Traffic and Tolls Through the City of Big Shoulders, and the Sadness of Driving Toward “Home”

From Wisconsin, I headed south, picking up wet-naps, laundry soap, and floss at a Love’s truck stop. (This sort of “shopping” made me feel a little more a part of the road!) Once upon a time, I lived in Chicago and coached sailing there. But it wasn’t this city of traffic and tolls ($19.70 on the Skyway, plus $2.80 in Indiana right after that!) that pulled at my heart. Though I will always say that the White Sox’s home is truly one of the great cities of the world.

No, it was coming into Michigan that brought on the melancholy. I called Michigan home for a number of years, and some of the most important people in my life live there. The kind of people that become family. And I wouldn’t be seeing them. I tried every which way to find a schedule to fit in the visits, but I knew I had to stop for work commitments, and I had a number of things I still needed to check off the travel list for writing commitments (including an article on farm visits and a bit on my upcoming scuba adventure in the Straits of Mackinac).

So as I passed into the Mitten State, my spirits dropped. I was in the heart of summer—Michigan offering the Platonic ideal of the season. Green like the first green, woods to make one think of family roadtrips “up north,” a mild warmth of just the right gold ... with fireflies and small towns and fields of growing things.

And I’d miss sharing it with a number of people I love.

I pressed on (I’d had to stop in Gary, Indiana, to hit the hot spot and attend to a work issue, so I used work to stay focused and push away the loneliness). When I hit my Harvest Hosts stop for the night, I did receive some consolation. The Lucky Girl Brewing Co. in Paw Paw, Michigan, has a great retro, pin-up-girl, WWII vibe, super-friendly staff, and some ultra-tasty pretzel sticks and crab cakes ... and unreal ice-cream pops. So while my heart felt a bit empty, my stomach was full for the night.

(P.S. For the past two nights, Wix has not allowed me to upload pics. Very frustrating. So these posts lack the color I wish they had.)

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