Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Thanksgiving Road Trip: Chicago

I've never traveled for Thanksgiving or Christmas.  The exception was when I was in College and I would go home for the Holidays.  My grandparents all lived within 20 minutes of my home, my sibling lives in the same town, and for the past 19 years of marriage my in-laws have graciously joined our family for Thanksgiving.

This year we decided to live on the edge and travel for Thanksgiving with all the kids to see the Grands and my sister/brother in law in Chicago.  While we'd miss my parents, we considered it an adventure; a vacation in November!

Since the kids didn't have school Wednesday, we decided to pull a late night and leave right after school on Tuesday. The weather was perfect with temperatures in the 50's and clear skies.

At least until about 7:30 (a few miles outside Des Moines, Iowa) when all of a sudden it got Foggy.  Dense Fog.  The kind that means you can't see anything on the road. Who knew truckers used their flashers in fog to alert drivers of their presence on the road.

Now here is where the story gets a little funny; you see we weren't sure what was going on.  Was it a snowstorm, fog or smoke from "Forest fire?"  According to certain members of the family, my sweet husband might have said " I wonder if this is a Forest Fire." and I rolled down my window.  However, that is up for debate. Not the window part.  He claims that he said it might be smoke from a controlled burn.

Anyway, I guess in the middle of a Iowa Cornfield near a large body of water (Mississippi River), there can be an issue with fog.  Fog so deep that we even missed our dinner stop at the Iowa City Mall aka Chic Fil A in the food court.  Not too worry, we turned back as our bellies were empty and our worry was thick.

After reading the Weather Channel updates on P's phone about  "Dense Fog," we decided to travel a bit further down the road hoping our happy tummies would make the road easier to bear.  By Davenport, we decided this was crazy and pulled off at a Best Western thinking we would call it a night.

Now I must admit I was the fieriest proponent of stopping and spending the night in a hotel.  I was worried about the rest of the trip and how long my husband could drive in this fog.  I might have regretted that I couldn't knit in this weather either, but don't judge me!  However, as I was checking in at the hotel so was a nice gentleman who had just come from Illinois. When he heard our tale of "fog," he told of how it wasn't bad in the land of Lincoln.  It was just an Iowa issue.  He might have promised that once we crossed the Mississippi and got on the Illinois 88 Tollway that it'd be blue skies and stars.

Of course, Mr C was in the back seat of the van working his magic to convince the girls that going on to Chicago was the best choice, P was talking to the Chicago Traveler and looking at weather, and I was just thrilled that the hotel had a nice bathroom.

Needless to say our desire to get to Chicago and our want to be there soon won.  We journeyed on.  We claimed that this trip would go down in our Family Lore as the "Trip to Chicago in the Fog," a story that Mr C and Miss A and M would be telling their children and grandchildren.  At least if we got there safely.  Which we did.

However I must say that Mr C talks a much bigger game than he delivers.  Within minutes of telling his sisters to "buck it up," he was sound asleep.  That fog that the Chicago Traveler had convinced us stayed at the Iowa/Illinois Border followed us all the way to Bestemor and Besterfar's House (though not as dense).  It did however let up for about 2.4 seconds when P crossed over Dixon IL (Land of Ronald Reagan) and said POOF.  For at least a few seconds, the fog lifted.

Not the best start to my first ever Thanksgiving Road Trip; but one that I'm sure will stand the test of time when it comes to storytelling!

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