2003.12.03 Looking for the other end of the highway

Written by David Green.

By RICH FOLEY

A few notes from a trip down Nowhere Road....

Fort Wayne, Indiana: There seems to be a rather large amount of Saturns on the Interstate, and they can be broken down into two groups. Fast Saturns, which are virtually all driven by attractive women at 75 or so mph, and slow ones, almost all driven by nerdy-looking guys doing about 45.

I don’t know if the folks at Saturn realize their market consists totally of geeky guys and gorgeous females, but the freeway doesn’t lie.

Anderson, Indiana: Since I didn’t start out until after 1 p.m., I stopped for the evening in Anderson rather than test the Friday night Indianapolis rush hour. The motel I stayed at had a stack of Sauder Village brochures in the lobby. I guess I didn’t drive as far as I thought.

Terre Haute, Indiana: Alas, I hit town too late for breakfast, so I didn’t get to try the locally-famous square donuts. Maybe next time.

Illinois State Line: I just barely entered the state when a red Ferrari went blasting past, followed by a SUV with a personalized license plate reading “TRYST.” Some states just don’t screen their plates as well as others.

West of Effingham, Illinois: Stopped at a rest area with four-foot high doors on the restroom stalls. These are really worthless. Almost everyone walking by seems to want to peek in. Finish business very quickly.

Mile marker 59, I-70 West: Oldsmobile’s million-mile odometer hits 111,111.1 miles. I consider stopping and pouring remains of my Mountain Dew over the hood, but not sure if Illinois state troopers have sense of humor. Continue driving west.

St. Louis, Missouri: Arrive the day before Aunt Sue’s birthday. My sister, who has already arrived, has secretly baked a German chocolate cake (Aunt Sue’s favorite) and left it in her freezer. Husband Gary will bring it the next day when he drives over from Kansas City for a few hours.

My sister gets up early on Aunt Sue’s birthday and goes running. While she’s gone, Aunt Sue bakes her own German chocolate cake, complete with frosting from scratch. My sister ends up being the one surprised.

When Gary arrives, he mentions that a Kansas state trooper stopped him for going 79 mph. Gary, who’s a sheriff’s deputy himself, apparently knows what to say in such circumstances as the trooper only cautions him to watch out for deer and lets him go.

My late Aunt Liz’s estate lawyer, who’s been working with Aunt Sue since Liz’s death, stops by with flowers and a birthday card and stays for an hour. I’m impressed, presuming she doesn’t bill for the visit.

I really like the neighborhood Aunt Sue lives in. There’s a Sinclair gas station a few blocks away. I haven’t seen one of those in many years. There’s a record shop called “Vintage Vinyl” that I’m sorry I didn’t get a chance to visit. There’s all sorts of small shops, galleries and clubs. Chuck Berry was to appear at a club around the corner from Aunt Sue’s the day after I left. I really regret missing that. There’s also a supermarket with an armed guard just inside the door. Too many bread thefts, I suppose.

The big attraction, of course, was Aunt Sue herself. Once again, she didn’t fail to surprise. My sister broke the big news that she was helping sort through some papers and found Aunt Sue’s World War II service discharge papers, which listed “divorced” as her marital status. It turns out Sue was married for several years in the 1930s and somehow neither she nor any of her now-dead brothers and sisters ever mentioned it.

Later, we found out she also knew how to drive, learning how on a seven-passenger Essex during her marriage. After her divorce, there was no parking space at her new home so she just stopped driving but was apparently the only female in the family who did drive. I keep waiting for more big news, like maybe she was really Amelia Earhart, but those were the two big surprises for this trip.

After several days of a 97-year-old woman consistently kicking my butt playing dominoes, it was time to leave. The trip back wasn’t quite as eventful as the one out.

I did finally see one of the long-delayed Chevrolet SSR retro pickups on a transporter in Indiana. I stayed at a motel 40 miles southwest of Indianapolis and it, too, had Sauder Village brochures in the lobby.

I made my only wrong turn of the trip in a construction zone entering I-465 (locally known as the Dave Letterman By-Pass) near Indianapolis. I took the south exit off I-70 instead of the north and had to travel the wrong way several miles before I could exit and get back on in the right direction.

Stopping at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to visit their gift shop, I also used their rest room, which had full size doors and automatic commode flushers. Those people running the Illinois rest stops could take lessons.

With 30 to 60 mph winds at my back, the last 200 miles just flew by. And isn’t that the way it is with vacations?

    – Dec. 3, 2003 
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks
  • Front.sculpta
    SCULPTORS—Morenci third grade students Emersyn Thompson (left) and Marissa Lawrence turn spaghetti sticks into mini sculptures Friday during a class visit to Stair District Library. All Morenci Elementary School classes recently visited the library to experience the creative construction toys purchased through the “Sculptamania!” project, funded by a Disney Curiosity Creates grant. The grant is administered by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association.
  • Funcolor
    LEONIE LEAHY was one of three local hair stylists who volunteered time Friday at the Morenci PTO Fun Night. Her customer, Aubrey Sandusky, looks up at her mother while her hair takes on a perfect match to her outfit. Leahy said she had a great time at the event—nothing but happy clients.
  • Shadow.salon
    LEARNING THE ROPES—Kristy Castillo (left), co-owner of Mane Street Salon, works with Kendal Kuhn as Sierra Orner takes a phone call. The two Morenci Area High School juniors spent Friday at the salon as part of a job shadowing experience.
  • KayseInField
    IN THE FIELD—2004 Morenci graduate Kayse Onweller works in a test plot of wheat in Texas. She’s part of Bayer CropScience’s North American wheat breeding program based in Nebraska, where she completed post-graduate work in plant breeding and genetics.
  • Front.winner
    REFEREE Camden Miller raises the hand of Morenci Jr. Dawgs wrestler Ryder Ryan as his opponent leaves the mat in disappointment. Morenci’s youth wrestling program served as host for a tournament Saturday morning to raise money for the club. Additional photos are on the back page.
  • Front.bank.2
    SHERWOOD STATE Bank opened its Fayette office at a grand opening Friday morning, drawing a large crowd to view the renovated building. Above, Burt Blue talks to teller Cindy Funk, while his wife, Jackie, looks around the new office. The Blues missed the opening and took a quick tour on Tuesday. Few traces remain of the former grocery store and theater, however, part of the original brick wall still shows in the hallway leading to the back of the building. The drive-through window should be ready for customers later in the month.
  • Front.make.three
    FROM THE LEFT, Landon Wilkins, Ryan White and Logan Blaker try out their artistic skills Saturday afternoon at the Morenci PTO’s first Date to Create event. More than 50 people showed up to create decorated planks of wood to hang from rope. The event served as a fund-raiser for miscellaneous PTO projects. Additional photos are on the back of this week’s Observer.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016