day six: Missouri, Indiana, Ohio
Route: I-44 from Rolla to St. Louis, then I-70 to Columbus and north on I-71 to 271 until the turnoff for Highway 303 toward Peninsula.
Except for a brief, and partly unintentional, stop in St. Louis to take a look at the St. Louis Arch in the morning light, most of my day was spent driving through the farmlands of Indiana, which are incredibly picturesque in the spring. Classic barn and silo combinations in conjunction with just the right amount of woods, and endless green fields filled with bright yellow wildflowers. The car was humming along and it looked like I’d be in Peninsula in time for dinner.
Watching the landscape was a way to keep from thinking about the fact that I was getting closer and closer to Indianapolis, a city that’s become the Bermuda Triangle of cross-country trips for me. When I was 15 and driving across country with my parents the water pump in our Volvo destroyed itself just outside of Indianapolis and we had to spend a few very uncomfortable days in a small motel room with inadequate air conditioning and ice cubes that tasted like garlic. On the return leg of my cross-country motorcycle trip I blew a fuse outside of Indianapolis at night and had to ride with no lights until the next available exit, where I spent the night at an overpriced Motel Six.
Since the van was humming along so nicely this time around, I thought I might be about to break the Indianapolis curse, but just about ten miles outside of Indianapolis, something started to feel funny. At first I thought that it had suddenly become a bit windy on the road, since the van was swaying a bit and I had to keep correcting the wheel. I was cruising down the road at about 80, and even with the light wind it felt perfectly safe to pass slower-moving traffic. But as I drove, the strength of the wind began to increase. Except it didn’t feel quite like a normal wind, and finally I noticed that the trees by the side of the road weren’t moving at all, at which point I turned off at the next rest stop to find my rear left tire entirely flat, except for the fat framing nail sticking out of the treads.
Luckily, I had a jack with me, and a full-sized spare. Unluckily, though the jack had fit fine underneath the back wheel in the parking lot of the auto parts store where I bought it, once the back wheel was actually flat the jack no longer fit correctly. Moments like this are what the letters AAA are for, and a crew was out within the hour. They swapped my tire out and told me that I might be able to find a shop to fix it down the road, at the next exit. I ended up getting a new tire (the old one was destroyed by having driven on it) at the local Buick dealership, which was pretty much the only available option. Three hours and a hundred bucks later, I was back on the road. I definitely was not going to be on time for dinner.
Filed under: eating, personal, sweet story of Trout Monroe, travel | 1 Comment
Tags: combine harvester demolition derby, cross-country trip, Cuyahoga River fire, flat tire, Indianapolis curse, morels, Neitenbach Farm