, I spotted a billboard for "Gay's Hops & Schnapps". Well, *I* thought it was worth noting. :)
Just before hitting the construction on I-69 in Coldwater, I came across a convoy of National Guard vehicles, ended up merging into it when the road went down to one lane. Passed a second convoy just before reaching Fort Wayne.
In Fort Wayne I stopped for gas, but it took some doing. The first exit I tried had no gas station at all, so I stopped in a Dairy Queen to reset my watch (Indiana is in CDT but EST) and stretch my legs. The second exit was insanely busy, so I had to turn right immediately, and the road I got on had no gas station (the Amoco station right at the turn had become a fireworks stand) for a couple miles. I ended up getting back on I-69 at the first exit I'd tried, having looped back.
Once I was back on 69, I passed at least one of the convoys again, but the organization was lacking...the convoy was starting to fall apart. Good thing these aren't serious military maneuvers.
Shortly after this, I had a somewhat nerve-fraying experience as I passed a house being towed down the interstate on two wide-load trailers (in halves).
By this time I was starting to fade a bit, although seeing a roadside memorial cross (i.e. someone died in an accident there) helped wake me up a bit.
Pulled off 69 a mile before it merges into the I-465 loop and checked into a Super-8. Took a couple pictures of the "lake" outside the window. No fishing, no swimming...just there to make the next door subdivision look better. Had to wait a couple minutes for a clean room to be found, since it was only 3 PM CDT, and they were still cleaning stuff. No problem, it was nice to stand for a bit.
So, I sit here typing up my notes, this time using Word To Go instead of Memo Pad. This has the advantage that I won't run up against file size limits (I hope), but it's REALLY slow. I can type several lines ahead of the output on the screen.
More later, after dinner.
Well, I poked around the commercial strip on 82nd street, including a rather large mall (that I circled without entering), and after failing to find the Max & Erma's supposedly behind the mall, I ended up eating at Pizza Hut. Then it was back to the hotel room to sit around and watch TV and read. Whee! Wake-up call for, oh, 9 AM I think. Enough time to get to the breakfast bar, then a leisurely 5-6 hours of driving tomorrow.
Day 2 - June 29, 2002
Indianapolis IN to Hannibal MO
Well, didn't need the wake-up call; I got up on my own at 8 AM and decided that further attempts to sleep would be pointless (and might cause back pain). Hotel's continental breakfast was actually filling for once, and I got to see the new episode of Powerpuff Girls before leaving at 10. }->
Mileage 70319 when I pulled out. I IMMEDIATELY took a wrong turn, ending up going clockwise on the I-465 loop instead of counter-clockwise as planned. Now, the distances turned out to be almost the same, but the clockwise route had a serious amount of construction on it, bleah. Spent 40 minutes on the loop.
On the way out on US-36, I pondered stopping someplace to window-shop, but all the stores of interest were on the left, and it wasn't worth the hassle. About 11 AM I reached Danville IN, the end of the four-lane bit of US-36. I passed over Raccoon Lake shortly after, a nice looking vacation sort of place. In Rockville IN (US-36 is called Rockville Road coming out of Indianapolis) I was briefly stuck behind an Amish buggy. Most of the part of US-36 in Indiana was also called the Ernie Pyle Memorial Highway, with Pyle's birthplace being just before the Illinois border. Should probably look up who he was.
Crossed into Illinois at 12:08 PM. Saw a llama (or maybe Vicuna) in a pen shortly before getting into Tuscola, not much to remark upon before that. I stopped in Tuscola for lunch, gas, and to check out the outlet mall there. Poked around the Kay Bee Toy Works there, but didn't buy anything. Didn't stop in Decatur, but got a decent picture (I think, hard to tell in tiny preview form) of the ugly industrial look of the town. Just outside Decatur, I-72 joined up with US-36, ending my non-interstate driving for the day, pretty much. Of course, when I-72 jigged south to go around Springfield, I missed the turnoff. Oops. Fortunately, it was no big deal, and it left me right next to a K-Mart, and I'd been wanting to stop and stretch again anyway. Grabbed a 2-liter of orange soda while there, then got back on the road at 3 PM.
As I was coming up on Jacksonville IL, dad called. I think I was already into roaming territory at that point; the PCS network doesn't cover US-36 in western IL or eastern MO. So I turned the phone off.
About 4 PM, I crossed the Illinois River on the Eagle Bridges. It was something of a shock to come around a bend and see two huge soaring bridges arching up to the cliffs on the other side of the river. Sorry, no pictures, I was too busy not freaking out to do anything else. I don't like driving on bridges.
On the other side of the bridge, the terrain was a lot hillier. The main road surfacing for many miles was browntop, presumably using the crushed rock from the many hillside cuts for the blacktop. The shoulders were in normal gray blacktop, suggesting they were (re) paved at a later date. I tried taking a couple pictures of this while driving, but I'm guessing they'll be really blurry.
I soldiered on and crossed into Missouri around 5 PM. The bridge across the Mississippi was a lot less daunting than the more artistic Eagle Bridges. I initially tried the Super-8, which was atop a big hill with a great view, but there were a dozen or more people already waiting in line, and I didn't really feel like paying more for a view anyway. So I came back down to the EconoLodge, and got a nice room with no view but within a walk of a few places to eat. Too hot now to go eat, so I'll wait until sundown, I think. Maybe I'll work on killing the fly in my room while I wait. }->
Seven hours on the road and over 300 miles, whew. Tomorrow's only 190 miles plus however far the detour into Kirksville is, so I'll be able to take it easy.
