Driving from St. Louis to Charlottesville, VA was not nice. I got of out St. Louis with no problems and even remarked to myself what a nice, fairly empty interstate I-64 was.
Now, I had seen signs in St. Louis saying that the I-64 bridge from IN to KY was closed. I even tried to find out why by Googling it, but really got no answers. Figured if it were that big and important, there would be large Detour signs directing me which was to go. There were – plus lots of rain most of the way.
The I-64 bridge was built by the same company that built the bridge in MN that collapsed several years ago killing quite a few. This bridge was about to do the same thing, so they shut it down before anything really bad happened – a good thing. They then directed all traffic coming into Louisville to take the I-71 bridge over the river to hook back up with I-64. But this day a big, honkin’ tractor trailer was going around the curve to the ‘detour bridge’ and ran off the ramp. He did that is mid-morning and at 3:30 p.m. he was still stuck. So no traffic going over that bridge – just big flashing signs saying ‘use another route.’ But I’m not from here? What other route?
I pulled off and as luck would have it a very nice State Patrol officer was coming out of the Kwick Stop as I was walking in with my Atlas in hand. He just gave me an ironic smile and too the time to show me the only other way to get out of town, across the river and back onto I-64 East. He said it would take some time and maneuvering once I got back on the interstate, but it was my only option. “Some time” was 2 1/2 hours at almost a dead stop, slowly inching my way down the longest on-ramp I have every seen and back onto the interstate – in the pouring rain and what was now rush hour in downtown Louisville!!!
When I finally got out of the mess and once more headed east, I was still 3 1/2 hours from my destination and hotel reservation for the night. About 1 hour into that drive, the skies literally opened – I couldn’t see 2 feet in front of me, except when bolts of lightening almost hit the car. So I made the wise decision and just pulled into a Red Roof Inn which was directly off the next exit in Lexington, KY. I ordered pizza (tipped the poor delivery man well for having to come out on such a terrible night) finished the 1/2 bottle of wine Ellen had insisted I take with me, and watched the series premier of one of my favorite shows, Castle.
Was up and going at 5 a.m. the next morning to be able to get to Charlottesville, VA at a decent time. Rolled into Deb and Tom’s late 1800’s Virginia farmstead about 2 p.m. and asked if I could take a nap! Which I did before joining them for a delicious dinner hosted by Tom’s mom, the artist Paula Chrispman, in her beautiful apartment with an expansive view of the Shenandoah Valley.
Since Tom and Deb and darling daughter Georgia start their days very early – work, school, volunteering – my day also started early and I was actually happy and a bit sad to realize that this was going to be my last day on-the-road. My cross-country trip which had started August 1st actually ended at 2:30 p.m. on September 21st when I pulled back into my drive in Wilmington.
In those 52 days I thought a lot, learned a lot about myself and made some really major decisions. But to find out what they are you’ll have to wait….
Until the next time.