Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Travel Tale, or An Adventure in Attending a Funeral

Travel Tale:

We left Indy around 2pm. There were light flurries and the temp was dropping. Somewhere near Lieber State recreational area, the skies cleared off and we got to see wild turkeys in some open fields. Really neat!

The weather started to turn when we got close to Terre Haute
After we crossed the Illinois state line, things got really interesting with lots of white outs, less traffic and we saw two semi's on the shoulder of the road, one of which had been rear-ended.

The state police closed I70 at IL route 130 in Greenup
We were routed onto US 40 and got to travel a new (for us) section of the National Road. We saw a nice little fair grounds, a covered bridge, some cool older homes and lots of little towns. There were volunteer fire fighters and various town constables at some cross roads, directing traffic so that we stayed on route 40.

Teutopolis, IL is where we got to sit for two hours. This village boasts a high school, a very pretty Catholic church (St. Francis of Assisi) a used car lot, some bars (closed due to weather) a variety of stores and two gas stations. Eventually, we got to the edge of town and found a small yet steep hill with a jack-knifed semi blocking it. Since there was a corn field with an access road right next to us and we needed a pit stop, D turned the truck and round and we went to the Marathon station. We all took a restroom break. Georgie-girl got to stroll around the parking lot (the wind was really bad) and since the Subway sandwich part of the station was closed, we got back in the truck and moved over to the Casey's General Store. They had fresh made pizza by the slice. It was hot, so it was good.

After sitting for 2.5 hours, talking and texting with various people (trying to find an alternate route because we wanted to move somewhere, anywhere), the hill was cleared and traffic started to move. According to the nice people at the general store, the ONLY road into Effingham was route 40. So, we were stuck being in a conga line of traffic that was stopping and starting at random intervals while folks slipped and slid down that untreated hill.

We managed to get back on I70 near the big cross There were some slick spots, some more white outs and lots of wind as we continued west on I 70. Near Vandalia, IL the weather started to settle down. It was still windy, but there was not as much blowing and drifting snow.

We continued on to Collingswood erm, Collingdale OK, I was really tired and couldn't say the name of our destination right after 6 hours in a truck. We took the first exit for Collinsville, and called to the hotel. Found out we needed to get back on the interstate and go to the next Collinsville exit. Arrived at the Motomart near the hotel and got some bottled water so I could take my meds. Checked in at hotel where Georgie-girl was greeted with enthusiasm and we were given a special hang tag for our room door to let the staff know there was a dog in residence. (extra coolness!) I took my meds, we visited with friends, then hubby went in search of food with friends while the pooch and I lounged on a bed, looking over a knitting book because I really needed to decompress and had zero desire to get back into a car or truck.

We sat up visiting, (holding a wake) until 1am which is when folks decided sleep was in order since we needed to be at the funeral home later that morning. Had a decent night's sleep, got up and enjoyed a huge bowl of oatmeal with strawberries and a glass of cranberry juice. Helped hubby eat his hash browns and a slice of bacon. Then it was time to get dressed up and head over to the funeral home.

The visitation time was nice. We got to meet up with Gene's family and they are very sweet folks. The service had a message of remembering to celebrate our friend's life. It was short and sweet. Then came the drive to Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery. This place is large and very busy. The graveside ceremony was brief and chilly. The funeral home brought along stadium blankets to put on the benches and over the knees of the family.

Georgie-girl was not happy about the salute. She's not a fan of firearms. I petted her and said whoa each time I heard the slide of a round being jacked into place. She pressed back against my legs and against Gene's cousin (who I was sitting next to). The bugler played taps, then the service was over.

We had another hour long drive back into town where we stopped at a friend's house for supper and around 7:30pm, hubby and I returned to the hotel to change into travel clothing, load our stuff and get back on the interstate to head home.

The roads were clear, dry and there was little to no sign of the bad weather until we got to the stretch that had been closed down. 9 semi's were off the road. One was on it's side in the median and one had rolled over. Once we were east of Greenup, IL, there were no more trucks off the road. We made it back to Indy around 11pm and unloaded our stuff. The pooch was very happy to be home and the cats were happy to see us.