Oh, the Trip Home!

What a vacation! Sick all week with some kind of intestinal bug; guts aching, living on ginger ale and the occasional cracker.

The trip home is 600 miles. It’s an all-day  journey. For the most part, it’s all interstate, so the road isn’t bad, just longish.  I knew a detour was necessary, since I had seen the Iowa DOT report of the bridge closed on HWY 61 at the Missouri state line. So, at Hannibal, MO I zigged right, into Illinois, an alternate route I have used before.

Everything is fine until I get to Lomax. If my gut hadn’t been killing me, I might have stopped at The Pink for some of their fabulous fried chicken. Let me tell you, if you come to visit me and are here on Wednesday, we HAVE to go for their fried chicken special. This is one of those places where the outside of the building and its location tells you nothing about what is inside. Lomax is a tiny place, not much impressive going on there. And The Pink? It’s a bar/ restaurant. The entire building is painted “Pepto Bismol” pink. You can’t miss it. But this trip, the tummy said, “Absolutely not!” So, on we journeyed.
But not too much further. A short block up from The Pink is the intersection to what is locally known as “The Carman Blacktop.” From this intersection, it’s about six miles to Hy 34, and less than nine miles to home. Almost there, tummy; hang on just a little longer.

Turning onto the Carman blacktop, I meet the road blocks. Big sign: “Road Closed See Detour”. Rats.

Off in the opposite direction to home. The GPS keeps trying to re-direct me back to the Carman road. Finally giving up in frustration, it suggests I take one of the farm roads. They are at best tiny, under-maintained, and not always actually functional. I skip some of those. Following the road to Carman, and back around. Out in the middle of farm ground, we have to cross the railroad tracks. Which are occupied by a mile-long train of coal cars. Wait. Wait. Wait. Clear at last, we are on our way. A few more miles, and we are finally back at the Carman road; half a block from where the road-closed signs are. And we are on the wrong side of the closure. Sigh. Backtrack.

Maybe, another option. At the first farm road going in the right direction, I turn. And almost there, at the intersection that will take me back to my original intention…. The stop sign is under water. Here is where the flooding is. This won’t work either. And the road is at best a wide one-lane with no shoulders. It’s not a three-point turn; more like a six-point turn to get the big truck turned around.

Back we go, retracing our route. At the railroad crossing? You guessed it: another train—this time carrying what looks like molten asphalt tanker cars. More waiting.
Yet another route, and yet again, failure.

Finally, I get all the way to Stronghurst, where I finally pick up Hy 34. The six miles from Lomax to this highway takes me Fifty-Six miles to detour, and more than an hour.
I hope your day was more productive.
Sometimes, life sends us down more detours than we had planned.
Grace and peace,
Brice

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