The Migration Begins – The First 15 Hours
Wow, what a night. I just finished 15 hours of driving through
Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa and about a third of Nebraska.
I left home around 10:45am Tuesday morning after having breakfast with
my roomate, Adam, one last time. Driving through Michigan wasn’t at
all eventful and the same goes for Indiana.
As for Illinois, someone is going to get a kick in the balls (or
mammaries) for their Chicago area construction planning. I got stuck
in an “express lane” of some sort for several miles before I saw a
sign that said “No Exit to I-80” which was precisely my destination.
Having been lost in the Chicago area before, I wasn’t bound to let
this happen again. I happen to be fortunate enough that there was
just enough road between the end of “Express” and the exit to i-80
that I was able to bolt over 5 lanes within a few hundred feet to get
in line to pay the one toll I’ve had so far. Freakin’ Scary. The
rest of Illinois was just plain boring. Long straight highway over
Iowa wasn’t too much different at all. The weather was still overcast
with some sunlight peaking in here and there but just plain sucky. I
kept my mind busy tallying scores for different items like: Pieces of
Gum Chewed, Refueling stops, Rest Stops, State Troopers, Cow Farms,
construction sites and more! I will elaborate on this during a
As soon as I got into Nebraska, everything changed. It started
constantly raining. The road became very glossy and difficult to see
the lane markers and the wind started picking up a bit. Then the rain
calmed down and I started to see a lot of lightning in the distance
but had not been able to find any weather reports to find out what I
was getting into this evening. As the miles wore on, the rain grew
heavier, the wind stronger and the lightning was playing havoc with my
radio reception. At this point, I pulled over near an underpass
behind two other vehicles because the crosswind seemed to get
dangerously strong. I tried to bring up my GPS and map to find out
where I was so I could listen to the weather report and see how bad it
was going to get, but my cell and gps both could not get signal.
Crap! I had a general idea on the map, but I hadn’t seen any road
signs for miles so I wasn’t entirely certain.
After waiting for the wind to die down, I decided to hit the road
again and was rewarded soon afterwards with calmer winds and less
rain. In fact, the rain had stopped completely and the lightning had
moved to a different spot on the horizon. I even called my friend
Davecat to talk to him about it since I was getting pretty freaked out
over the possibility of a chance tornado encounter. No sooner had it
seemed like the weather was going to be OK, the frequency of lighting
in my immediate horizon became so short that it strobed. At this
point I got Davecat off the phone, the rain picked up and within a
couple of minutes, it was raining so hard I had to slow down into
second gear and get into a rest stop that came up at exactly the right
moment. No sooner had I stepped out of my car that hail started to
When I think of hail in Michigan, I think of grains of rice size.
Hail in Nebraska has been known to get to GOLF BALL SIZE during this
time of the year. Great. Tonight, however, it only got to be green
pea sized. Still, it was heavy enough and so much of it in a few
minutes I started to worry about the damage my poor car may suffer.
I got Davecat on the phone AGAIN, because at this point, I was pretty
freaked out about the turn of events and the possiblity of DEATH. I
got pretty soaked in the 20 feet I ran from my car to the restroom
pavilion at the rest stop and was getting a bit cold since I was only
wearing shorts, t-shirt and sandals. My raingear was all in a crate
on top of my car that is impossible to get to until I take my bike off
the roof and cut the sealing duct-tape. Not going to happen.
After about 20 minutes, the rain seemed to calm down again, the hail
had stopped after 5 minutes and I had chatted up a really young couple
that was traveling from Ohio to Idaho to go work on a co-op farm for 3
That does it, I was heading to hotel. I was pretty awake and alert and
would have driven straight through the night but I was scared, cold
and a bit of a nervous reck.
I drove to the nearest town of Grand Island and checked into a Holiday
since the two cheaper motels of Super 8 and Howard Johnson were both
out of non-smoking rooms nor had internet access. Oh well, a bit more
money to spend but I will get a better rest out of it.
And so, my wear mind bids thee good night. Tomorrow, the journey
Drive time: 15 hours out of an estimated 35 until destination.