Sunday, April 01, 2007

Chicago Trip, Day 7

The final day of my trip had arrived. Carolyn had a book club Friday evening, so she had instructed me to get home in time (7:30 or 8 or so) for her to go to that. As such, I got up ear-lie and was out the door by 6:45 AM.

South out of Peoria on I-155, I got off at Exit 115, followed some county roads west and then south to pick up Menard (#106) and then back onto I-55 to Champaign, where I took I-72 westbound into Sangamon (#107), Morgan (#108) and Scott (#109).

At some point in there I was feeling kind of tired, so I pulled off at a gas station and took a little nap for about 1/2 hour. This would come back to haunt me. I headed down IL-100, which I think is Illinois' answer to the king of all roads. While not nearly as nice as the King, who winds through 11 counties in 119 miles (and 8 counties in only 58!), IL-100 did wind through 4 counties in 40 miles - the aforementioned Scott, Pike (#110), Greene (#111) and Jersey (#112). As has been noted before in this space - the king likes to jog - that's how he gets so many counties.

At Hardin, IL, I crossed over the Illinois River on to IL-16 which I followed for 30 miles into Macoupin (#113). Near Royal Lakes, I pulled an audible, that in retrospect was probably a bad move. The plan had been to continue on IL-16 until it reached I-55. In looking at the map though, it seemed like if I cut south, I would spend just about the same number of miles, but end up 8 miles south on I-55. The roads I followed though turned out to be through cities - including in Mount Olive where EVERY BLOCK had a stop sign. The historic "Route 66" markers were not enough to ease my pain. I eventually did find my way into Morgan County (#114), though I did not see the county line sign until the way back - I ended up going about 2 miles too far.

Then it was time for more Interstate fun. I-55 took me through Madison county (previously visited) and then I toured the eastern part of the St. Louis beltway, picking up St. Clair (#115) and Monroe (#116) before heading east on I-64 towards home.

And here I experienced another annoyance. On my trip here, I had done an out and back to
pick up Clinton county, but now I sailed through Clinton on I-64, rendering my previous out and back worthless. It is annoyances like this that I strive to avoid, which is one reason why I hate to leave counties on the table, so to speak. After Clinton came Washington (#117), which I had not realized I was going to hit, and means one less county needed on next week's journey, though it does leave Randolph County kind of annoyingly "out there".

Anyways, Washington was the last (new) county in Illinois, leaving me at 92 out of 102 - just 10 left for next week's adventure, should that come to pass. As I crossed into Indiana, another out and back from last Saturday was rendered meaningless, as I sailed through Posey County, IN.

A few miles into Indiana, I got off at IN-37 for a quick out and back into Pike (#118), though again, I went further than I needed to due to not having a printed out map of where the county border exactly was. No more new counties until I headed north on IN-37 into Orange (#119). At this point I realized that somehow, I had gotten behind schedule. I don't know if it was poor planning, or the hour I lost moving east, or the nap or what, but I pulled an audible, giving up on Lawrence county and headed east on IN-56 then north on IN-39 and east on IN-256 through Jackson (#120) and Scott (#121).

At I-65, I saw signs that IN-256 was closed to thru traffic. I pulled off to the side of the road and found a workable alternative North on 65 then east on IN-250, getting Jennings (#122) and Jefferson (#123). Maneuvering around the Jefferson proving ground ( Some sort of military base it appears) got me on to IN-62 to pick up my final county of the trip, Switzerland (#124). I was trying to get home as fast as I could, but these last few roads (IN-250 and IN-62) were QUITE windy. Then I ran into Friday night casino traffic in Lawrenceburg, so I got home a bit later than I was hoping.

All in all, it was quite a crazy week. I dropped off the car Saturday morning and the guy was like "You did some driving!" It was 3581 miles total for the week. For a comparison, that would be longer than the longest Interstate in the US (3099 miles) as well as longer than the distance between Seattle and Key West (3510 miles). Hee hee I'm silly.

The before map:

And the after:


Carolyn said...

And I got to my book club an hour late! But I still love you. And thank you for trying to get home quickly. And for not dying. :-)

Anonymous said...

Didn't you miss Calhoun County, Illinois?

dan said...

You are correct - the king did also jog through Calhoun County - that should be #110 1/2