Scheduling this trip, I was sure to allow plenty of time to wander and meander along the way. Some days, I only expected to travel a little over 100 miles and some a little over 150. In 12 to 14 hours of drivng, a piece of cake. The reality is that I have moved into a different gear and seem to be meeting interesting folks everywhere I go. Traveling about 50 miles yesterday took me near 5 hours. Having lost two days to a breakdown, I was still slipping further behind as I moved on. But, when you least expect it and where you least expect it, shit happens! I stopped to photograph an interesting barn, along my transition to Wisconsin from Illinois, and there it was, radial grease splatter on the same wheel! The repair in Omaha had apparently failed! So now, I sit in Madison, WI, probably for two more days, and get further behind. My seven day cushion is fading quickly, but at least I get to do my laundry, get a little more rest and, if I do need to hang for another day, will push out and cover some ground tomorrow that should have been covered today! So, maybe a hiccup, but everything just seems to fall in place in the big scheme of things, it seems. What’s the old saying, “make lemonade when you are given lemons” (please, no cracks about my poor truck!)
Irritations aside, each day seems to bring its own mix of opportunities and adventures. My first discovery was an operating drive-in theater that still used the old speaker boxes. This was hidden away off hwy 34 and so I made another of my multiple, daily U-turns to explore it. With the railroad running right beside it, I kind of felt that I could be O. Winston Link if I came back at night!
There is something about the midwest and the people out here (something very good) in the rural parts of the country. There is just a different sense about them and a curiosity about strangers as well. Today, I had a gentleman come up to me and tell me that I sort of looked like an Aussie on Safari! It must be the hat!
One of the great finds of the day was Goldy’s Hot Dog stand in Plano, Il. (it’s funny how many towns in different states have the same name, Buda and Plano, both also Texas towns that I have passed through in the last few days). Although, Goldy had had a different career path, he always wanted to be a Hot Dog Vendor. We all know, and having done it myself 20 years ago, that the secret to life is to follow one’s bliss and Goldy was certainly a very enthusiastic and happy man! He runs the stand off the main street, hidden back near a city park, and sells a great dog. Now, I had just had lunch, but after a complimentary Italian ice and the detailed description of his dogs and business, I had to have one. It was piled high with all the fixin’s and was in the “Chicago” style. The ingredients were fresh, including the little jalepeno’s, and it burnt so good all the way down!