Thursday, September 26, 2013

US Route66- Day 1, Sept 17, 2013 Tuesday

Its finally time. I had initially thought to start on Wednesday morning but two things led to change my mind. One of my friend who lives in Bloomington, IL, failed to visit me over the weekend because he got stuck with work. It'd still be okay for me to leave Illinois without seeing him because we met the previous weekend but I thought what the hell, lets meet him for one last time because I don't know when will we see each other again. Bloomington is 2 hr drive away from my place and its actually on 66 as well so doesn't hurt to pay him a visit. I could have started Wednesday morning, stop by his office, have lunch with him and then leave but I thought if I leave Tuesday evening, not only will be able to stay at his place for the night, I'd also beat the Chicago traffic in the morning, thereby saving me precious travel time. Great. So I decided to leave Tuesday evening.
Most of the day time was spent on packing my stuff. My roommate, Sreejit, helped me pack. He then also helped fill up my car with my stuff. I had two big bags, a chair and table which can be dismantled and put in box, kitchen stuff in a big box, exercise equipment like dumbbells, door gym etc. I was little worried looking at those heavy dumbbells that these might break down my car's suspension. Driving few miles with these weights loaded up is one thing but driving 2200mi over 6 days is completely different. For a moment I had given up. I had plans to leave those weights behind and take only those stuff that are absolutely necessary but then these weights are crucial for my daily exercise routine too. Aahh!!! What to do?
Anyways, I thought I'll carry them with me and will deal with things later on, if anything happens. I put some cushions on the car floor like pillows and comforters and wrapped my dumbbells in there, plus I spread them over both sides (driver and passenger) as well as front and back row. Cool!
All set, I took a picture with my roommate and started the drive. The traffic was very light so the drive was without much frustration. Filled up my tank before I touch Chicago city and then moved on.
The first stop was Launching Pad drive in where we have the Launching pad giant, one of the three giants in Illinois. Some iconic figure representative of 66. I knew that if I include Launching pad giant, I've to visit the other two giants too. I cannot afford to miss even one. Then it will always feel incomplete. Very much similar to the trilogy of movie or book. If you watch or read one, you gotta finish the other two too. One hour of driving and I'm there. It was around 8:30pm. Not many people were around. There was a gas station across the road. I went in there, got myself a bottle of water but couldn't summon the courage to ask the cashier lady to come out with me and take a picture of mine with the giant. Came out of the store and saw a dude filling up his tank. I asked him to take a pic and he obliged. First attraction done. It wasn't so bad. The giant is nothing special. Its glittering green and, well, a giant.

In the meantime, my Bloomington friend, Siddharth has been calling me up and inquiring how far am I now. He was waiting for me to arrive so that we can have dinner together. As soon as I left the giant, I saw the route 66 sign. I had to stop and take a picture. I knew I'd see such signs throughout my trip but I thought I might not have time to stop and get out of traffic etc to take a pic so might as well do it now when its 9pm and there is no traffic whatsoever for miles. A pic using the front camera of phone and I'm done. I've got evidence for myself, that I've done it. This should be enough to remind me of my epic trip that's going to happen.

Anyways, I reached Bloomington at 11pm, had dinner with my friend then gossip for an hour before retiring to bed. Long day ahead and it starts at 9am.

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