Oh So Normal? (Jan 30 2014)

DSC01557.JPGBig Dog insists the sellers must get the generator fixed. In the meantime, we’ve already checked out of our overpriced hotel room and are waiting in the lobby. The longer we wait, the worse the weather getts. What was sparkly clear the day before is a mean gray today, with snow flurries daring you to step out.

What will happen next. Do we still buy this unknown and drive it into more unknown? (I wanted an adventure!) Do we bail from this sale, rent a car and drive it across the country? Do we just check back into our room, go online and book ourselves a flight to Somewhere/Anywhere Warm?

The sellers finally return. With a new house battery (it was dead – which was why none of the lights worked) and the generator fixed. The “son-in-law” shows me that the stove top works. We still don’t know about the water systems but Big Dog gets the sellers to agree to pay for any repairs on it that need to be done on the plumbing.

With that, we say our goodbyes and good lucks and take off. It’s snowing pretty steadily, so Big Dog takes it nice and easy. So easy, in fact, that huge rigs are passing us on the highway. Thankfully the traffic gets lighter as we move away from Chicago.

DSC01562.JPGThis is Route 66! Too bad you can’t see anything for the snow. There are giant windmills on the side and Big Dog says “Aren’t those the ones we saw from the air?” but I remember seeing a whole field of them from the air, not just 3 or 4. Turns out there IS a whole field of them. You just can’t see them through the snow.

The land is flat. Very flat. Right now, that’s a Very Good Thing.


We pass Wilmington and onto to Bloomington, a town with several colleges. We read that it is “greasy.” Hmmm.

It is already in the late afternoon and there’s a Motel 6 in Normal, nearby. I navigate Big Dog straight to it but miss the driveway and have to go back around in the snow, then up a snowy driveway to the motel office. Crunch, crunch, crunch.

DSC01568.JPGWhile Big Dog’s setting things up in the rig – we had only quickly thrown in our luggage earlier – I walk to the Circle K next door to get beer. Crunch, crunch, crunch. Crunching through more cold, crunchy snow. Just the short jaunt from the motel to the mini-mart next door freezes my butt off.

DSC01571.JPG“Maybe it’s too cold for beer,” I joke with the cashier at the mini-mart. He’s a nice looking African American man – a student? – there is nothing “greasy” feeling about either the store or the staff.


Back in the room, we are both glued to the Weather Channel, pulling ourselves away to have a quick bite at a Denny’s across the street. Big Dog has country-fried steak and I order a Cobb salad. Being used to those horse-sized salads they serve in California, this one looks downright skimpy.

“Look at the people here,” I whisper to Big Dog. “They look exactly like the customers at Denny’s in Waikiki.”

Motel 6. Circle K. Denny’s. This is Middle America. This is the Heartland. We are the not-so-normal people in oh-so-normal Normal.


Author: ontheroadwithsprockets

I've been traveling since I was born -- the first big trip was before I was two, across the Pacific, from my native Japan to Los Angeles on a cargo ship. There have been many journeys since then, through many continents and cultures.

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