My 2011 Ford Ranger pickup truck's odometer read 101,240 when I departed Woodstock last week for a cross country trip to Chicago. My bicycle was strapped to its rack.
I'm going to drive the damned thing until it dies! No car payment!
Next week, I go under the knife for exploratory surgery. The radiologist found a little spot on my CAT scan. Might be nothing. Might be cancer. I brought along my bicycle because I'm trying to get in the best possible shape for a quick recovery from my surgery.
My mom turns 90 this fall and my sister is also facing serious surgery. I wanted to take the trip home to see them while I can. It's a fact of life, now. Every time I see loved ones might be the last time.
I've always loved cross country driving. Myrna did too. Back when we owned the Ford Expedition, we routinely drove the big SUV to Chicago. I've driven just about all the major routes from the West to the East Coasts.
I took my time on the way to Chicago. Even stopped at Hazleton, PA, hometown of Joe Maddon, the Cubs' manager. (Hadn't really intended that. I was looking for a place to stretch my legs and...) Madden is a small town boy.
The return trip turned into a relentless sprint. Hadn't planned it that way. I'd spent a night at the Super 8 in Brookville, PA on my way to Chicago. (Brookville is about halfway between NYC and Chicago. Here's an interesting webpage that calculates the halfway point between any two cities.) The prospect of another night in a Super 8 didn't appeal to me on the way home.
A lot of time to think during the 10 hours or so of driving in each direction.
I stopped in Detroit to visit a Facebook friend and take in a Tiger's baseball game. Saw a Cubs' game at Wrigley, too.
I'm ready now to face the surgeon's knife.
This was probably my last major cross country drive. I'm old. My eyes don't work so well any more. I suspect that the next trip home to Illinois will be for a funeral, and that doesn't leave time for dawdling.
Back in the glory days when Myrna was still here, we drove to Chicago to sit in with A.C. Reed, the great bluesman, at Kingston Mines. Here's his tune about pickup trucks:
That was so long ago.
27 years ago, I flew out to Portland to fetch Myrna. We drove her old Dodge Dart all the way to Woodstock. What an adventure! Every day with Myrna was an adventure.
The odometer read 103,464 when I pulled into my driveway. 2,044 miles total!