Thursday, May 31, 2007


This trip should have taken about 5 1/2 hours. When we were children, coming to the Northwoods for our camping and fishing vacations, it took more like 8.

Now the highway goes almost all the way up here. And the only little kid in my car this time was me. That makes a road trip quicker too. (Everyone who has to go to the bathroom, go now, cause we aren't going to stop until we get there!)

I set out later than I wanted to. I'm moving slow, tired and sore, and didn't really hit the road until midafternoon.

As I gassed up for the highway in the Far North Suburbs of Chicagoland - paying $3.62/gallon! - I noticed the Saturn's left front tire was a little low. A sensible person may have checked it, or put air in it. Better yet, a nice can of Fix-a-Flat. I love that stuff.

But me? NOOOOOooooo. No, I was just too interested in leaving.

I got on I-94, a tollroad there, and toodled along, happy as a lark to be on my way.

My cell phone rang. I saw the call was from Wisconsin, but I didn't recognize the number. Maybe Livey? I answered.

The funny thing was, the voice was my sister-in-law's voice.

So why was my sister-in-law calling me from a Wisconsin phone number to tell me about how the praying mantises hatched in the school terrarium and got out cause the teacher forgot and left the lid off and hundreds of tiny baby praying mantises escaped into the classroom and got all over and all the kids were running around catching them to put them back in the terrarium and the Big Monkey was so excited she couldn't stop talking about it and...


It was LL!!!

Whereupon, *I* got so excited I almost dropped the phone in the car, and blew past the tollbooth in the EZpass lane, which I don't have an EZpass for. Second time that happened.

Oh well. Priorities here, okay?

Besides, I figured with the scooter carrier in the upright position, the tag was obscured from the rude License Plate Photographers anyway. Probably won't get a ticket in the mail after all. Hmmm. Tempting idea, that...

So I got to hear about the wee babies just after they hatched. LL has 2 more egg cases to go, which had more variable temperature conditions, so they'll surely take a little longer to hatch.

That was fun. Afterwards I made it all the way up to Kenosha just fine.

For those of you In The Know, that's not very far along on this road trip.

I heard a telltale rattling thumping sound...and felt the car pulling to the left...and knew I had a flat. That same damn tire I'd noticed being low.

I saw an exit coming up. Off the exit was a big old Mobile station.

For a lot of reasons, I'd rather drive on a flat than pull over to the side of an interstate. I chose to ruin the tire.

At the gas station I saw some tires up on a rack. Yay!

Gas Station Man told me, Sorry. That's a separate business and he's gone for the day.


Meanwhile, a guy on a motorcycle gassing up there asked if I'd like some help. Yes. Thank you.

He proceeded to change my tire for me and tell me about where to go to get it replaced. Can't go far on that little bitty emergency spare.

Glancing in my car he said, Are you a Deadhead?

Which cracked me up. Because if you saw all my Road Trip stuff crammed in there, it did look like it.

No, I told him. I'm from Florida.

Florida! Oh. Got any weed?

Um, no. Even if I wanted to I wouldn't. Sorry.

He said some other strange things and I started thinking the guy was a little...hinky.

To my relief, I saw a sheriff pull up.

He jollied the Motorcycle Guy along - the tire change was almost finished - and sweetly, gently, talked him into a field sobriety test.

Which he flunked.

Gas Station Man had seen what was happening, smelled beer and figured Motorcycle Guy seemed drunk, and called the cops so nothing bad would happen to me. Nice man, huh?

The sheriff grounded Motorcycle Guy, and I was ready to go. I went inside the station and thanked Gas Station Man like this:

--I'm off now. And thank you. For everything you've done.

He solemnly said, You're welcome.

And off I went to find Ed's Used Tires.

The sheriff's directions were fine. He'd drawn me a little map. But like most locals, he assumed I knew more about his area than I did. Didn't realize, maybe, that 158 street also had a much bigger sign saying, County Road K. Or that it's hard to watch for little street signs when you're pulling over every few minutes to let the 55-MPH drivers by, since I was driving about 25 on this dainty little Spare Emergency Backup Tire.

After wandering a bit, I found Ed's Used Tires in time. They were wonderful. Extremely fast and efficient, and only charged me $25.32, including the $3 disposal fee for the old tire, totally ruined from me driving 2 miles on it.

It took longer for me to tear myself away from playing with all their parrots than to fix the tire. Finally one bird nipped me on the finger - totally my fault, I'd been warned that one was a bit feisty - and I had to go get my Silvadene and bandaids from the car. Time to hit the road again.

By then it was around 7 PM.

I still had daylight for a long time.

So I can't blame the darkness for me missing my exit for I-39.

Nope. All my fault. k the navigator not only took a wrong turn, I was a good way toward Minneapolis/St. Paul before a call from Livey had me thinking I'd better check my maps program. And realized what I'd done.

This was extremely embarrassing.

Well. She worked it out that she'd go to sleep on the couch, telephone by her head, and I'd take a nap in the car if I needed to and call her once I got close.

Now, changing the tire meant all sorts of digging through the stuff in my trunk, and disarranging my careful packing, so I couldn't stretch out in the back of the Saturn on my sleeping bag like usual.


I used some of the 11 pillows in the car to make up a smaller bed across the front seats.

