October 19, 2005
I’d planned on an easier day yesterday. Sioux Falls to Chicago. According to an online distance-checker, it was 474 miles. Well, the site was wrong by about 100 miles. Then I made the mistake of going through Chicago at rush hour. Bumper to bumper for 40 minutes or more. I’d been driving since 8:00 am. By now it was after sundown, I was hungry, Gus was ready to get out of the car, and my nerves were fraying from the craziness of the city. At one point I realized I had a train to my left, a plane flying overhead, and a sea of cars in front of and behind me; the cabin flashed in my mind: the wood stove crackling, the crickets peeping, the moon rising over Rattlesnake Ridge. It’s strange not to see fir trees everywhere. And I miss the smell of the canyon: that dry scent of madrone, bay laurel, Douglas fir.
After four days of driving, I finally found my maps! I’d put them in one of the backpacks. Now, though, I pretty much know where I am and where the road goes. I’m getting on I-80 East this morning. I’ll probably make one more overnight stop: Pennsylvania somewhere. Then home, though it’s really not.