"Maybe we'll find a roadside stand," says Joe wistfully, "so I can buy some apples." That's his whole requirement for the weekend. I'm going on and on about the things I want to do when I get to Macomb--visit the boutiques on the square, visit Higgins Hall (our old dorm), go to the Union to buy some WIU-wear, eat at Jackson Street Pub, drive out to Lake Argyle.........it was nearly endless. For Joe, all he wanted was some apples. And it's not like Western Illinois is exactly known for it's apple picking. Corn, I could see, but apples?!
We fought the last time we drove out the WIU. As usual, I go one way, Joe goes the other. We are complete and total opposites, and if we head out somewhere, it will nearly always end up in a heated discussion on which way to go. This time was no different.
"Last time we took 80" he starts, "and you were mad." Yeah, I was mad. Taking I-80 totally misses the point in taking a fall drive. It is a 4-lane mega-highway with the nearest farm 2 miles away. There are no cows to wave to, no chickens darting out in the street, no townies to smile at. The countryside is corn, corn, corn, soybean, corn--all flying by us at 65 miles per hour. It is a blur that puts my eyelids on "heavy". All there is to see is the back of semi's and maybe stop at some lame rest area once or twice. It is closed up windows with the air conditioning on. Yuck.
Fall scenic drives scream 2-lane roads to me. Blue highways. Getting close to the folks and their farms. It is looking at cows up close and mooing like idiots at them. It is driving fast enough to make some time, but slow enough to have your windows open with your hand doing that "flying" thing. It is whipping the apple cores out into quiet corn fields. It is smelling pigs up close and stopping at roadside stands to buy pumpkins and indian corn. It is actually seeing farmer's laundry on the line and coming to a rural stop sign out in the middle of nowhere. That's the trip I wanted to take.
So, the last time we fought like the dickens, and this time, Joe succumbed and took 136. And he liked it. The 3 hour and 45 minute drive turned into a whole morning adventure. I'm not sure how long it took us to get to our destination, but who cared? We stopped at Dixie Trucker's Home for a few crack-ups. We were stopped in the middle of some major cornfield acreage to wait for construction trucks to do whatever nearly a half mile away. We nearly lost our lives at the roadside stand, now lovingly referred to as "Satan's Lair" (but more on that later). We laughed and reminisced. We felt the warm breeze and drove slowly. We actually bought apples. And pumpkins. We breathed smelly pig air and forgot about the time.
When we pulled into town, warm and happy from the adventure and the experience, Joe turned to me and smiled, "We're takin' 80 home" were the words from his mouth. Ugh.