Well we made it back home last night from our vacation driving tour of the Midwest. Since Gorgeous and I don’t have any children we normally fly whenever we go more than about 10 hours away but we decided to change it up a bit this time by driving up to her parents house in Wisconsin.
And yes we took advantage of the opportunity to make a few stops along the way.
Since I’m all about learning from my life experiences I thought I’d catalog a few things I learned along the way as I get back into the swing of things here at home.
Books on Tape are wonderful – Neither Gorgeous nor I had ever listened to a book on tape before. She bought three of them at some discount outlet mall to give it a try. We found them to be a wonderful way to eat up the miles (and the hours) of driving. Just pop in the first tape and before you know it you’ve gone five or six hours. Good stuff.
Driving in the daylight is more fun – But it makes it harder to spend time with people. Since people were our priority on this trip we ended up doing a fair amount of driving after dark. It wasn’t as much fun as driving during the day because there was less to see.
Farmers are using some interesting technology – One of the couples we went to the water park to meet are crop farmers in rugged Western Australia. I had a fascinating conversation with our friends from down under learning about hight tech things like GPS steering on tractors and rain capturing planting techniques. They can produce a decent crop on only 4 inches of rain during the growing season!
I have a 10 hour driving butt – The longest leg of our journey was about 15.5 hours this trip. After about 10 hours both Gorgeous and I were squirming in our seats longing to be done with the driving for the day. I think the next time we will try to keep the trip to 10 hour max chunks.
Indiana is boring – Gorgeous had another word for it, but I don’t think she was being quite fair. We drove through the state at night one time and in a drizzling rain the other time. Even so I-65 through Indiana is one of the more boring stretches of road I’ve been on, straight and flat. I personally think that I-16 from Savannah to Macon is worse with nothing much to see but cotton fields. But we were on I-65 much longer than the three hours it takes to get through the boring stretch of I-16.
Bridges freeze before roadways – They had unseasonably warm weather while we were in Wisconsin. The only real freeze they had was the night before we left. It was the first in about a month for them. Apparently a lot of folks forgot that important safety tip because we must have passed 7 or 8 accidents in the first two hours of our trip before the sun warmed things up enough to fix the problem.
Milwaukee does a great job with traffic flow, mostly – We drove through the city at least four times this trip and I was bragging on what a good job they do with traffic flow. They have traffic lights at the on ramps of the highways to meter the traffic flow to keep things moving. Then when we were trying to leave to come home they had closed off I-43. No signs. Just a couple police cars blocking the highway forcing traffic to head west toward Madison. We didn’t want to go west, we wanted to go south.
We assumed it must have been a bad wreck on the merge ramp so we turned around and tried the other ramp. Same deal. And that one forced us to get off the highway downtown. When we tried to get back on the highway via yet another ramp we were again forced to go west toward Madison by yet another police car. Still no signs or any explanation. We turned around again and this time I pulled up next to the police car and asked the officer how to get south. We had to go west to a bypass around the city to get south.
A little signage would have saved us about 30 frustrating minutes of circling Milwaukee.
Hotels with hot tubs make great stopping points – After several hours in a car, 15 minutes in a hot tub feels absolutely wonderful. Mmmmmm…..
You can learn a bunch if you just keep your eyes open. I think we’ll fly the next trip up to Wisconsin. But driving was a good change up. And yes I think we’ll do it again.