Lewis and Clark Trail Back Home 1805 — 1806

Day 36: September 16th, 2001 Madison — Chicago

I found a Cracker Barrel during my yesterdays search for the Outback Steakhouse. This is where I go first after checking out at my motel. I almost slept in today, because it was really late yesterday. It’s almost 10am when I arrive at the Cracker Barrel — the prime time for Sunday breakfast!

My waiting time is accordingly. I have to wait for more than half an hour until a table is ready for me. Also the servers are heavily overloaded. After more than 15 minutes of waiting a server from another table jumps in to take care of me. She really enjoys that I start to chat a little bit with her. This morning was busy like hell!

After she took my order the server for my table arrives with coiffee. He is also running at his limits. I leave the Cracker Barrel around 11am. I am now really refreshed, but extremely late in time.

Next I drive over to the Barnes & Noble book store, where I bought the book about Westward Expansion which is the foundation of my travels. I want to look for a book about Zebulon Montgomery Pike which trails I plan to follow from next year on. Unfortunately they don’t have books about his trails. They are also not able to look the books up on the computer because they currently have some IT problems. Bad luck for me.

Next stop is at the gas station which I leave around half past twelve. Now I am on my way to Chicago. I try to avoid the toll roads und take mainly regular highways. But first I can follow I–90.

Highway 14, WI Highway 14, WI
Highway 14, WI

I leave the Interstate around Janesville and follow Highway 14 to the Illinois state line. There the highway changes to 31, which I follow further south.

You can feel that it is Sunday today. There is much more traffic. Despite to Germany there are also trucks allowed on the roads on Sunday. But in the US they are not obstacles — they are even more driving the traffic. But it still takes me almost to 5pm until I reach the Motel 6 in Joliet.

Lucky me I still get a room on the first floor. I put my stuff in the room and try to reach my friend Martin in Chicago first. But the line is always busy. So I first check the video of today before I give it another try. This time I have more luck and I am able to reach him. We agree to meet in Chicago Downtown.

I–94, Chicago, IL I–94, Chicago, IL
I–94, Chicago, IL

I totally underestimate the distance. I almost need an hour before I reach the city. Unfortunately I am now extremely late. Therefore the parking area downtown is the fastest way for me. It is expensive as expected, but at least they have a flat rate of 10 Dollar for the evening. During the day they charge this for the first hour which will increase further.

I leave the parking lot and arrive at our meeting point a little bit later. Martin is already there and we take a little walk through town. He shows me a lot of interesting buildings. I have my camera with me, but it would be too much to start video taping now. Therefore I decide to return one day again with more time for filming and photography.

Now we go to a original Chinese Restaurant. At this place they cook your dinner right at the table. You are also sitting together with other people, which is completely unusual for the US. But we are lucky and have a real funny group. Also our cook adds a little bit of show to keep the evening entertaining. I have never seen something like this before.

Despite to me Martin is really used to eat with sticks. That’s why I try for the first time under his guidance to also eat with sticks. First I have almost no chance to get something on these sticks, but after a little bit of training it starts to get better. Let’s see if I will be better next time. But to not eat everything cold I switch back to knife and fork.

It’s almost 10pm when we leave the restaurant. We go back to the parking lot and I offer to drive him home. Unfortunately he lives in the exact opposite direction of my motel. We talk for a while at his home before I start my long journey back.

When I am approaching Downtown Chicago I run into the traffic jam, which I have already seen on my way out before. It’s half past twelve and I cannot believe that there is still this much traffic this late. I need more than an hour for less than a mile. Then the speed picks up. I arrive at my motel around 2am. I hope I am able to sleep in a bit tomorrow.

  • Sights
  • General
  • Breakfast: Cracker Barrel, Madison
  • Dinner: Chinese Restaurant, Chicago
  • Motel: Motel 6, Joliet
  • Distance: 302 miles