Tuesday morning, April 19, the red HHR Chevrolet is packed and we’re ready to go. I put the key in the ignition and—nothing. The battery is dead. I call Hanson Tire in Albert Lea for help.
In just over an hour after I called, Kelvin says, “You’re ready to go.”
He brought a new battery, helped me unpack the trunk, put in the new battery, packed the trunk again (the battery is in the trunk) and wished us a good trip. Not only does Kelvin know about Minnesota Nice, he also knows how to give good service. Kelvin: Many, many thanks. You made a lady named Genie happy, as she thought we would have a major delay.
We head south on I-35, fill up with cheap Iowa gas at Clear Lake and proceed on Ave of the Saints shortcut to I-80 East. We stop at McDonald’s in Center Point, IA, where Sandy, the lady order taker, asks us, “How far are you going?”
We tell her we’re going to the Atlantic Ocean and back to Minnesota. She gets all teary-eyed and hopes we will bring her some sand from the ocean on our way back (she is homesick, as she used to live next to the ocean). We agreed.
We get on I-80 East at Coralville, IA. We gawk at the world’s largest truck stop as we go by. We take I-74 East off I-80 and stay the first night at the Quality Inn just off of War Memorial Drive in Peoria, IL. (We are both Choice Privileges Elite Members and they treated us most elite-ly.)
I-74 into Cincinnati, Ohio, where we stop at the home of Roger and Linda Worrell. Nobody was home, and I knew where the house key was hidden (Roger told me) so we let ourselves in, fixed a big meal with a can of Coke and left a $50 bill attached to a Coke can with a three-worded message, “Fact or Fiction.” (The Worrells have a cabin on Beaver Lake and are faithful readers of this column.)
We got our stomach full of rush hour bumper-to-bumper traffic on I-275 around Cincinnati to our Comfort Inn destination on Ertels Road. We travel across Ohio to I-64 connecting with I-77 at Charleston, WV—the beautiful, gold plated capital of West Virginia—on into North Carolina.
We stopped at the first rest stop in West Virginia. The soap, wash and dry was all one unit. It looked like what you might find in a spaceship.
We pulled into a Virginia freeway gas station just ahead of a red car also getting gas. The lady driver explains her involvement in the rescue of English Springer dogs. This was very unusual to us. The most unusual thing was that her car was identical to ours!
Thursday night, after 1,191 miles, we arrive at our destination: Winston-Salem, NC, where our daughter Deb and son-in-law Roland live. We stayed at the Sleep Inn Motel – Hanes Mall while they showed us around town and visited the long weekend, as they took Friday off.
They took us to Muddy Creek on Bethania Road. What a place! The lettering above the door was from the original business, “Corn Shelling and Seed Cleaning.” The building was originally used for farm-related activities. There was an indoor-outdoor place to eat with live entertainment. Inside was a beauty salon across form a musical instrument store. A duo entertained on the stage inside with bluegrass music plus some popular music.
We visited with the Paint Party People in one of the Shoppes. They were very friendly and talkative (Genie said it was due to my Northern accent; I think it was the mixture of wine and paint). Who has the run of the place? Earl Gray, the residential male Tomcat, that’s who.
We had Sunday brunch with Deb and Roland along with Barbara and Lloyd (Roland’s sister and brother-in-law) at an uptown restaurant in Winston-Salem with live music.
Continued next week.
Bob is a retired AAL (Aid Association for Lutherans) agent, currently working on his master’s degree in Volunteering. His wife, Genie, is a retired RN, currently working on her doctor’s degree in Volunteering. They have two children, Deb in North Carolina, and Dan in Vermont. Bob says if you enjoy his column, let him know. If you don’t enjoy it, keep on reading, it can get worse. Words of wisdom: There is always room for God.