Monday, December 08, 2008

The Scenic Route

The projected high temperature today in St. Louis is about five times greater than Indianapolis was when we arrived on Friday. If I ever need a little dose of winter to break up the monotony of fall, it’s only a four hour drive away.

Except when it’s a six hour drive. I’ve probably made the trek from here to the frozen tundra where I grew up sixty times. It’s easy, really, Take I-70 east to Indianapolis. Optimally, to get to the northwest side where I grew up, take a left at the airport, and follow the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (er, 465) to where I-69 begins (it only goes one way from Indy—North). Exit 5 is Fishers.

The trickiest part of the whole trip is to not miss the exit from 70 onto 70 just outside of St. Louis. No, that’s not a typo. Thanks to the spaghetti bowl that is downtown St. Louis, three major highways converge to cross the various bridges by the arch, and once you’re East Side, there’s one small sign and a one-lane exit ramp that allows you to continue west and avoid Chicago. Did I mention that the sign is really easy to miss, especially when you’re distracted by kids or other drivers or just stuck behind a semi? Or reading a book, which is what I was doing. Normally, my husband hates it when I tell him which route to take when he’s driving. But sometimes I’m just as annoying when I fail to pay attention.

About thirty minutes north of the Lou, my husband needed a potty break. He returned bearing a map of Illinois and bad news. We were headed towards the wrong city. We had two options: turn around or re-calculate our route. Either way was likely to add an hour to our original ETA. But what the heck, we were well stocked with sodas, goldfish crackers, and animated DVD’s. We went north.

55 North from St. Louis to Springfield, 72 East from Springfield through Decatur and onto Champagne. 74 continues east from Champagne. And then, instead of sticking to interstates and heading south back to 465, I decided that we could try a state highway. 74 to Indiana 32, all the way east through Lebanon, Westfield, Noblesville, to where it hits 37, just 5 minutes from my Mom’s house.

According to Yahoo Maps, the detour added about an hour and fifteen minutes to the drive. According to our windows, it also added quaint views of old-fashioned small towns and lonely farm houses, decked out in holiday lights. We passed two separate “Santa Shacks” where folks were lined up for photos and free cocoa. Downtown Noblesville is quite picturesque, with the courthouse square and over a century’s worth of archictectural styles in the surrounding residential areas. It’s been a very long time—a decade or more—since I’ve driven around there, and it was fun to see what was still the same, and what was not.

The kids were less impressed by the scenic route than I was. And it will be a long time before I care to watch the Veggie Tales A Snoodle’s Tale again (alas, it was the unlucky DVD that remained in the player at the end of the trip, and we looped it about 4 times over the weekend).

Our route home: 465 to 70 to Lindbergh, with a stop in Effingham for Starbucks. We left the snow back home in Indiana.

1 comment:

Bethany said...

Hummm, I seem to remember doing something like that on my way to KC MO. Gotta love East St. Louis. Hope you had a great weekend in Indy.