Make that a wet road! It rains and rains; creeks rise and rivers flood. Our trip to visit the newest grandbaby in Kentucky had been made weeks in advance, and we thought nothing of backing out the drive under gray skies. If we couldn’t seal the deck, plant flowers or even mow the grass, we might as well be visiting anyway. But the rain is all over the country, not just in our county, our state. I think Noah and his Ark would feel right at home in the Midwest about now!
East of St. Louis and again into Indiana land is always low and swampy. But this trip, Indiana was a sheet of water on both sides from the flooded Wabash. We had planned to go up Route 1 on the Illinois side to come into Indiana at Vincennes. Ah, river out, turned back.
We took the interstate and then came in Vincennes from the south. The next morning was rain free, and we were silly to think the wet siege was over. We headed towards Paoli and French Lick. We had seen the area only in the dark and wanted to visit it again in daylight. When the markers were set up on the side road saying clearly Road Closed Ahead, I was ready to turn back. But DH sees signs like that as a MC for RM (Mental Challenge for Real Men). He thinks he can outwit the signs' providers. Surely they didn’t mean HE was incapable of outwitting any potential hazards ahead.
Now you have to know I am petrified of dark, high water anytime, anywhere. I have floated in canoes, sped in bass boats all in the name of being a good wife. I don’t know how I did some of it. When we headed down the small byway, each mile the water gradually came closer and closer until it was nearing the shoulders on both sides. Then it started to rain. I begged to turn back. My stomach clenched, my breathing was nearing hyperventilation, and I covered my face with maps. Finally, we hit a Y in the road that was completely covered with water. I teared up, put my hand on the door handle. I had my cell phone in hand to call 911 because I was NOT riding into that lake! DH turned around and we made the same harrowing 15 miles back to the main highway again.
Then it really rained…all afternoon. We did not make good mileage that day. We got a motel room and listened to the heavy rains all night. I met a handsome young man from Panama City, Florida; he was riding motorcycles with three other cycle buddies on the way to Chicago. Said it was lovely the first 400 miles, and then they felt the temp drop 40 degrees and the rains started. Never again, he said!
The next morning we hit Madison, a river town on the Ohio which had also been out of its banks. It had gone down enough for roads to be clear on into Kentucky, but again lots of water on both sides of the road. We arrived later than planned. This morning out son told us the forecast is for rain every day now for five more days. Will we get home? Not by way of Cairo where the levee was blown, and then there is the Kentucky Derby crowds around Louisville too for the weekend! Will see!
Knowing we would be taking a road trip in the near future, I had picked up some music CDs from Wal-Mart’s bargain bin one day. While I prefer silence in the miles, DH likes racket like an irritating radio station. We compromise with music that we usually agree on for listening. I got a decent Johnny Cash, a Merle Haggard (Proud of Being an Okie from Muskogee!), an Elvis collection, and the real prize of Willie Nelson that included My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys and On the Road Again. I am not as crazy about Country Western as these selections suggest, but these were easy listening for Midwest miles. I do admit to loving some of Willie.
Willie Nelson is mostly Texan, but he was born with roots deep in the Arkansas Ozarks. His mellow ballads and gentle bad boy love songs are enchanting in their own way. His lyrics and tempo remind me of the music my dad listened to on Sunday mornings while he made pancakes after Mass. He would put on a stack of those old 78s and toe tap and hum while he poured batter on a scalding hot griddle. His music favorites were rooted in the Grand Ole Opry traditions that he had listened to on the radio with his family during the Depression: Roy Acuff, Chet Atkins, Kitty Wells, Patsy Cline, Bob Wills and the Playboys.
So it was Willie across Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, and into Kentucky. He will croon us home too when we are on the road again. I wonder if Willie has a song about High Water?