You know what they say about a picture being worth a thousand words, and all that. Well, here’s the picture:
If DD reads this, I’m going to get yelled at, but here goes with “the story.”
I spent the previous night in Henderson, Kentucky. I had chosen that out-of-the-way destination based on multiple recommendations on Roadfood about this little restaurant that serves the best fried chicken in the country. Maybe the world. I was warned that it was hard to find. And it was dark by the time I checked into my hotel. But, undaunted, I took off with a street map in hand, looking for chicken. I’m still looking. SIGH…. I had noted another semi-famous chicken place in my wanderings through this little town, so when I finally gave up on Bon Ton Mini Mart…I headed to my second choice. I had wasted so much time that the sidewalks had rolled up, and it was closed! Bummer! By then, I was really hungry, and when I passed a service station/convenience store advertising chicken in a big way…I wheeled in. It was OK. Not memorable. But OK.
Little did I know that I had set the tone for this trip. I was destined to wander. A lot. In the dark. With little gas.
So, the next morning, I bopped on up to Columbus, IN, which was the closest hotel room to Bloomington I could find. It was something like 60 miles away, I think. But, no worries. I have old friends in Columbus and Indianapolis, and they met me for lunch. We had pork tenderloin sandwiches at the Columbus Bar, another Roadfood recommendation. They were stupendous! The company was great. I’ve known one of these guys about 30 years or so. The other I’ve known a long time, too. Lots of memories and catching up later, I headed on over to Bloomington.
I took about a bazillion photos of the DCI finals. I don’t know yet if there will be any that are artistic enough to interest non-fans, so there are no examples of the evening’s festivities here just yet. But, the real story begins AFTER the competition. Things wound down about midnight, and I headed out of the parking lot, figuring I’d be snug in my bed in Columbus around 1:00 a.m. HAH!
Like a sheep, I followed four or five cars through a “Y” in the road. I should have blazed my own trail. I knew I wanted Highway 46. I found myself on Highway 446 instead. I figured this was just a loop which would hook back up with 46 on the outskirts of town. It was a loop alright! I refer you to the map above. By the time I realized I was NOT going to be back on 46 any time soon, I had invested way too much time and gas in this venture to turn around. Did I mention that I had less than a quarter of a tank when I left Bloomington? That’s plenty in my little Honda Civic…assuming I had followed my intended route. Meandering throughout Southern Indiana….a quarter of a tank ain’t so much gas. In the middle of the night.
I was worried. Seriously worried.
My sense of direction told me I was way south and west of where I wanted to be, so when I ran into a road heading east (perhaps toward the interstate where I would find GAS), I took it. Miles and miles of nothing. I mean NOTHING. Then I spied a road heading north. Surely that would get me back to 46. Surely. The nothingness became oppressive. I didn’t know at the time that I was driving through a national forest. No people. No gas. No signs. No nothing. Nothing but darkness. And a little fog. And curves. See those little dots on on Route 135? You think those mean “scenic route” don’t you? Well, what they really represent are 20 MPH multiple curves – with steep little hills built into them. I just KNEW I was going to wrap my little Honda around one of those humongous trees and die on a lonely road in the middle of the night in a forest in Indiana. I kept thinking how ticked off DD was going to be with me.
Eventually, I began to recognize names of towns – Gnaw Bone for one. Doncha love that? I sure did at that moment, I can guarantee you! At that point, the little red warning light had not yet come on, even though the gas gauge was sitting on E. I knew I had about 17 miles to go when the light came on…and I knew Gnaw Bone was about 15-20 miles from my hotel. If I could make it to Gnaw Bone without the light coming on…I’d probably sleep safe that night (instead of in my car on the side of the road…which was looking like my reality). On I pressed. I nearly cried when I saw the “Junction 46” sign just west of Gnaw Bone. Safe! And almost “home.” Waaaaay past my bedtime. I’ve never been so glad to see a Holiday Inn sign in my life!
I ended up wandering and watching the gas gauge again before the trip was over. But, that’s a story for another day. Right now, I’m trying to decide exactly how I’m going to spend the rest of my vacation. I really don’t quite know what to do with all this free time!
I’ll think of something. 🙂