Anxiety, god damn it. Having a truck filled with your life’s belongings is a time bomb for anxiety. Having it parked on a public street turns that time bomb into a WMD. What I’m saying is I didn’t sleep much last night. I just kept worrying about the truck. That and an air mattress is not conducive to a good night’s sleep. Really — the term “air mattress” is misleading. It sounds so comfortable. Like you’re floating on a cloud, being lulled to sleep by the ancient gods of the 4 winds. Sleeeeeeeeeep . . . But, like the water bed, in reality it’s just a trip to a masseuse.
I actually got up at 3am to check on the truck. God, I’m paranoid. I must have gotten 2 hours sleep max. And now I have a day’s driving ahead of me. For a final night in our Chicago apartment, it was pretty crappy. Megan and I loaded the last of our items into the truck around 7:30am. Luckily, Drew Korb walked over before we set off. He helped us get these final items into the truck and say goodbye.
Waiting outside was our landlord, Lalo. The Italian stallion. He stayed in his car, never once acknowledging us. I think he waned to give us a moment to say goodbye. Either that or he was afraid to say good bye himself. I doubt that, though. He handed us our deposit (In Full!). My biggest regret was when we handed Lalo the keys. I wanted to go up and take one last look around — have one of those Hollywood movie moments where you say goodbye to a place like it was a living, breathing thing. As soon as we handed over those keys, the apartment didn’t feel like ours. I wanted to go in, but I walked to the truck and drove away. Kinda sad.
Before we left, we made one last stop at Jeremy Clarks. He was waiting on his stoop with his fiancée Tracey and Izzy, his daughter. Izzy still wouldn’t have anything to do with us. With us gone, who would give her chocolate yogurt (pudding) and snacks? She dug her head into her dad’s shouler and let us go away. Maybe we can Skype in the future. Who knows. She did wave as we drove away. Poor Izzy.
And so, we leave Chicago. We drive past both of our first Chicago Apartments in the Ashland / Irving Park area and then make our way to I-90/95 — on our way to Los Angeles. We make a stop for gas and breakfast in a small Illinois town. Then we head to The Quad Cities to have lunch with good ol’ Uncle Mike. Oh, Uncle Mike who didn;t trust his Garmin to lead him to the Cracker Barrel off I-80. So he was 45 minutes late. The Garmin knows, Mike. It always knows.
While we waited, we played a game of Checkers on the Cracker Barrel patio, sitting in their oversized rocking chairs. We browsed the old fashioned confectionaries and country nick knacks. While the whole stop was about two hours, it was needed. The lack of sleep form the night before was wearing me thin. When Mike finally arrived and we ate , he told us stories of Detroit during the 60s riots and living in The Quad Cities for the past few months. It was a nice visit.
We made another stop at my old favorite. The Iowa 80 Truck Stop — the world’s largest truck stop. Not once have I not stopped at this oasis. It was my half way mark on the way from Milwaukee and Chicago. I knew this would be the last time I may ever visit this place. As well, Megan had never been, so we had to make the stop.
As we drove further into Iowa, the sleep deprivation starts getting to me. So we make a stop at a rest area to sit and rest. We also upload an audio book to my phone — World War Z. This is my life saver. It keeps me focused on the next 4 hours of driving. I highly recommend this audio book: Henry Rollins. Alan Alda. Mark Hamill. Rob Reiner. Carl Reiner. Awesome cast.
When we’re about 30 miles from Omaha, the truck’s gas light goes on. I skip a shady looking gas station in favor of one about 15 miles away when Megan freaks. I assure her that we’ll be fine. She’s clearly agitated with me. When we do stop I discover just how expensive gas will be . . .
We make it into Omaha about 7:15pm — about 11 hours. Pretty bad considering it usually takes about 7. But we stopped a lot. This is the first time we’ve ben to Omaha since the wedding. Weeeee! Mom orders Godfather’s Pizza and we chow down and then sleep. Much, much needed sleep.