Saturday, July 05, 2008

On the Road, Part 2; I Hate Chicago

We left Merillville, IN about 10 am on Thursday morning with our destination for the day being Wisconsin Rapids, WI; hometown of DC friend, Butterburger (BB). BB is your typical, reserved, unemotional MidWest guy. Last year his girlfriend, the Child Bride; so named because she's only 25, 13 years younger than BB and myself; was complaining that he was "emotionally unavailable." I had to explain to her that with the Packers posting double digit wins and making a Super Bowl run in what turned out to be Brett Favre's last season, that was about as emotional as BB was ever likely to get. So when BB very nervously approached WifeRat about the possibility of us stopping by his parent's house on our way to edge of The Great White North I knew that we had to make it there to see his ancestral homestead. It was just too bad that we had to pass through Chicago on the way there.

There was massive construction just north of where we had stopped on the southern edge of the Chicagoland area, so we got on the road and were immediately sitting still on the interstate. Dagger!

In the new and improved RatMobile there is a DVD player. I am not a fan of facilitating the couchpotato-ification of America's youth through constantly available video entertainment. So for the seven months that we've had our new whip, the DVD player had remained unused. WifeRat and I knew that during a four day cross-country trip our resolve would probably falter. So after two days on the road and hitting our first significant traffic issue, we cracked and asked BabyRat if she would like to watch one of her DVDs. BabyRat was initially baffled by the question but when I flipped down the screen, she had let out one of her patented gasps of excitement and amazement that had her paralyzed with glee for at least 30 seconds.

We make it through the traffic after about 15 minutes and then the tolls start. I swear I spent at least $20 dollars on tolls in the couple of hours I was driving through Illinois. If I had known how many tolls there were going to be, I probably would have bought one of those stupid iPasses when I hit the state line. Even with annoying traffic and exorbitant tolls, I was way more aggravated than I should have been and I realized that I was starting to get sick.

On the rare occasions when I fall ill, WifeRat gets very bossy with me because I don't take good care of myself when I'm sick. After lunch she insisted on taking over at the wheel and I let her; I took some pills and fell asleep in the back seat with BabyRat. I wake up about 90 minutes later feeling much better and get back in the pilot's chair for the remainder of the day's drive.

Wisconsin Rapids

We finally make it Wisconsin Rapids about 5:30pm and everyone is happy. I'm happy to not be driving anymore, BB is happy that we're there, WifeRat is happy 'cause she's handed a Leinenkugel Summer Shandy the minute we walk through the door and BabyRat is happy because she has been given a Big Wheel to cruise around on by BB's younger sister (we'll call her BabyButterBurger or BBB) who also happens to be in town from Seattle.

After enjoying some dill cheese curds and finishing off the last of the Genesee pounders we all head out to dinner at a little road house kind of place about 5 minutes from Casa d' Butterburger that I was shocked to discover served sweet potato fries.

After an uneventful meal, we head home and almost get hit by a train. I heard the train whistle, looked for flashing lights, gates, or something to indicate that a train was nearby and saw nothing. After crossing a few sets of tracks, I see that there is a train on the last set of tracks we have to cross less than 300 yards away. I prudently stop and immediately jump out of the RatMobile to ask BB in the car behind us why the fuck don't they have . . . something to let a person know a train is close by.

I wake up the next morning feeling like ass and apparently I looked pretty bad too, because everyone was asking if I was OK. BB's Mom is upset that we have to take off first thing in the morning and depriving her of time with BabyRat, who she fell in love with in about 9 seconds.

Petal to the Metal

It's now Friday, the 4th of July. After three days in the car already, with 8 hours of driving to go, WifeRat steps up her game; she shoves my feebly protesting ass into the back seat of the car after being escorted to the edge of town by BB and the Child Bride and proceeds to put in a monster day behind the wheel.

Most of the rest of the day is a blur, I'm intermittently baby wrangling in the back seat and having fever dreams & sweating my ass off. I manage to gag down a few bites of chicken noodle soup when we stop for lunch before BabyRat decides that she wants the soup and takes it from me by force. We make it to the in-laws place sometime in the late afternoon and after happy greetings and such, I promptly fall back asleep on the couch. I wake up long enough to eat half a steak and go back to sleep while everyone else goes to watch fireworks. Worst. 4th. Ever. But we made it to the Hinterlands.


ibc said...

re: "I Hate Chicago"

Awww, c'mon now. Next we'll have a post about how you hate DC because traffic was backed up at the Nutley St exit of 66...



Hill Rat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Hill Rat said...

Don't get me started on 66!! 66? It should be 666, that road is pure fucking evil. I could write a book detailing my hellish rides on 66; it's probably my least favorite road in Metro DC.

Give a blogger a break, doesn't everyone hate at least one city? After being royally fucked by Chicagoland traffic on a cross-country trip a couple of years ago and then being toll-raped this go 'round, I decided that Chicago was worth some bile. Chicago inflicted Pizzerio Uno on the world, isn't that reason enough to hate on the Windy City?

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