I took my nap a little before Steven's Pointe. Slept like a rock.

When I woke up it seemed lighter now. It started getting light here around 4 in the morning.
So I didn't have to worry as much about hitting deer, like Livey warned me about. Good.

I straggled in around 5 am. Totally wiped. Livey unloaded everything I needed and brought it into the house for me. I could breathe in here! I didn't need to sleep in the tent after all. And she made up my bed with my low-allergy sheets I'd brought from home, and set up my c-pap, and arranged the 11 pillows...and I got in there and remember nothing else.

Livey is wonderful. Her animals are a riot. I'm completely comfortable here. Livey's treating me like the Queen of Sheba. As I was writing this she brought me a great grilled cheese sandwich, all hot and gooey and cheesy with a piece of ham in it, yum!

Her place is just beautiful, too. Full of flowers and great rocks and, oh, everything. I mean, beautiful.

I didn't wake up until around 4 in the afternoon. And I can feel the sleep coming on again. So I must leave you guys now, but I'll be back. Much sooner this time!

Tomorrow we'll go look for a bear.

And oh, what pix I already have.


Nancy said...

OH, I'm glad you're there and safe! Nice to know you've got a guardian angel or two along.

Have fun!

Cat is my co-pilot said...

Flat tires=blech.

Glad to hear you are having a great time and are resting up, though! Sounds fun!

Anonymous said...

Holy crap! Livey said something about the flat tire in her post, but I didn't know all this!! Glad you made it ok and I can't wait 'til you get HERE. haha

But no pics. ;-)

Northwoods Woman said...

Nancy, this whole trip is one of the best things I ever could have done. You're right about the mini-blogmeet aspect. My parents were asking a little about that, and I told them how Nancy in Texas got to go to the last one, and how the big ones weren't possible for me, and I missed meeting Nancy and a whole slew of other folks too. But in a way? This is even better. I still cannot get my mind around how instantly comfortable I am here.

Hi cat is my copilot! Welcome. This morning I'm finally pretty much all here. This time Livey is still asleep. ;-)

LL, it was a bit wild. Just a bit. Kenosha's a trip! All the pretty farms in the outlying areas, and driving into town? Beautiful old houses, brick, all that stuff I remember from growing up. And Ed's Used Tires deserves a post of its own. I think you would have really liked that place. Not to mention, the monkeys.

k said...

OOPS not Livey, that was me, k.

Anonymous said...

So glad you made it safe and sound! Have a great visit...

Walrilla said...

Livey is DA BOMB, isn't she? I'm so glad you're up there and safe.


P.S. I may have forgotten to tell you, but Nancy delivered your hug and kiss. B-)


Desert Cat said...

Safe and sound :)

Joyce Ellen Davis said...

lol I have been waiting for this post! Hugs to you both! :D

k said...

Hi everyone! Yup. Safe and sound.

As safe as ANYONE can be with Livey and I in the same place at once!

Walrilla, Nancy told me she delivered the hug and kiss so I already knew. And you remembered anyway. Good boy!

I've decided to extend my stay here.

By way of going back to Chicago first.


Pretty Lady said...

Three cheers for Livey for taking such good care of you! And three cheers for the guardian angels!

Granny J said...

My--I sometimes miss the Midwest & you have just reminded me why! Do enjoy your stay, k!

k said...

Pretty Lady, how right you are. And in so many ways, this trip has been so good for me.

As a healer there are things going on here that you understand intuitively. I can tell you this, so far: Livey is also gifted in the healing department. Serious business. And the trip here, all of it? I am amazed at what it's done for me.

I had hopes. But I did not expect it to happen this much, this way.

granny j, I've been thinking about you a lot here, wondering which of the sights I'm seeing are what you did too. And I wondered, too - did you ever go to the Frozen Tundra?

I have so many beautiful pix of it. I'm a little slow with them now, but they'll be up soon.

kdzu said...

Glad you're having a grand time. Tell Livey I said Hi and you two stay out of the bars.

Northwoods Woman said...

lol kdzu, no bars for us. Just a couple of sickly ladies hanging out and enjoying each other. It's so cool!

Jean said...

a little late here, but... glad you made it safe and are having a great time!

Nancy said...


k said...

Bears, kdzu? We went looking but we didn't find any yet. Almost. One was a bush. Another time the dog was barking behind the garage where the bears come sometimes? And Livey RAN out there to see if she could find one for me! But by the time she made it whatever the dog was barking at was gone. RATS!

Don't worry. We'll keep looking when I come back up next week.

Thank you Jean! Time don't matter. We're on vacation. Does anybody really care what time it is?

nancy, pix will follow. Here it's a littler harder because we have to change cords around and stuff. I'll post some of the first ones back in Chicagoland. Soon, soon!

Jae Arronson said...

Hey k! So glad you're there, safe and sound and that the trip is doing you a lot of good!

I admire the heck out of the way you handled the flat tire, this missed turn...I would have been hysterical - or something. You just take a nap and it all works out. What a great lady you (and Livey too!) are!

k said...

Sassy, you crack me up! I take excellent naps. I even taught my cats a few things about napping.

I have no doubt whatsoever that you would handled that flat just as smooth as can be.

Livey and I are having SUCH a blast! I decided this wasn't enough time so I'm coming back.

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