When we finally arrived in Indiana at 11pm Tuesday night, two-year-old Leah was sleeping.
My dad had never met her before. I asked if he wanted to carry her into the house – it’s so rare to hold her while she’s sleeping anymore. Thanks to many chats via webcam, Leah smiled and recognized him as “grandpa” when she woke up in his arms. While she usually is quiet and shy around strangers, she wasn’t afraid at all.
Our trip took four hours longer than Google Maps said it would, but then, they weren’t counting on us stopping at every other rest stop, hours spent crawling in 55 mph construction zones, or evening thunderstorms with blindingly torrential downpours.
One of the most memorable scenes from our trip, in addition to some spectacular, dragon-esque cloud formations and some crazy lightning, was watching a cop get run off the road.
Someone driving a light blue hatchback zoomed past the undercover state trooper on I-76. The cop, who was sporting a four-door maroon sedan, once belonging to someone’s grandmother but apparently refurbished for the police department with an engine fit for a race car, flashed his lights as the blue car passed.
In the distance, I could see the blue car pulling over to the right shoulder. The cop approached the parked car. Just as he went to pull in behind the zipster, a black car, who had been in caravan with the blue one, pulled into the very spot. The cop couldn’t swerve left because he’d hit the oncoming traffic. Instead, he swerved right and down a slight grassy hill on the side of the road. We passed by just as he regained control without flipping his car (wow!) and then turned his wheels up towards the two stopped cars. As we drove by, we watched as the cop threw his car into park and exited – red faced and screaming like he was going to kill someone – followed by the grannymobile lurching to a halt.
A few hours later, while in the middle of Ohio, Andrew and I could see menacing lightning striking through gushing rainclouds on our path in the distance. Can’t go around it, can’t go over it, can’t go under it, we’ve got to go through it! I was driving. I warned the kids. “We’re about to go through a really bad thunderstorm. It’s going to be hard for mommy to see and the roads are going to have a lot of water on them – it’s going to be easy for the car to slip. When we get to the storm, please sit still and be quiet,” I said. “Even if you’re scared, do NOT scream.” They obeyed and Jack Johnson and his peaceful guitar sang us through.