When Adam Davis of Kfarcenter asked me to play Knishmas this year, he gave me a choice of three time slots, and I chose the first one, I'll admit, for purely selfish reasons: I wanted to get on and off stage quickly, and not have to drive back to Milwaukee at 3 in the morning. We're all a bunch of old men, I told him, and need our sleep. Let the young whipper snappers run and jump around the stage in the wee hours. Us old guys need to be in bed before Midnight.
So, that's what we did. And the show was great, by the way. We had a sax player with us for the first time and there were several moments when the audience started cheering mid-song after a particularly intense solo. There was a professional videographer there so I hope to get you some video at some point.
After the show, the sax player and I got in my car and began the drive home, about 90 miles, so maybe 90 minutes at most. I should mention that we got lost on the way down from Milwaukee. Yes, I've made this trip hundreds of times. But there's been a major construction project going on the Marquette Interchange up here and all the on and off ramps have been closing and opening and generally changing almost daily.
And then you get on these temporary ramps that swoop and curl around the construction zones like those old Hot Wheels (TM) tracks I used to play with as a kid. Really quite cool actually, when not terrifying. Anyway, apparently the one that used to go South towards Chicago now goes North towards Green Bay. And it took us about 10 minutes to get off and turn around.
Then we headed down towards Chicago, and I took my wife's advice and used 294 instead of the Edens to reach I-90, the Kennedy, which ran past the Club. We got there without incident.
So, after the gig, we got in the car and drove to the Kennedy, figuring to reverse our route. I could have sworn that I was paying attention to signs indicating turn-offs to I-94 and Milwaukee, but apparently, either the signs aren't there (there is construction down there too) or I just missed them.
Because after about 10 minutes I realized that nothing looked familiar. And there weren't any more exits. And we were still on I-90, which we should have left when we got to 294. Bryan, the sax player, took the map out of my glove compartment and gave me the bad news: we were on the way to Rockford, Il.
Now, I have nothing against Rockford. In fact, my wife's family comes from Rockford, but I really thought it would have been much better to try to tour the city in the daylight. At night, there's not much to see. So I tried to get off the highway. Unfortunately, there were no exits for about 50 miles. For some reason, this really irritated me. I started to talk like my mother.
"What kind person makes a highway with no exits?? Jerk! Have you ever heard of such a thing??"
Well there was an exit, eventually, a "Belvedere Oasis", but it was about 2 miles from Rockford, and if we just stayed on I-90, eventually, it would curve up towards Wisconsin again. So that's what we did.
We drove through Rockford at night. It was kind of like a yellow, glowing ozone cloud.
"Well, Rockford is everything I thought it would be," Bryan said.
"Yup." I replied. And kept my eyes peeled for the turn-off to I-43 at Beloit.
Here's the detour route. It's not hard to figure out how much shorter it would have been had we gone straight North:
For perspective, here's a Google Sattelite map:
And for even more perspective on our journey, here's a zoomed out map:
Grand total of 270 miles added to the Geo last night. Which wouldn't have been that bad, except that the old girl's not what she used to be. In the category of "strange things that break on old cars", my rear-view mirror broke while I was adjusting it to get the glare of some idjit pickup driver's brights out of my eyes. Well, at least the new tires were a blessing.
We got home at 12:40. But hey, we got to bypass the Marquette Interchange!