The rain continued to come day on Friday morning. The plan was to pack up and drive all day until we reached home. Vacation was just about over for us. This was our last day on the road.
After showers and packing up, we went down to load up the car one last time. Pulling out of the garage, we got out onto the streets of Memphis. I headed south before I realized that I really wanted to go north to get across the bridge to West Memphis. The navi saved us and got us out to the expressway without going too much out of the way. Thanks, Navi.
Traffic was a little heavy. The rain was light so it wasn’t causing things to slow down much. The road curved to the west and led us over the river. A white Ford Escape in the left lane was driving well under the speed limit. The driver was talking on the phone. I bet he had no idea he was causing a traffic jam as everyone was trying to get around him.
We stopped in the West Memphis service plaza to grab breakfast. My thinking was that we ate well here and make it down the road a good ways before we need to stop for a meal. The restaurant we picked had a breakfast buffet with just about everything you could want. Sylvia, our waitress, got Rich a couple of eggs over easy. She also brought a full coffee pot to the table. We could fill our cups as we liked. After eating, I filled the travel mug from the pot. This was convenient.
Rick and I went through the shop to look around while waiting for Rich to make a stop. Halfway through my round, I realized I had forgotten the travel mug on the table. I hurried back to the restaurant just as Sylvia came out looking for me. I thanked her profusely since Rich would have been unhappy not to have coffee for the trip back.
Back in the car, we headed into Arkansas with the rest of the northbound traffic. It was pretty much uneventful. The flood waters stopped a few miles north of Memphis. I pulled into the Missouri Welcome Center after driving for a couple of hours. It was time for Rich to take over. I took a nap. With my sinus unhappy from the wind and dust in New Orleans, I needed to rest.
About 2:00 PM, Rich decided the car needed gas and he was empty as well. I’m not even sure where we were. We found a gas station and a Hardee’s next door. As we waited for our food, a group of guys were finishing up and I heard one of them say, “I haven’t seen a Hardee’s around in a while.” The manager asked where he was from. The guys answered, “Illinois.” I swear that he pronounced all of the letters in the name. Do people from the state actually say it that way? I know Southerners tend to say it that way. I thought it was very funny.
We got back on the road and headed toward home again. Somewhere around Champaign, we pulled into a rest area to take a break. In the rest room, a group of 10 to 12 year old girls huddled in front of the door and hand dryers. What do you call a group of girls like that? I was thinking a gaggle. I’m sure there is a good name that fits. When I looked it up, the closest was a bevy of ladies. Naw, that doesn’t work.
Rick took the wheel and got us a little further up the road. I got to sit in the back seat and read. I always love when I can read from here. I snuggled in and got comfy. Before I knew it, it was a couple of hours later and Rick was pulling into the last rest area before hitting the Chicago area. As he was pulling, three buses were pulling into the truck lanes. One bus was pulling into the car parking. We parked ourselves and made a break for the bathrooms to beat the worst of the crowd. I made to be third in line, even though I can’t run.
Getting back out of the bathroom proved to be more of a challenge than getting in. I had to wind my way through girls standing in the hallway to get to the sink. At the door, I had to almost shout excuse me at the top of lungs to get out again. The girls in line wouldn’t part ways to get through. Did they really think I was trying to cut line to go again? There were kids standing everywhere in the rest area lobby. Why were they all standing around in here? It’s nice outside. Go out there and walk around!
In the car, it was my turn to drive us to the house. Traffic was tight and rush hour was going to make it tighter. A fender bender on the eastbound side of I-80 was causing traffic to be slow on the westbound. I’m always amazed that rubbernecking causes so much trouble. There was no blood. Once past the accident, the traffic picked up and moved down the road.
It was getting pretty dark by the time we got into the Schaumburg area. Rich was planning to stop for chicken in Palatine. I really had a taste for hot and sour soup. Since I was getting this anyway, it was decided to come on in to home and get food from there. We arrived home about 7:00. Yes, we had made it. The guys picked out food while I started to unpack the car. The order was called in and everything was brought into the living room. There was time to get everything into its own place later.
The guys went after the food while I settled into my chair and took a lot of deep breaths. Home always feels so good. One more Zurek Family Vacation in the books and ready to be written about in a blog.