I drive a 2013 Chevy Spark that is about the size of a postage stamp named Lorraine. On Sunday she was in great shape! As of Monday night, Lorraine had about $3,500 in damage- nearly the total value of the car.
November travel in the mid-west can be treacherous. It brings the official switch in weather, the harbinger of winter, and it’s mating season for deer. In fact, national auto insurance statistics place Wisconsin (#4), Iowa (#5), and Minnesota (#7) in the top 10 in the nation of likelihood for collision with deer.
Mom is in Illinois and I am in Minnesota. Any route I choose must go through Wisconsin or Iowa. Continue reading →
Tuesday, June 25 to Friday, June 28 ~ SC-NC-TN-KY-IN (803 miles)
Charleston, SC; Asheville, NC; Columbus, IN
Mom: “There’s nothing wrong with the South Carolina map. That Georgia map is made of cheap paper… probably peach skins…” (Free Georgia map rant continues)
Charleston, SC is only 107 miles northeast of Savannah, GA. They are considered the ‘sister cities of the south’ with a longstanding rivalry over which city is ‘better’. We spoke to a number of locals in Savannah and the consensus among them is that she is the younger, wilder sister. Their impression is that Charleston is more polished and uppity. We didn’t talk to any locals in Charleston to get their side of the story… What I will say about it is that Savannah feels smaller, more relaxed, and artsy. It is true that Charleston’s metropolitan population is twice the size of Savannah. So bigger city, more bustle. Continue reading →
Friday, June 21 to Monday, June 24 ~ FL-GA (496 miles)
Jacksonville, FL; Savannah, GA; Tybee Island, GA
Every trip has its ups and downs…
The trip from Pensacola to Savannah is a bit of a downer. Neither of us want to leave Pensacola yet. It is a special place for our family, full of happy memories, a beach escape from the vast fields of Illinois corn. But we have made a plan to also visit Savannah and Charleston. Mom is determined to stick to that plan, despite the two days we are short on travel due to our late start and early return.
We travel the interstate through the Florida panhandle, far from the coast and surrounded by thick green forest. We get to Tallahassee and mom announces she “wants to eat somewhere where they have tuna fish on tap.” And the search for the seafood restaurant marks the beginning of Lorraine’s bad behavior. Continue reading →
Tuesday, June 18, 2019 to Thursday, June 20 ~ AL-FL (315 miles)
Birmingham, AL; Mobile, AL; Pensacola, FL
If you pay attention to my route, you might ask why I drove 60 miles out of the way to Mobile, AL instead of cutting south on the direct route of Hwy 113/29. And the answer is simple: there is no Florida Welcome Center along that route and therefore no official Florida state map. Mom was determined to collect a state map from every welcome center as a souvenir. Also, the way we always and forever entered Florida was through Mobile, so for the sake of upholding tradition, sacrifices must be made. Continue reading →
Monday, June 17 to Tuesday, June 18, 2019 ~ TN-AL (212 miles)
Nashville, TN; Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament; Birmingham, AL
Today is mom’s 79th birthday.
At 450 miles, the drive yesterday from Peoria to Nashville is the longest stretch we attempt. It takes a lot of energy out of both of us, especially since I had come an additional 430 miles from Minneapolis and mom had chemo shots the previous week. This is going to be a short day and the mantra of our trip resonates: “Take it Easy”. Continue reading →
I head out in Lorraine, my jet-black Chevy Spark, on Friday morning down the familiar route through Iowa, the separation between the home of my birth (Illinois) and the home of my choice (Minnesota). I ponder the usual worries: Did I pack enough of the right things… Will the cats be OK? Will the apartment be safe? Will my car make the trip?
Minneapolis, MN; Duluth, MN; Two Harbors, MN; Grand Marais, MN; Thunder Bay, ON
It’s still under debate whether or not I had visited Thunder Bay, Ontario before last weekend’s trip. The confusion is about whether or not I was included in what family lore now refers to as the ‘vacation from hell’. I would have been less than one year in age, if I was alive at all, and somehow being present as an infant or a toddler with no memory of anything or anyone still counts as me having visited. For further explanation of that logic, I will refer you to my mother…
Mom has cancer, again. On May 23, 2018 she was given the diagnosis of Myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) which is a group of blood cancers sometimes referred to as ‘pre-leukemia’ and requires chemotherapy. Since the effects of the chemo on her life are yet unknown, she made the decision that she wanted one more vacation before she might become unable to travel. It had been about 45 years since her last trip to Thunder Bay and since I live in Minnesota, off we went. Continue reading →