Out And A Boat

Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise (The Rowers’ Lunch), 1875, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

Lunch at the Restaurant Fournaise (The Rowers’ Lunch), 1875, Pierre-Auguste Renoir

We dawn launched out of Saint Louis, driving east across the river on the Poplar Street bridge, into the Land of Lincoln. It began as a rather uneventful road trip, one the Anne and I have made many times. We stopped for breakfast in Effingham, IL, after passing one of the largest if not the largest crosses in America. Road construction and a detour there initiated our day long drive’s love affair with summer highway construction. Actually, it really wasn’t all that bad. This being the Friday before the week of the 4th of July, always a big vacation week, the road crews had already pretty much packed up. There were still a few sticky section, but overall construction was not a problem, 

We stopped once in Illinois for breakfast, once in Indiana for gas and once in Michigan to make a pit stop and change drivers. As we were driving north from Indianapolis, a line of thunderstorms began to build to the west. Through perseverance and a little speeding we were able to skate along just outside the leading edge of this storm front. By the time that we hit Fort Wayne, it was in our rear view mirror. Only one raindrop fell on our windshield.

We were not so lucky in Michigan. Another line of storms had situated itself ahead of us and astride our path. There was no going around them, our only choice was to go through them. Unfortunately for her, it was Anne’s turn in the barrel. Immediately after turning east onto I-94, we ran into a cell that forced us to pull off onto the highway’s shoulder. Fortunately, we were not alone. We ended up situated in the middle of about a dozen other stopped vehicles.  

Eventually and with much trepidation we moved along and made it to our evening’s destination, Chez Harry’s in Ann Arbor. Some of the source of this trepidation was not weather related, but was related to that dreaded creature, the Michigan driver. Anne kept reciting, “Everybody’s got one, but that is no reason to act like one.” She repeated this every time a Michigan driver swerved in front of her without so much as a by your leave, let alone using their turn signals. This boorish behavior was not limited to the SUV and pickup truck set either. You could pass this off as mad rush hour behavior, except that every time I’ve driven to Michigan, in the forty years that I have been coming here, this is the usual fare. In all the other states of this illustrious union that I have driven in and I have driven in most, Michigan is the only state whose drivers behave so badly.

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