So at the end of part 2 I was leaving the big city of Chicago traveling to Valparaiso, IN. So I got stuck in traffic, a lot of frickin’ traffic. Who knew that Chicago would empty out onto the interstate on the Friday of the 4th of July weekend. Okay, totally obvious but anyways despite myself being on vacation and in the back of my head knowing this it still skipped my mind. Yes, sometimes the obvious is, well, not so obvious to me. Anyway, after being stuck in traffic for an hour or so I wanted to stop and get something to drink and pee. I opened my trunk to get some water out of it and well when I went to close it no such luck. Why won’t my trunk close? I mess with it for a while and the lock is stuck. I try to mess with it with my key and fuck with it for almost 10 minutes. In complete stress and frustration I end up finding a piece of string and tying my trunk down. Yay, just how redneck can I be now. Not only am I out of place with all my bumper stickers but now I have a trunk being held down by string and oh a license plate that says I’m from North Carolina! Yep, I blend right in.
I drive, well start and stop a lot in traffic, for another hour before finally getting on back roads and driving a decent speed into Valparaiso. Whew! I’m starting to feel a little better despite watching my trunk bounce up and down in my back window but hey I am finally getting closer to seeing Desiree whom I have not seen in like 11 or so years!
Despite the stresses and mishaps along the way I make it and have a fantastic visit with her. Valparaiso is nice, not somewhere I can see myself but still a nice town. It’s great to catch up after all this time and visit with her and spend some time just relaxing. Sometime during the night it occurred to each of us on our own that maybe some WD-40 might help my trunk lock situation. So in the morning after Desiree made some damn good coffee I sprayed some on the lock and fiddled around with the key and it unstuck!!! I had a functional trunk again! Yes! My stress level just dropped immensely. If I still couldn’t close my trunk I was looking at one super long day of driving straight home but with it fixed I was free to wander some more and spend one more night away.
I eventually headed out after a little bit more coffee and catching up a little more and felt relaxed knowing I had 2 days to get home and a trunk that worked! So I semi-planned a route and headed towards Ohio. I originally thought I might head back to Brown County state Park for more biking but there was some insane rains I had missed so felt hitting up muddy trails was not in my best interest. So I decided a slightly different route home would be ideal.
I drove towards Ohio passing by wind farms and fields, enjoying my time in the great midwest. As I was driving through Ohio I saw a sign for the Bicycle Museum of America. What? I took that exit and drove that direction. I had to check this out! I missed the museum’s open hours by a couple but did get to drool through the windows at a few vintage bikes. It seemed like an odd location and all I could guess was that it was someone’s personal collection that they turned into a museum. http://www.bicyclemuseum.com/index.html
So at that point I was already on back roads and continued that for a while. I ended up in Lexington, KY for the night before my final day of the trip. I found a quiet little bar called the Horse and Barrel and had a couple of Kentucky Bourbon Ales, yum! I called it a somewhat early night falling asleep to the sound of various fireworks being lit up around town.
I had looked at my maps and brochures picked up at the lobby of the hotel, which by the way was the Microtel and decent for $45/night on a Saturday, and decided I was headed to the Red River Gorge and Natural Bridge State Park for my final detour before home.
Oh no, it’s my final day! Not so soon? Well it was and part of me was so ready to get home and part of me wanted to stay on the road for another week. I decided I was going to get the most out of my last day. I drove over to the Red River Gorge and stopped along a few scenic spots and debated taking a hike or heading over to Natural Bridge. I decided since my time was limited I wanted to see this big natural bridge so I headed there. There was a skylift that takes you to the top of the gorge and I shelled out the $9 for a round trip ticket. Possibly the best $9 spent all week! It was amazing!
Walking on top of the bridge:
View of the bridge:
It was definitely a place worth seeing. After spending a couple of hours checking this out it was time to find some back roads and head in the direction of home. Eventually I hooked back up to the interstate and made the jaunt through Knoxville, the Pigeon River Gorge and back to Asheville. I was happy and sad to be home. I do have to say that I am lucky to call Asheville home and wouldn’t want my final destination to be anywhere else. Home sweet home.
As I sit here typing this I am thinking about how this is my last day before I start my new job. I’m excited to start something new but have been enjoying the time off and will miss this unstructured life of recent. I have some things I need to get done today but am going to ride Yoshi around town, do a few errands and try to enjoy my last day of unemployed freedom. Here’s to the good life!