Getting My Subaru
Chapter 3

     Saturday morning I woke up very cold. The back of the Outback was big enough for me but it was not very warm. I was on the road by 7:00 am. I reached Columbus very quickly. The traffic was light so I chose to drive through the city instead of taking the longer bypass. I didn't even slow down through downtown. The forecast was for strong northerly winds all through the midwest and they were very strong. When I passed into Indiana it began to snow lightly. The Subaru had no trouble with the lousy weather conditions. I had planned a route through Indianapolis which required several changes of direction and I was hoping not to lose time by making a wrong turn. I exited onto a major road and stopped for gas. It was sub freezing with a very strong wind. I about froze while pumping gas. A few more miles and I was back onto a freeway. A quick interchange and I was on interstate 74 heading for Illinois.

     The broker I worked through was located in Peoria, Illinois and I had been there three times in the past 7 years. It would be interesting to drive through. They had been bought out earlier in the year. This would likely be the last time I went to Peoria. As I drove through Illinois I made a discovery about Outbacks. The windows do not have a frame around the glass. In most circumstances I probably would not ever notice. Under one circumstance I certainly did. As I drove west I has buffeted by a very strong wind from the north. The wind created a low pressure on the drivers side. It works just like an airplane wing. Periodically it was so strong that it pulled the glass away from the rubber seal. The result was a deafening noise of rushing air right next to my ear. Standing next to an airliner taking off could not be louder. I really could have used ear plugs.

     I pulled into a rest stop just beyond Bloomington. The wind was so strong it was hard to walk to the building. I had a weather radio along and tuned into the report. It was 30 degrees with a north wind at 30 gusting to 55. That was some wind chill. The car's temperature gauge seemed to vary between 5/8 and 3/4 putting it well above the mid range. I was getting a little concerned. By mid afternoon I approached Peoria. The freeway goes right by the old home office. As I went by I looked and the old "American Investment Services" sign was still in place with a "for lease" sign near by. Traffic was still light as I again took the mainline through the center of the city. A little later I passed Galesburg and turned north. That ended the periodic roaring wind noise in my ear for awhile.

     It was still light as I neared the Quad Cities. I stayed on I -74 as I crossed the Mississippi. Soon I turned onto I-80 heading west again. My original plan was to stop in Davenport for the night. Since I went much farther on the first day I now had a good shot at reaching Des Moines. I don't remember much about Iowa. It was cold and windy and rapidly getting dark. Did I mention cold? At a gas stop I picked up a travel magazine with a coupon and address for a motel not far from the freeway in Des Moines. That was now my objective. It was after 6:00 pm when I exited the freeway in Des Moines. I drove around for 20 minutes trying to find the motel. I passed it several times before I figured out how to get there. After checking in I turned on the weather channel. It was 16 degrees with a wind chill of zero. So much for sleeping in the Outback. I would have frozen by morning. For a guy from Seattle these conditions were not something I ever have to deal with.

     So far the Outback was holding up well. I drove 750 miles that day and still felt good. It was more than twice the longest one day drive I had ever done. The weather report was promising. No snow for at least two to three days in the Rockies. By then I would be up and over them heading west. The goal for day three was to make it at least to Laramie, Wyoming. Sometimes things don't work out exactly as you plan them. The real adventure was just about to begin.

Chapter 4