Saturday, 12 July 2008

Dear Diary...

Getting on the road


This Summer’s visit to The Sibling (and Sibling-in-Law) had been planned to commence on July 3rd, but wound up being delayed until early on the 4th by continuing altercations between the Current Cat and the New Cat[1].

Current cat (Name: Frank; the survivor a previous trio) has determined that there is no way he’s going to return to beta status[2].  He’s been hassling the New Cat by alternately making up to her and chasing her (also amusing, as she outweighs him 2:1), then parking himself on the upstairs landing, evilly blocking the way to both litterboxes.  Last Wednesday’s episode culminated with New Cat “treed” in a cabinet on the lower level, from which she had to be rescued (a project which required first moving considerable detritus).  The solution was to temporarily confine New Cat to the spare bedroom/bathroom, pending extended time at home to referee.  At the moment, the two are amusing themselves by occasionally cursing at each other through the closed door.

Anyhow, all the cat-itude kept me up late enough that I would have either departed later than I wanted, or would have been facing a 600+ mile drive on only a couple of hours of sleep.  So, blow off the Thursday departure, and try again Friday.

o-o-O-o-o

Come Friday morning, it was up early and off to one of mid-America’s blue-state outposts.  Not Althouse.country, although on this trip I’d be  passing through it.  Previous trips had been by way of Iowa, but this time worries about road conditions from June’s floods sent me north, through southern Wisconsin... a route that, despite being 40 miles shorter, wound up taking slightly longer due to Wisconsin’s blue-nose 65-mile-per-hour interstate speed limit.

The morning started out overcast with intermittent rain and that (along with it being the fourth of July) kept the traffic down.  By mid-Illinois I was out from under the clouds, and the rest of the trip had blue skies.

Except for the upper-right-hand-corner, Illinois is largely farm country.  Along I-39 north of Bloomington (just south of Paw Paw), it’s been planted with a new crop: Windmills.
Windmills peek above farm buildings west of Interstate 35, near Paw Paw, Illinois
(See a more dramatic picture here.)
They go on for a couple of miles on the west side of the interstate, and they’re BIG– if anything, my photo understates their size.[3]  Don’t know how much power the system generates, but it is impressive to see them all out there- rotating in sync.

Farther north, there was construction on the Tollway around Rockford.  (There’s always construction on the Tollway.)  But light traffic, good directions, and a pack of drivers who all appeared to be paying attention meant I got through at just under 55 miles-per-hour.  So far, not bad.

To be continued...


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[1] New Cat doesn’t have a name yet, because it’s still a bit uncertain as to whether she’ll be permanent.  The story: She turned up at the farm belonging to a friend of a friend. Friend’s friend already had several cats (along with a couple of dogs and a bunch of ducks), and since New Cat is fully declawed, a search was launched for someone to give her an “inside-only” home.  My name came up (“After all, only one cat means he’s short two...”), and I agreed to give her a spot.

But when we took New Cat to the vet for immunizations and a checkup, they found out she has a microchip.  Problem is, the chip registry only knows that the chip was issued to a local Humane Society (adopter never updated the information).  Another problem: The Society can’t find any record of the chip number.

So after multiple phone calls (before I left) to be sure that everyone had the right information, the Humane Society is supposedly researching her.  At this writing, I haven’t heard back, so it appears increasingly likely that she’ll be permanent.  As for a name, right now I’m suspecting she might be an “Alice;” my smartass over-vacation caretaker is pushing for “L.B.,” as in “Lane Bryant” or possibly “poundage.”


[2] Which is amusing because he’s a wuss who runs and hides whenever a stranger- or even a close friend- appears.

[3] There’s a similar windmill field along I-35 in Iowa, between Mason City and the Minnesota state line.

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