When I was in my twenties and living and going to school out in Oregon, I drove cross-country more than once, setting all kinds of personal speed records. (This was back in the day when Montana and Wyoming allowed you to set your own speed limit provided it was "reasonable" for the road conditions.) With three drivers, I could get door to door, a distance of 2500 miles, in 48 hours, stopping only for gas, food to eat in the car, and bathroom breaks.
Now that was driving. But again, I was in my 20s when I did that.
I don't pretend that I am in my 20s. Or my 30s or 40s or 50s. I'm 60. I was not guaranteed I would ever reach 60, so I relish being 60. And at 60, I know my limitations, be they physical, mental, emotional, or any combination thereof.
So what was I doing driving cross-country across Indiana on US 30 at 11:30 p.m. last night, arriving home in Delaware close to 3:00 a.m. this morning?
Warren and I had the best of intentions. I was at Mayo earlier this week, we were supposed to leave Monday afternoon, and arrive home Tuesday early after a night in Oak Park. But more testing was ordered late in the day, which meant staying in Rochester a second night. By arriving early and taking a seat in a waiting area for over three hours on Tuesday, I managed to benefit from a cancellation and move my afternoon appointment to mid-morning, allowing us to leave the fair City of Medicine at noon. Great! With steady driving, we would be home before midnight, stopping briefly at Oak Park to retrieve items we had left for our return trip.
Well, that was the plan. And it held firm until we hit the worst ever traffic tie-up in west Chicago. WORST EVER. It took us over an hour to crawl two miles. (I clocked it.) The cause was a badly damaged tanker; we saw tow trucks (plural) hauling it away. And the result was over two hours lost over a handful of miles.
We had a decision to make. Do we stay at Oak Park for a few hours, rest, and then drive some more? Or do we just keep driving? The latter won out, despite the little voice in my head screaming, "ARE YOU NUTS? ARE YOU CRAZY?" We stopped for 10 minutes in Oak Park to gather our goods, and then resumed the drive.
Goodbye, Chicago. Goodbye, Skyway. Hello, Indiana.
I drove a major chunk of Indiana, from Merrillville in the west to Warsaw in the east. That was so Warren could rest and drive the last leg into Ohio and home. To entertain myself, I softly sang show tunes, an old, old fallback from those long ago marathon drives. Once Warren took over, I fell into a numb trance, not quite awake, not quite asleep, just counting down the miles.
It is just past noon on Wednesday as I write this. I have been awake and up for some four hours, after about five hours of sleep. Warren went to work; I called off. My body is reminding me sharply that I am not 20. Or any other age than the 60 I am.
But it is a beautiful fall day out. And I am home.