Thursday, June 11 — From Lincoln to Joliet, IL (499 miles)


Today was mostly a driving day, and not a very pleasant one! For one thing, we had a bit of a delay in the morning after a night full of surprises: We had quite a massive thunderstorm with pouring rain in the late evening, and as we were watching the rain come down in sheets, our smoke alarm suddenly started beeping, and water poured through the opening in the ceiling where it was mounted! We quickly moved the empty cooler in the spot, and when we called the building maintenance, they promised to come in the morning. But by that time, it had happened one more time (around 1 am in the morning), with more water coming through that opening. And then at 6 am, the actual fire alarm for the building went off in the hallway, and the fire department came with a couple of trucks! We actually assumed (not smelling smoke) that it was the same problem, and although Mark went downstairs, I and also our houseguest, Tricia, stayed in the apartment. Ironically, it was not the same problem–but it was a totally separate water issue in the sprinkler system, so it was still water-related!

We managed to go back to sleep after the firemen had left the building, and then waited until we got to talk to the maintenance guy, who came knocking at our door around 8:30. But the beauty of not owning a house, but a condo, is that we could then still take off rather than having to deal with the repairs, which involve a clogged drain on the roof–the building is responsible for that. We left at about 10 am, and then finally got on the road. We took off in the rain, and it pretty much rained all the way until we stopped–sometimes just a bit, sometimes in massive amounts, but it never stopped all day! So we just drove straight through to Joliet outside of Chicago, only taking a lunch break at a cheap diner somewhere in Iowa (“The Embers,” lunch box collection on shelves, that sort of thing). At around 6:30, we ended checking in at the Harrah’s Casino Hotel in Joliet, because I thought Mark should at least have a little poker after some really heroic driving with poor visibility and nasty road conditions. (Plus, his discounts make staying at casinos pretty cheap!) So we had dinner at the casino buffet (decent, not wonderful), and then I crawled into bed to read while Mark stayed and played poker for a little bit. But we were both in bed and asleep before 11.


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