Sweet Home, Chicago?

Chicago Travel Blog

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Miles Traveled: 610                       

Roads Traveled: US 30W/I-76W/I-80W/I-90W/I-94W/I-55N  

Time on the Road: 11 hours      

States Crossed:  Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois                      

Tanks of Gas: 2.25                       

CD’s Listened to: Maroon 5, UB40, Steve Miller, The Police, Jay-Z, Soul Coughing & Kelly.

Sweet Home, Chicago?

The Drive

               How I love the turnpike!  I drove the Pennsylvania Pike (by the way it is “America’s First Super Highway”), the Ohio Pike (for the first time in 30 years, I drove the entire thing from east to west ��" all 294 miles of it!) and the Indiana Pike.  Now, grant it, the turnpike is much faster and safer than the blue lines, but the boredom factor is relentless!  My boredom did not last long as I was pulled over by a State Trooper in Indiana.  I have not gotten a ticket since October 31, 1999 (really, I should have gone to jail that day) and I have only been pulled over three times since then (all within the last three years.)  However, every time that I have been pulled over it has been for some sort of asinine vehicle infraction, like a tow strap still attached to the axle of Jones’s Tempo.  This time, it was a similar incident, yet it had a twist as only would happen to me.

               I was cruising along the Indiana Pike at 72 mph (speed limit is 70) when a trooper pulls up next to me, slows down and then gets behind me.  He flips the switch and I pull over trying to figure out exactly what it is that I have done wrong.  He approaches the car with partner in tow.  Here is the exchange:

“Good evening, Officer Carter, State Highway Patrol.”

               “Good evening, Sir.”

               “Miss, do you know why I stopped you?”  (If any of you can help me out and explain to me why police officers ALWAYS start a conversation this way, I would appreciate it.)

               “Um, no, Sir.  I was just thinking the same thing.”

               “Did you know that your license plate light has burned out?  I don’t know about Ohio, but here in Indiana, it is the law.  It is only a couple of bucks, but still the law.  By the way, did I startle you when I turned the spotlight on?”

               “No Sir, I was completely unaware that the light had gone out (Uh, hello?  How could I have possibly known this?)  And yes, Sir you did startle me.  It is dark out here and the light on your cruiser hit me directly in the eye from my mirror.”

               “Ahh, well sorry about that!  May I see your ID and registration?”

               “Sure, Officer Carter.”

               “OK then Miss Rossi, where are you heading to this evening?”


               “And where are you coming from?”

               “Gettysburg, Pennsylvania.”

               “That’s kind of an odd trip for someone who is from Ohio.”

               “Yes, sir.  I am a teacher and I travel.  I was at Gettysburg College and I am making a stop in Chicago to see some friends on my way to Ripon in Wisconsin.”

               “Huh- What do you teach?”  (As he peers in the back seat with the flashlight to view the entire collection of luggage.)

               “I used to teach History and now I teach English.”

               “Well, ok then.  Miss Rossi sit tight and I will be right back.”

(“Right back” translated into roughly 25 minutes)

               “Ok Miss Rossi.  Here is the deal.  It is pop quiz time for the history teacher.  If you can answer one question, I will give you a warning.  If not…..”

               “Do I have a choice in this?”

               “Not really….so, you should know a bit about our Presidents….Who was the fattest American President?”

               “Are you serious?  (He nods indicating yes)  Uh, Taft.”

               “Second Fattest?”

               “I would have to say Roosevelt; he was a bit of a porker.”

               (To which Officer Carter merely gave me the furrowed brow cop look ��" probably a poor choice of words on my part, but in retrospect, pretty damn funny.)

               “Ok, well done, Miss Rossi.  Have a lovely evening and be safe pulling back out into traffic.”

               “Thanks Officer Carter.  Have a good night!”

The amusement in all of this is that at the exact moment when I was being pulled over I was listening to the second verse of “99 Problems.”  For those you that are unfamiliar with the vocal stylings of the “Jigga-Man,” the lyrics are:

“~Son, do you know what I’m stopping you for?

~Cuz I’m young and I’m black and my hats real low.  Do I look like a mind reader?  Sir, I don’t know.  Am I under arrest or should I guess some more?

~Well, you were doing 55 in a 54.  License and registration and step out of the car.  Are you carrying a weapon on you?  I know a lot of you are.

~ I ain’t stepping outta shit. All my papers are legit.

~Well, do you mind if I look around your car a little bit?

~My glove compartment is locked, so is the trunk and the back and I know my rights.  So, you gonna need a warrant for that.

~What are you somebody important or something?  Some type of lawyer or something?

~Well, I ain’t pass the bar, but I know a little bit.  Enough that you won’t illegally search my shit.” 

This is what I get for listening to Jay-Z at an extremely loud volume.

Officer Carter was doing well and racking up points for his quota that night.  I then witnessed him pulling over two cars at once (for what, I have no idea.)  Later, after I stopped to get gas, I saw him pulling over a semi.  That man doesn’t mess around.  The next time you are in Indiana make sure to say hi and ask him a trivia question.

The Town

I have decided that Haiku is the only way to accurately describe my brief, yet festive pit stop at a pig roast in the Chicagoland area.

Hour and a half ride

Beekeeper and Boss get pig

No need to spit roast


Shakespearian goats

Puck and Toby can be yours

I bond with chickens


Dirty Butt Vickie

Flaps her tainted ill feathers

I’m the Alpha Male


Captain Jack Melon

Campfire instructions helpful

Small tots, pointy sticks


Drunken Evil Ben

Cigarette smoker tells tales

Antics upsetting


Asperger’s Syndrome

Plagues the intellect of men

“Uncle Bill” sees all


How was your review?

Dubya-2 is on the fridge

Direct quote, “nuff said.”



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