Washington, D.C.

July 5 - July 8



Wednesday - Day One

We leave Chicago around midday, and head for Indiana, and very soon we give our last hour back. We are taking a detour from our planned journey, heading south earlier than expected to meet Jessi in Richmond near the Ohio border. So instead of following the industrial lakeside highways into Ohio and Pennsylvania, we are taking the more rural I-65 through Indianapolis in the general direction of DC. It is a hazy day. The sun slides in and out of clouds. The area we drive through is green, luxuriant in crops and foliage. On either side of the road: corn. (I am regretting, a little, not trying the corn on sticks that we could have had at the Taste of Chicago; Philip was avoiding it because of corn's propensity to lodge in one's teeth, and at the time I agreed. Now that we prepare to drive away from the heartland, I am just a little sorry.

At 4:00 EDT we pass through Indianapolis, after having weathered (and skirted) summer construction on the I-65. The Indianapolis skyline looks inviting, with a cluster of skyscrapers scratching the horizon and, behond them, the spires of churches aspiring to touch them. Skyscrapers, monuments to man, dwarfing churches (monuments to God).

On our way to Chicago we travelled with a number of vintage cars, saloons from the 1930s and 1940s, the kinds of cars you imagine gangsters shooting out of, all done up in pretty colours (fire engine red, sunset orange, etc etc). We are driving behind another one now. I think of Indianapolis and wonder whether there is some special vintage car race gong on somewhere within.

As we near Richmond, we pass a recurrent billboard, rising cheerfully out of cornfields at intervals: "TOM RAPER RVs, World's Largest Dealer". Imagine what we thought the first time we saw it.


As we drive through Indiana we quickly realise that once again we're in a state that doesn't do daylight savings time, and so we get our hour back for the night. That means that we have more time in Richmond than we had planned. So we check in to our Holiday Inn and give Jessi a call. Dinner is set for seven so we have the opportunity to get a short rest before leaving the hotel. Nico orders a movie (unintentionally) and Philip answers email and gets a short nap and then we are off to dinner.

We arrive and are warned by Jessi that her dog might have problems with us but the opposite is true as she is quite friendly and tries to come to us at every opportunity. The house is very nice, as is the neighbourhood. We shortly get down to eating dinner and there are five of us. Jessi's mom and dad, her younger brother and of course Jessi and us. Dinner is very nice, a pasta salad and I think the other salad would be called a three bean salad. Holly was right, the bread, made by Jessi's dad, was also good. We have wonderful dinner conversation and come away with a couple of great stories - one involving a motorcycle helmet, the other a group of Buddhist monks (ask Jessi). We sit around and talk for a while about a number of things, including of course Pearson College. We could not stay as late as we may have liked because tomorrow is a long day of driving and that means a very early rise. It was worth the detour to see Jessi and to visit with her family and it confirms the fact that it's the students that make Pearson College the place that it is and it's the students that we'll miss the most.

 back to chicago
 on to day 2


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