Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Tuesday June 16, 2015-Elkhart County Fairgrounds

Our good friend Bernie has been very ill since being here and was put into the local (Goshen) hospital on Monday with dangerously low blood pressure. We then learned Monday night that he had been moved by ambulance back home to St. Louis MO to continue his treatment. Bernie's wife Judi and his trailer were still here, so a group of us decided to take them home on Tuesday. 

Larry, Roy and Mike and I met at their trailer Tuesday morning to get things put away and loaded up. We had things ready to go soon and after filling up Bernie and Larry's truck, which we would use as a chase vehicle to bring us back to Goshen. 

We actually pulled out at 9 AM sharp and began our journey with Larry and I in his truck and Roy, Mike and Judi in Bernie's truck pulling the trailer. We drove for about 3 hours before making our first stop. It was a quick stop for bathroom and something to drink and after a change of drivers, we were again on our way. We went on for a few more hours before stopping again, this time for a sandwich for all. This was a much longer stop and it felt good for all of us to walk around the truck stop to stretch out our cramped legs. This time we actually changed trucks, and Larry got his first chance to drive Bernie's new Ram. He was impressed with the new truck and after a few hours, we again stopped and changed drivers and I got a chance to pull the trailer. Of course, while I was driving it began to rain really hard and after we planned to pull over to wait out the rain, it slacked up and we kept going. It kept raining and I kept driving, entering St. Louis and the 5 o'clock traffic! The rain wasn't all that bad, but the traffic was horrible. And never having driven in St. Louis didn't help. We passed right by Ferguson, home of the famous rioters, but we didn't stop.

Judi guided us around to St. Charles, where we soon found their storage lot and put the trailer away safely. We helped Judi transfer her clothes over to the truck and after securing the trailer, we went to a nearby service station to fill up Larry's truck for the trip back. Judi suggested some restaurants for us to choose from for supper, but we decided to continue on with the trip while it was still light. We made another stop and driver change at a Burger King (yuk), and I again drove from there. 

At some point, while still in Illinois, we ran into a traffic stoppage that lasted for about 3 hours. I joked with the guys that my driving "time" was over, but I wasn't tired and stayed behind the whee. It was strange, one minute we were stopped, along with 18 wheelers and other cars and trucks and all of a sudden, we were under way again at normal speeds with no apparent reason for the stoppage. We were just happy to be moving again! The rain continued from a light mist to light rains, just enough to keep the windshield wipers going.

I drove until we again entered Indiana, and we stopped at the Welcome Rest Area where we again changed drivers. This was a great system of switching off so no one tired out from driving. I think I tired more from being cramped up in the back seat than I did from driving. 

We made our last pit stop as we neared Goshen, about an hour and a half out. Roy drove the final leg, and we pulled into the fairgrounds about 5:30AM, about 20 1/2 hours after starting out yesterday. 

We were all exhausted but happy that we had been able to help our friends. The trip had been long but well worth it, over 800 miles in one day!  We will be praying for Bernie's recovery and for Judi to have the strength to get through these trying times. 

So long.

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