I've probably driven to Madison from Chicago 50-100 times in my life between going to school or coming up to visit since I've graduated.
For the most part, the goal has always been to get to Madison as quickly and painlessly as possible. Especially during the past couple of years...get out of O'Hare, get to Madison, have a good time, and then get back home to see my parents.
Today, though, I was met with the wonderful realization that time really wasn't a major concern.
Before I left NC, I asked Craig if there were any sites to see or recommendations he had before I headed west. His basic recommendation I believe was advice Flip had given him previous to his first few trips to Idaho, which was "stay off the interstates wherever possible."
I followed that advice today. Good for me.
I took the back roads up from my parents' home to Madison. It took barely any extra time, and what a beautiful drive. The rolling farmland was all lush and green under a nearly cloudless blue sky. I really have an attraction to barn and farmhouse architecture.
My drive took me through Fox Lake, and then past Lake Geneva. I realized that the last time I'd seen those areas was from a plane during my hours of pilot training. I immediately began longing to get back into the air. But nonetheless, I relived a lot of great memories of my flight hours as I drove.
When I got to Madison, Ryan, his girlfriend Megan and I hit up the Parthenon for a Gyro and Fries. It was a beautiful evening so we sat in their roof garden. Always tasty, I realized that this might have been the first time I'd even eaten there during a PM hour. No, they don't serve breakfast. No less satisfying as a regular meal, though.
After, we hung out with a few adult beverages and just shot the shit, which was nice. I realized I wasn't even totally sure what day it was. What a strangely wonderful feeling.
So, tomorrow, I'll get up when Ryan heads out, and start meandering west. I figure I'll know where I'm stopping for the night when I get there. Boy oh boy what an exciting time this is.
PS... Dearest Kari, Despite the realization that had you been thrown from the rollercoasters that you rode this weekend, you'd likely have died instantaneously, sparing you all pain, I'm very glad that you survived. I have lots of big plans for us before your funeral.