Familiar routes


We'll be spending the first part of this journey retracing familiar routes. Since we moved to Huntsville, Alabama over five years ago, we've made the drive north to either Michigan or Wisconsin a dozen times or so. On Thursday, we'll be driving from Madison, Wisconsin to Chelsea, Michigan, a trip that I've probably made a hundred times growing up. My dad used to claim that he could practically drive the route with his eyes closed because the car knew the way.

It's amazing how geography, even just the names of places, can evoke emotions and memories on a road trip. My daughters can recite the states we drive through as we move north (Alabama, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana...). They know we drive under a bridge to get to Tennessee and cross over a bridge to get to Indiana. I like to think about what memories they'll have of this adventure, or of our other trips.

For me, driving through Indiana on I-65 reminds me of when my parents took me to visit Purdue during high school. Driving on the Dan Ryan expressway through Chicago reminds me of sitting in the backseat of the car with my brother listing to the Chicagoland traffic reports on WBBM. Passing the Belvidere oasis, the last oasis on the tollway before the Wisconsin border, will always give me a sense of relief, as if a long journey is about to end. Driving into Madison on the Beltline reminds me of so many nights driving across that swamp singing along to the Kingston Trio and waiting eagerly to get out of the car and stretch my legs. Why is it that the last few miles of a journey always take the longest?

Downtown Chicago, beautiful weather (2012)
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