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The last few hours were uneventful, though I did get to see some beautiful bluffs overlooking the Mississippi as I crossed from Minnesota to Wisconsin.  While I have been to both before, I have never seen Minnesota that far south, nor the western part of Wisconsin (at least not that I remember … though some time ago I did drive to Minneapolis over nearly that same route).

As soon as I crossed the Illinois border I was greeted by the one thing that I had not encountered in any other state:  gridlock.  I had slowed down during the endless construction on I-80 and I-90 (among others), but never once had to travel slower than 55 mph.  I spent about 25 minutes in bumper-to-bumper traffic heading into Rockford, and spent about 3-4 minutes at one point at a complete stop.  At least I knew I was home.

To wrap it up:  what have I learned:

1.  I miss seeing friends and family who I don’t get to see very often.

2.  If you are in the left lane, and a faster moving vehicle comes up behind you, MOVE OVER!  I am more and more convinced that more accidents occur because of indecisive drivers who don’t signal to other drivers, and cork up traffic, than people who go a little faster than the speed limit.

3.  When the United States government gives away free road repair money to the states, that doesn’t mean they should all collectively tear up the same interstate at the same time.  I am convinced there is as much I-90 that is under construction as there is not under construction.

4.  To the State of Washington:  ignore point #3 — please fix your roads!  Outside of suburban Seattle, I couldn’t tell if I had a flat or if it was the road …. for nearly 50 miles!

5.  I enjoy playing poker.  I don’t see responsible gaming as a problem.  Allowing what is going on in Butte, Montana to occur is a crime!  I suspect it will get worse before it gets better as some of their casinos fail.

6.  Not having traveled like my cousin, I cannot rightfully say the western United States is the most beautiful part of the world … but it sets a pretty high bar!

7.  Making this trip alone was really nice.  I could take detours without a committee meeting.  I could stop when I wanted, and go when I wanted.  When I wanted to contemplate something beautiful, I could do so in solitude.

8.  There were a few times it would have been nice to share contemplations on the beauty I was experiencing.

9.  Doing this trip with young children would have qualified me for some kind of asylum.  With kids, you need regular stops with plenty of activities.  I think this could severely cut in to the overall enjoyment of what you see and experience, but if you are more into giving your family experiences, it might not be too bad if you have a lot of time and a very stout vehicle.

To my relatives in Denver and my friends in Seattle …. thank you for allowing me to mooch off of you.  I doubt I will get a chance to do a road trip quite like this again, so the next time  visit, it will likely be by air.

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