Good evening and welcome to the Comfort Inn and Suites in DeForest, Wisconsin. We left our hotel in Streetsboro, Ohio this morning a little after 8:30. During the course of the day we traveled from Ohio, to Indiana, to Illinois, to Wisconsin…another 4 state day for us. We pulled into the hotel tonight right around 4:45 PM. Not bad for a 503 mile day! Oh, if you’re trying to do the math on that, and came up with an average speed for us of like 98 MPH, you need one more piece of information. As we crossed from Indiana into Illinois, we also crossed from the Eastern time zone to the Central time zone. Our 4:45 arrival was really 5:45 in our former time zone!
Today we also left our old friend Route 80 and transitioned to Interstate 90, which will be our home for the next several days. We left the hotel without partaking in their free “Continental Breakfast” this morning, and during one of our driver switches/bathroom breaks, Susie dug out our usual beach snack, cheese crackers. It was only then that she discovered that she bought the wrong ones for herself. Rather than peanut butter on cheese crackers, we had cheese on cheese crackers. Oh well, next purchase we’ll get it right! Lunch was at a rest area and was one of our staples on any road trip…ham and cheese rollups and Ritz crackers. Snacks were very nice Strawberry Twizzlers..one of our favorite car snacks!
A couple of words on the roads we traveled today. The first is that obviously the word for today is CONSTRUCTION. Well, really it’s two words, Road Construction! It appears that most of the roads in the Midwest are getting repaired or totally rebuilt! From the Ohio Turnpike, to the Indiana Toll Road, right through Illinois and Wisconsin. Mile after mile of “Road Work Ahead” signs. Even some that were just feet after an “End Roadwork” sign! Oh my God!!!
The second thing we must say about our travels today is that the state of Indiana should be ashamed for what they laughingly call the Indiana Toll Road! What a horrible mess!! Mile after mile under construction with only one lane open and with a 45 MPH speed limit. (Which ultimately became 35-40 MPH due to trucks driving uphill!). Then the rest areas…two out of the four don’t exist! Signs that say “Rest Area Closed” as you come to the exit for the alleged rest area. Roads going off and coming back on, but then nothing. They apparently just obliterated any trace of the rest area…buildings, gas stations, parking places. Don’t know if this is the way Indiana “re-builds”, but it really puts a crimp in your plans if you want to switch drivers or God forbid, need to go to the bathroom!!!! The real stick in the eye is that even though this is Interstate 80, YOU PAY TO DRIVE ON THIS ROAD!!! We ended up adding close to an hour to our travels today thanks to the condition of this road! We really should have known what was ahead when the “Welcome to Indiana” sign was missing, and we were greeted by two naked poles as we entered the state!
So today Susie ended up driving through Chicago, thanks to the fact that the last rest area on the Indiana Toll Road was CLOSED!! The last time we were in Chicago was a couple of years ago when youngest son Kenny was working at the Wagon Wheel Theater in Warsaw, Indiana doing the Jean Shepard show, Christmas Story, the Musical. That was the time we stupidly attempted to see the house my Grandparents lived in on the South Side of Chicago, and thought we were going to die for our efforts. Today we just went through the city on the Interstate and kept on going…as well as we could with the road construction!!!
Today was real Kenny day, because just before our day ended we drove by another one of Kenny’s stops, Janesville, Wisconsin. A couple of years ago, Kenny did two shows at the Armory Theater in Janesville, Wedding Singer and Miracle on 34th Street. That year. the whole family (Krissi, Billy and Lori…there were no little D’Elias yet) traveled to see him in Wedding Singer in October, and then just Susie and I came back in December to see him in Miracle on 34th Street. So between those trips, and a trip Susie and I made before we even had kids, to the Midwest and the Wisconsin Dells, we’ve been here before!
As we left the state of Illinois and entered Wisconsin, we also left EzPass territory. As of tomorrow, any tolls we come across until we are back on the East Coast will be paid in hard cash! Tomorrow we enter new territory, and if plans go right, tomorrow night you can read about our visit to the Spam Museum!!!
Dinner tonight was at a place called Norske Nook Restaurant and Bakery. Since we are in Wisconsin, we had to start with Fried Cheese Curds! We both had great looking sandwiches on bread that they make right on the premises. The list of pies (as you can see above) is extensive. A couple of to-go pieces somehow ended up in the car. We will report tomorrow!
Two pictures before we leave you tonight. It was Boat Day on Interstate 80 today. Here are both ends of the spectrum!
Oh, and we came across a house on the road, when Susie was driving today!!!
See you tomorrow!!