Nick was patient enough to let us boss him around while he grabbed a few quick snaps of me and Margaret before we left her place this morning.
See Margaret, I only posted the nice ones and put the most embarrassing one of me up first 😉
Before heading out of State, we took a quick meander through the town of Wheaton, Illinois. It was exactly what we Canadians had pictured in our minds when we thought of a small American town. Beautiful homes, brick buildings, and American flags dotting yards. In some ways, it felt like we were on the set of Gilmore Girls. Although, the little alley-way candy shop was an added bonus to the experience!
See, our day started off so smoothly. Hanging out with Margaret. Meandering through town. Buying interesting candies. Then it slowly went downhill from there.
Hey Nick, we should get an oil change. Sure, ask the GPS where the nearest place is. Oh good, there’s one off the next exit!
Hmm… the streets are really chewed up and pitted…
Wow, this must be a really run down area of Chicago. Look at all the overgrown yards.
Oh good! There’s the oil change place.
Hmmm… why are we the only white people in this neighbourhood. Oh well, the prices are good, and everyone seems really friendly.
Feeling a little nervous being in such a strange environment, when Scooter (who is talking to Nick above) suggested we go get some shrimp while he changed the oil in our car, we took it more like a command and felt we better so as not to offend anyone.
Hey, Laura, why do you think the corner-store cashier is locked behind glass?
Why is there a security guard positioned at an oil change / corner store?
This shrimp is really tasty, though….
There we were. Two white people eating shrimp nervously while we waited for our car. Our obviously new car. With about $3,000 worth of camera and lens hanging around my neck.
Hey Nick, we really need that air freshener. Oh, there they are locked behind the counter with the staff. Can you please pass us the cherry one through the teeny, tiny little cubby under the glass that a fist couldn’t even fit through. Thanks. Oh. It’s $1.49? Um… can you break $100? (Just kill us now and bury our bodies).
We finally drove away from the neighbourhood with its very friendly mechanics and passed not a single white person. We passed boarded-up homes. We passed motels with rooms for rent and tenants hanging out blankets over the railings. We passed under their stares. We left just as awkwardly as we arrived, but with a very affordable oil change and bellies full of shrimp!
Soon we were back out on the open, wet, road full of farms. And really, really, REALLY, REALLY, REALLY annoying toll booths. We paid at four and ran through another eight. Who carries that much change? Seriously. And who has time to pay and count it out every 10 miles?! Apparently we have 7 days to figure out how to pay online all the ones we ran through pretending to have a pass… So say the “Forgot to Pay Your Toll?” signs anyway.
At least subsequent States had a little card telling you how much you would pay in total for their State depending on how many exits you drove by. But instead of toll booths every 10 miles, we had to “punch in” and “punch out” with our card, paying the balance every time we so much as skipped off the highway for a quick fill up. Also, if we’re going to pay that much to drive on a road, it would be nice if it wasn’t under construction everywhere… (more on that in a moment).
As we reached about the half-way point of crossing through Ohio, the sun momentarily came out for a quick visit and it was SO NICE to see after all these days of rain!
At this point, we were only about 15 minutes away from our hotel for the night. Since the weather can’t seem to stop raining for any lengthly period of time, and we’re on this neat discount program with Best Westerns right now, we decided to splurge and pay the extra $50 and get a hotel vs. camping. Back on the road we went at a very respectable speed.
We pulled into our little safe haven for the evening and I played with the camera outside while Nick went and paid for our reservations. The lights changed to about 6 different colours and provided me with much amusement until my camera card told me it was full and the others were back in the car that Nick was now parking for the evening.
Hopefully tomorrow is… less expensive? But on the bright side, I get to meet my Allentown, Pennsylvania friend in real life and I’m so stoked! Good night and good riddance, world!