Day 3: Toledo, Ohio; Indiana; Illinois; Des Moines, Iowa

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Leslye with Baby S

Right now it’s 10 minutes before midnight, and we’re driving on I-280, less than an hour east of Des Moines, Iowa. At times we drive through areas of fog, mist that swirls around us and dissipates as we plow through it. The temperature is still in the 70s, and the humidity is ridiculously high, probably around 90 percent or more.

We started in Toledo, OH, but didn’t linger, and after lunch at Tony Packo’s Restaurant (seriously delicious, I can vouch for the hot dog that snapped with each bite), we drove out, heading back home, back to Denver.

It was a day filled with driving. We’d stop for fuel, get souvenirs, use the bathroom, stretch our legs, change Baby S’s diapers, get her fresh milk, or a pouch of yummy veggies or fruits, then get on the road again. States blurred by: Ohio replaced by Indiana, replaced by Illinois, replaced by Iowa — stretches of green fields and copse of trees, a few beginning to change colors — toll roads and freeways.

We’re all tired and sleepy, but feeling good about the fact that we did what we came to do, accomplished something that had to be done.

I want to go home, sleep in my own bed, hug my children, kiss my husband, pet my dogs. And yet I find myself lingering a little bit, wanting to live the adventure, to prove to myself that I can still do this without relying on my husband, enjoying the company of other women, talking and laughing and crying together.

But mostly I long to sleep, to crawl between the sheets and relax every muscle. I didn’t think I’d get to visit Des Moines ever again — life surprises you. I am a bit curious to see how the city has changed since the mid-90s. That’s what tomorrow is for — showing Leslye and Kim where Jeff and I used to live, before we get back on the highway and finish the last leg of our journey.

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