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Road Trip Home

We’re back in Chicago! After our first winter as snowbirds in Florida, it was time to come home. Instead of the easy nonstop 2-hour flight from Sarasota, Peter and I opted to rent a car one-way ($50/day!) for the 18-hour drive.

To be honest, I’m not a fan of road trips, and I was dreading this one in particular. Because of Covid, we were only stopping for one night, so had two long days of driving ahead of us. Lunches and snacks packed in a cooler, bathroom breaks at rest stops—masks and Purell at the ready—and certainly no time for sightseeing!

Still, maybe because my expectations were so low, the drive was not bad at all. First, the route took us through some beautiful green hilly countryside and was easy to follow. It’s basically two highways: I-75 North through Georgia and Tennessee, then I-65 North through Kentucky and Indiana to Illinois. Lots of trucks but no traffic jams.

Second, we stopped in Chattanooga, TN, where we had a lovely dinner at St. John’s and breakfast at Bluegrass Grill (homemade biscuits and fresh peaches, oh my!). Although it was strange to stay in a sizable deserted hotel with ONE employee on duty—and wiping door handles and light switches in our room with the few Lysol wipes we had left. Peter said it felt like we were in a Stephen King novel.

Third, we had chosen an entertaining book to listen to on Audible: Open by Andre Agassi. Who knew? Agassi hates tennis (it was forced on him by a fairly sadistic father), he wore a toupee until his first wife (Brooke Shields!) suggested he shave his head, and he courted Stefi Graf (his wife and the mother of his two kids) for years before she agreed to date him.

While Agassi doesn’t come across as very likable, I am impressed that he’s now using his substantial wealth to benefit children through his foundation and school in Las Vegas. As he tells himself in the book, “Remember this. Hold on to this. This is the only perfection there is, the perfection of helping others. This is the only thing we can do that has any lasting meaning. This is why we’re here. To make each other feel safe.” His hard-won wisdom rings true to me.

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