It’s been over a week since my last entry, and we have been wonderfully busy. From Nebraska, we headed through Iowa, Missouri, and Illinois, staying mainly on back roads.
Did you know that Nebraska has the largest collection of sand dunes outside the Sahara desert? The climate is currently wet enough that they have grass on them, but if they didn’t, they’d be drifting all over the midwest and causing major havoc. As it was, we drove for hours and hours without seeing a house or a car or even a cow!
Glenn Miller was born in a tiny town called Clarinda, Iowa. We got a picture of his birthplace, since we camped outside of town. In Wyoming, we’d had one state park all to ourselves — no one else in the whole park and it was a bit eerie. In Nebraska and Iowa, though, there were a few other folks in the campground. Still, they’re all in campers, and they simply don’t come out to interact with us weird folks, freezing our butts off in tents.
We were heading east through Iowa when I got confused and made a wrong turn. After a while, I realized we were heading south on US 71 instead of east. I casually asked Barry to get out the map and tell me where this route would take us if we continued on it for a couple of days instead of continuing on to Ohio as planned. There was the sound of flipping pages (our road atlas has a page for each state) and a small “oooooh” from Barry. “Well, from what I can tell, US 71 goes straight to Krotz Springs, Louisiana,” he said, significantly.
In 1993, when we traveled across the country in our car, we had our mail forwarded to us via General Delivery. We would guess about where we’d be in a week and then pick a tiny, tiny town that was guaranteed to have only one post office, so as to avoid confusion. Krotz Springs was one of those towns. It was so small that after we picked up our mail, we asked the postmistress if there was a good restaurant in town. When we arrived at “Suzy’s Diner,” the lady drawled when we walked in, “Y’all the folks that just come from the post office?”
After reminiscing about our Krotz Spring visit and enjoying the Twilight Zone moment, we headed east again. We stopped to visit my two aunts, who live at St. Mary-of-the-Woods, Indiana. “The Woods,” as we call it, is a special place that’s been part of my family history for over 60 years — the motherhouse (home base, essentially) for the Sisters of Providence, the order to which Sister Mary Julia and Sister Mary Pat belong. My mother went to school there briefly, thinking of becoming a nun. Lucky for me (and my siblings!), she didn’t!
From Terre Haute, we jumped on various freeways and hightailed it to Ohio. I never thought I’d be driving ol’ Peepcar back in Central Ohio, where it came from. It does make navigation easier, though — the car just knows where to go.