18. September, 2007 - Clicking the heels on my ruby slippers

I know a few of you might be surprised to see an entry today. I was on vacation, one of the ones I’ve been looking forward to for years, driving down US 61 (actually, I followed the Great River Road more closely), stopping and seeing whatever I might find interesting along the way.

I’ll have a more thorough vacation writeup later, along with photos, but the quick update for now is that I got into Southern Iowa and according to the thermometer in my truck, the temperature in the parking lot in which I’d stopped was 95°F. With a forecast for more of the same the rest of the week, and nighttime lows (and thus likely dewpoints) in the high 60s.

And that kind of weather is just too damn hot for me to have any fun, and as I sat in that parking lot outside of Wever, IA, I thought for a few minutes about the previous few stops of the day. At each stop, getting back into the truck meant dripping sweat onto the seat while waiting for the air conditioning to make things bearable again.

After about ten minutes, I realized that I wasn’t having fun anymore, and it was time to call it quits on the plan. Mostly it was due to the heat, but that wasn’t everything. In many of the small towns along the way, I’d looked around in vain for a place to eat, or stop for a drink, or anything and it seemed that in so many small towns, there was nothing left.

And when I got into bigger cities, I was faced with more traffic than I liked, especially when I was trying to navigate with AAA maps that were ill-suited for anything other than cruising along on the interstate. I wasn’t as prepared as I’d thought, and I’m pretty sure that at least part of what I was looking for on this trip just doesn’t exist anymore.

So I sat in that roadside park north of Wever, next to a little stream feeding the Mississippi, and thought a bit. It was a few minutes before 3pm. Doing a little math in my head got me the answer that, if I took the shortest route, and hurried a bit, I could be home, in my own bed that very evening, rather than having another unsatisfying sleep in some hotel (more on that in the full writeup, I’m sure) followed by another day of sweating, and that sounded pretty damned good to me.

As I was headed home, there was a voice in my head asking What are ya, some kind of quitter? and let me tell you, I thought about that for quite a while. But the answer I came up with is that sometimes quitting is the right thing, and a vacation is supposed to be fun. I’d quit having fun sometime around noon when the temperature hit 85 in downtown Moline, IL.

And so here I am back at home, writing this after a night of sleeping in my own bed, comfortable and happy. As I said, I’ll fill in the details, but now I’ve got most of a week in front of me, with no responsibilities to speak of, and that sounds like a damned good (if less vicariously exciting for you) plan for a vacation, too.

Copyright 2009, Dave Polaschek. Last updated on Mon, 15 Feb 2010 14:01:41.