Thanksgiving Chronicle: Ordinary Times and Travel post 2


Up here in the north woods, we always have the weather to contend with when we travel.  The threat of rain turning to snow was scaring us to start our trip a day early. Mom was mentally planning this early departure yesterday when we rolled in from the Minneapolis airport. She had nearly finished her packing and had all the ingredients for the Thanksgiving meal that we had promised to provide, ready to be put together. I baked my pies right away.  We planned to pack up in the morning and stay ahead of the storm.

We were making the drive in Mom’s car, which I love to drive. Mom likes to sit in the back seat surrounded by travel food and her pillows and blankets. The husband sits/sleeps in the “death seat” in front, although I try not to think of it that way. We have become fairly comfortable travel companions; the husband talking (a LOT) and Mom listening and passing us sandwiches and celery sticks at regular intervals. I kind of zone out as I drive. My text messages pop up on the Bluetooth digital screen on the dash, which is a really nice feature of the car. It is a Chevy Captiva. I have trouble remembering the model name, but I’m working on associating it with the mental image of a small SUV strapped into the middle seat of an airplane. That should bring it to mind.

It was a beautiful day for our many hours of driving, with no snow, not even a drop of rain. We were on the road by 9 am after packing the car – always a fun challenge. Mom’s part was the hardest since she was trying to think of everything she would need for the next few months. She started weeks ago putting things aside. As we put it all in the back of Captiva, the only thing she couldn’t locate was her money. She knew she had put the bank envelope in some reasonable place, some safe place where it would be easy to find when it was time to go. So much for that. We all searched everyplace we could think of. But I am so proud of Mom. She is able to laugh and let it be all good. We left and the money was either with us in a place we hadn’t remembered yet, or still back in Hayward, to be found later we hoped.

We drove about 9 hours. We traveled east across Wisconsin and for the first three or four hours we encountered only two trucks which we passed. What a change from the places I usually drive. The two lane road was bordered by forest and marshes, pine trees and birch, lots of rivers, streams and lakes. The dominant color was soft gray in varying intensities, with brushes of deep green and brown. We traveled through Winter, Florence, Minquoa and Eagle River before crossing the border into the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Escanaba and finally the Mackinac Bridge. We spent the night in the Super 8 in a town called Grayling, leaving only a short trip for the next day.

One of our last conversations driving down I-75 went like this;

The husband, as we were driving in the dark approaching an exit:  “The moon looks really strange tonight”. I looked for the moon in the direction the husband was pointing but what I saw in the sky above the tree line was a bright, round orb with a large M on it.

Me: “That’s a Marathon station at the exit. It’s not the moon, in spite of being marked with an M.”

Husband: “Oh, I thought it looked weird.” We were tired and it was only day 2.


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