Monday, September 15, 2008

Happiest Trip from Hell Ever

Rain. Heavy rain. Rain in sheets. Sideways rain. Big drops, little drops. Standing water, and lots of it. Truck spray. That's what we dealt with for the entire weekend as we headed to Illinois to pick up Winnie. Friday we got as far as Elkhart, Indiana, about 500 miles of torrential rain. After a stressful trip like that, we were very happy to find a place called the Chubby Trout, which served us enough food and Great Lakes Oktoberfest until we felt like we could get some sleep and start it all again the next day.

The next day was a shorter trip, so the skies decided to pour even more rain on us so we could get the maximum amount of rain per mile. It was absolutely brutal. This was, as it turns out, actually Hurricane Ike. As storms go, if you can rain that hard in Houston and Chicago at the same time, that's impressive.

But Winnie was at the end of our trip, so we took it all in stride. And we eventually reached Peg and Jim's house. The fun company and warm hospitality alone would have been worth the drive, but meeting Winnie and the rest of the dogs made for a day I'll never forget. This is our first meeting...

We had an awesome day with Peg and Jim and the dogs. Couldn't have been better, in fact. I enjoyed meeting and spending some time with two really great dogs, too - Carly (Winnie's Mom) and Miles (Carly's dad). Miles is one special dog.

So the next morning we hit the road east, and the rain continued. Passing Chicago, traffic stopped. For a long time. We found out that the highway was closed due to flooding, and all escape routes seemed to be blocked with traffic. We finally got out of the area, but a two hour delay there limited how much farther we could travel in one day. Winnie, meanwhile, was an angel. Traveled like a champ. Asked to go out a few times but other than that the car seemed to put her to sleep. Of course when we did stop for potty breaks, she wanted nothing to do with the rain. Sandy, from the warm, dry cockpit of the FJ Cruiser, was nice enough to help out by taking these pictures.

So, the rain continued and we limped into the Cleveland area out of gas and energy, only to find that our hotel's electricity was out. Deal killer. So we continued on and found not one but TWO additional pet-friendly hotels without electricity. We ended up going all the way to where we had originally planned to stay, rolled in at about 11 and crashed.

Winnie slept from 11 to 1, I let her out at 1 and then I had to wake her up at 6. Not a bad first night! And Monday morning greeted us with this really weird yellow/white light in the sky. I looked it up when we got home and it is called "sunshine." The rest of the trip was a breeze compared to the previous day.

So, 1,672 miles later, home - and two Jack Russells - were a welcome, albeit nervous sight for sore eyes...

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