Day 28- Drama in the Heartland
Okay, now that I’ve got your attention- let me tell you about our day.
Our alarm went off at 3am, so that we could get to the airport for our 5:45am flight to Kansas City, MO, the first leg of our journey to visit Lonnie’s father in Manhattan, Kansas. Our flight was early, there was no turbulence descending to Denver, both flights were relatively uncrowded, there were no problems with luggage, and we landed early in Kansas City. As we got onto the shuttle to the rental car company, I remarked that everything was just smooth as silk today- perfect!
We switched from our reserved SUV to a Ford Fusion, because there is no snow, and plugged in the GPS as we drove out of the parking lot. We should have taken the time to make sure it was operational, but I played with it and also loaded in directions on my iPhone and thought we were good to go. Unfortunately, between the continued loss of power in the Garmin and operator error with the iPhone, we ended up going the wrong way out of Kansas City. After driving the half hour loop back to the correct freeway and discovering that we had the GPS plugged into the wrong slot, we got on Hwy 70 W to make the 2 hour drive to Manhattan. Whew!
After driving through Topeka, a police car sped PAST us (whew, again). We drove for another few miles and then came to a complete stop behind a long line of cars- the right lane was closed. Eventually we could see lights and emergency vehicles way far ahead at the crest of a small hill.
This was my view.
For almost an hour.
Occasionally the big truck in front of us would start to inch forward- oh happy day! Finally! But then it turned out that a car further up the road had decided to stop waiting and drive down the embankment of weeds and up onto the freeway heading east. We saw that happen a few times- and also saw a couple fender benders between cars as they inched along. Things were getting tense.
Finally, traffic started to move very slowly up the hill. But as we got closer to the top, we could see that sheriff’s deputies were sending all the cars down the embankment and onto the freeway heading east. A deputy approached our car and told us we would have to do the same, because it would be at least a two hour wait. The big rigs pulled over and settled in. So down the embankment we drove- while we wished for the Jeep we had reserved.
Long story short, we followed the deputy’s directions and headed south and eventually north and west to rejoin Hwy 70. Although we had lost a couple hours of driving time, we were relieved that the experience was over.
We pulled into a rest stop, where I snapped a few photos while being pummeled by the wind.
Parenthetical note: Last night, while searching unsuccessfully for my Verizon modem, I found the lens cap that had been missing for several months- on my desk! For about 15 hours, I had a lens cap on every lens, which somehow has upset the balance of the universe- so the photo below shows where today I lost a different lens cap. Order has been restored.
We resumed our drive on Hwy 70, and I started to doze. My nap was interrupted by an increasingly loud scraping sound, which I thought was from the change in road surface as we crossed the Kansas River.
Here is where we finally pulled off just outside Manhattan, so that I could take a golden hour photo and Lonnie could check out the scraping sound.
It really was that golden!
What Lonnie discovered under the car: the thingamabob that attaches to the underside of the bumper had become dislodged, probably when we went down the embankment. He shoved it back up and called Thrifty. Long story short- there is no Thrifty within a few hours’ drive, so we are to take it off and bring it in with the car when we return it.
So, tonight we were chauffeured around after dark by Lonnie’s 87 year old father.
Tomorrow Lonnie is going to try to do something about the bumper with either a screw driver or duct tape. And then he’s going to buy a new Verizon modem, because the internet connection at the hotel is from the nineties.
If you read this far, let me assure you I promise to not write this much tomorrow.