Well, that was fun. I walked up to the shopping center, and then around back to where the new Wal-Mart Supercenter had been built up on a hill behind the center. Didn't buy anything, but was tempted by some knockoff Transformers at Big Lots on the way along the strip mall. Tried to find a shortcut down from the hill, and ended up walking through a lot of scrub grass. Had dinner at Hardee's, my first time eating at one since the SEESP thing in Madison in July 1999. Got a Monster Roast Beef: 4 oz of beef, 2 slices of cheese and 4 strips of bacon...heart attack on a bun.
Well, fed and exercised, I will just lie around and read before bed. Probably gonna swing by Kroger's before leaving town, to get some milk and a few things I noticed that I don't think are at Dillon's (like Creamette mini-wheel pasta).
Day 3 - June 30, 2002
Hannibal MO to Hiawatha KS by way of Kirksville.
After short stops at Kroger and McDonalds for breakfast fixings, I got out of Hannibal at 10 AM and immediately hit a long stretch of construction (no actual work being done on a Sunday, of course). They were extending the amount of 4-lane divided highway. Starting mileage 70647.
In Shelby County there was a Shelbyville and a Shelbina. A bit of overkill, yes? I hit Macon and detoured onto US-63 to go visit Kirksville. I was stuck behind an idiot in a gold minivan who insisted on going 50 mph in a 60 mph zone. After about 20 minutes I was finally able to pass him safely.
Once in Kirksville I realized I had mentally inverted the town from north to south, heh. I cruised through campus and snapped a few pictures (more trees and railings than 10 years ago, and a few new buildings). This was about noon.
Splash Page, the comic shop I used to go to, has become an internet-only business, and Reinhart's News (while still run by the same guy) has all but dropped comics in favor of more CDs and porn. Maybe the new Hastings Books on the north side has comics, but it's not exactly a walking-distance store for students.
On the good side, Pagliai's was still there, and almost unchanged. Had a Ronza for lunch, and it was just as good as I remembered the things. A Ronza is like a Calzone, baked and with a slightly sweet version of pizza sauce.
Wandered around town a bit more and took some pictures, hit the new Super Wal-Mart and bought some Gundam toys before heading out of town. Got stuck behind the SAME IDIOT going 50 mph on the way back, guess he finished his business in Kirksville just before I did.
Total time spent on the Kirksville detour, about two hours (one hour extra travel time, one hour in town). About 2PM I stopped at Sonic's in Brookfield MO (30 miles west of Macon) and got a chocolate Dr Pepper as recommended by David Bolack (Sonic's will put flavored syrups into your soda for an extra dime). It tasted like drinking a Tootsie Roll.
Passed by Chillicothe MO around 2:45, and at 3:15 or so I made a quick pitstop at a Wal-Mart in Cameron, just past the I-35 intersection. Didn't buy anything, the toy section was puny.
I rolled into St. Joseph at about 4 PM, and got onto the loop highway commercial strip in search of the Super-8 that was supposedly on it. After about 10 miles I hadn't found the Super-8 and didn't want to be too far from US-36, so I turned back. The hotels I passed on the way back down were kinda skeevy looking, so I decided to check the other side of town. SURPRISE! The other side of town is Kansas farmfields.
I soldiered on, and it was almost an hour before I found the first hotel on the road, PERIOD. Gahhhh. Fortunately, the Hiawatha Heartland Restaurant & Inn had reasonable prices and a nice room, although I had to wait an hour for it to be cleaned. Grabbed dinner at McD's across the street in the meantime.
In cellphone news, none of northern Missouri was in-network, but St. Joseph was. Sadly, despite Kansas supposedly ALL being in-network, Hiawatha is not. Sigh.
According to the Triptik, I have about 100 miles to go tomorrow.
Word To Go is just too laggy for words. I'm probably not going to use it again. What a waste of fifty bucks.
Day 4 - July 1, 2002
Hiawatha KS to Manhattan KS
Got up at 8, had a nice (if expensive) breakfast in the hotel's restaurant, which mainly seemed to be populated by local retirees who meet there for breakfast. I was on the road by 9:15, mileage reading 70960. I got to the K-99 turnoff at 10 AM and immediately ran into some construction that was not listed on the AAA webpage. A reduction to one lane because of resurfacing, long enough that they made us wait over 10 minutes just to get to go, then we moved at 25 mph behind a pilot car. Got free of it by 10:20, though. Just SEEMED like it took forever.
Hit Wamego at 11 AM and got on the last leg of US-24 into Manhattan, pulling into town around 11:20 or so. At this point I realized that I STILL wasn't in Verizon range. I later found that I was lied to by the guy who sold me the phone, and there's no Verizon service in Manhattan. Have to go halfway to Topeka to get in-region. After the movers come, I'll have a talk with Verizon service reps (assuming I can GET to them…my voicemail doesn't work here, I can't get at the messages). False advertising and all that. I suppose I'll switch to Sprint, sigh.
Final mileage was 71074, a reading of just over a thousand miles for the trip. Correcting for the known error in the odometer readings, that's still over 930 miles in four days, a longer trip than I've ever made by road myself…heck, the last time I was in a car for that long at one stretch was when Grandma drove me to New Mexico back in 1980.
Other than the phone fun, moving in was pretty easy today. It was about ten degrees cooler than expected, so I had an easy time of moving things from the car into the apartment. Lots and lots of space, although I'm going to need to get a few shelves for books that I want easy access to. And for Transformers to climb on. Picked up a few essentials, like a computer desk, shower curtain, kitchen trash cans, and a few other things. I think I need to get a kitchen tray thing to put on the keyboard shelf as a desk drawer. Not sure if it'll work well with the new iMac, though. But if it fails in that, I can always get a different desk…this desk only cost me $40.
Anyway, I can get a few channels on TV through the air right now, and the cable guy's coming tomorrow afternoon to hook up everything. My computer at work is very annoying, so I'll be glad to not have to do things there.