Just for kicks, and because I’m a little too tired to write anything deep and meaningful, here is a travel log for our journey from yesterday.
2:30 AM – My daughter wakes up, convinced it is time to get going to see “Mimi” (her grandmother). No amount of reassuring, scolding or threatening will make her go back to sleep.
3:00 AM – Aileen and I give up, figuring that if we are going to be awake, we may as well be awake and driving.
3:40 AM – We pull out of the driveway and make a critical decision. Instead of taking the Detroit route, as we had planned, we will take the Buffalo route. It is a new route but one which promises to be less-boring than the terribly uninteresting drive through London, Windsor, Detroit and Northern Ohio. Instead we will cross the border in Buffalo, head to Cleveland and cut across Ohio diagonally towards Cincinnati.
3:41 AM – My daughter says, “I’m gonna puke!” We assure her that it would be a very bad idea.
4:40 AM – Almost at the border, we pass a road called Sodom Road. I wonder aloud who came up with that name.
4:49 AM – We cross the border. The guard asks us our citizenships, where we are going, how long we will be in the United States, whether I own the vehicle I’m driving, whether we are driving or flying and what we will be leaving in the United States. Finally he says, “okay” and nods his head in the direction of America. I assume this means we can go.
5:04 AM – I note that there are several planks lying in the road. They look like they are about a half-inch thick, a foot wide and several feet long. A few of them are whole, while others are smashed into pieces. For the next hour I am continually dodging these planks, sometimes successfully, sometimes not, that had obviously flown off the back of a trailer driven by a trucker who was unaware that he was leaving his load all across Northern New York.
6:06 AM – Immediately before we cross into Pennsylvania, we pay a $2.10 toll for the privilege of driving in New York. I give my wife a high-five, a bizarre tradition we began many, many years ago for every time we cross a state border. Neither of use remembers how it started or why we do it. Both kids are fast asleep.
6:49 AM – We pass into Ohio. High fives all around. Soon after, the children wake up. Aileen reads me a chapter of a biography of Rick Warren that had shown up in the mail the day before. I remark on my love for review copies of books and on the ability of some authors to write so much based on so little fact.
8:14 – 8:28 AM – We pull off the highway to refuel ($28.00) and use a rather nasty bathroom in a gas station. So far we have driven 460 kilometers. After we hit the highway, I put on a CD reading of The Life of David Brainerd by Jonathan Edwards (Part one of three). Aileen and I soon engage in discussion on the Puritan-tradition’s love of introspection and how much deeper their knowledge of God was than the average Christian’s today. We also decide that Brainerd may have been riding the “highs too high” and subsequently the “lows too low.”
9:50 AM – About 30 minutes north of Columbus, Ohio, traffic stops dead. Over the next few minutes, we inch forward and begin to see cars pulling across the median and heading back in the opposite direction. We decide to hang-tight for the time-being, since we have no idea where we are, and while we are not moving, at least we’re not lost. I pull out the biography of Rick Warren and read the final two chapters.
10:14 AM – A woman in the car behind us tells us that there was a shootout on the highway ahead and that an officer is down. We note that no cars are coming from the opposite direction, so that the highway must be shut down in both directions. A few more people turn around and head back – we stay put.
10:52 AM – Almost exactly one hour after stopping, a female trucker who had tried to cross the median but gotten hopelessly stuck, tells us that the police are warning that the highway will be closed for the next three to four hours. She gives us directions on how to bypass the section of highway. We successfully cross the median, drive back one exit, and take a detour through a beautiful section of rural Ohio. We estimate that the entire debacle cost us close to two hours.
12:04 – 12:36AM – We stop for lunch at what must be the Southern-most Tim Horton’s restaurant in America. We eat at ham sandwiches at the picnic tables outside and do not spend any money. Before hitting the highway we once more stop to satisfy the van’s insatiable thirst for gasoline.
2:02 AM – We cross the bridge in downtown Cincinnati, thus crossing into Kentucky. High-fives follow. We bemoan the fact that we are now running almost two hours later than we had anticipated, but feel guilty for fussing, knowing that a police officer has been shot in the line of duty.
4:44 PM – We cross into Tennessee, not having stopped in Kentucky. High fives, etc. We put on a Jamie Soles CD for the children.
5:34 – 6:14 PM – We stop at a Chik-Fil-A restaurant in Knoxville and enjoy the chicken and waffle fries. As is our tradition, we bemoan the fact that this particular chain has not made its way far enough to the north. The kids spend a few minutes playing in the playground area. My daughter gets stuck, so Aileen has to climb into the playground. We top up with fuel and hit the road, hoping that we will not stop again until we reach Atlanta. We put on some silly children’s tapes that are surprisingly entertaining, even to the adults.
7:52 PM – We skirt around Chattanooga and cross the Georgia border. This will be the final high-five of the journey.
8:49 PM – We finally exit the I-75.
8:54 PM – We arrive at my parent’s house, safe and sound. Total time of the journey is 16 hours, 14 minutes. The total distance works out to be 1478 km.