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U.S. 12, Day 1

Heading along Michigan Avenue/ U.S. 12 in downtown Ypsilanti at 5:30am presents a lonely view of Ypsi’s main street…just a few of us knuckleheads are out there now. But it was great to be on the road before daybreak and have the road pretty much to ourselves as we left Ypsi, cruised through Saline and we're out in the very rural southern Washtenaw County along U.S. 12 before a lazy sun made it’s appearance.

It was such a pleasant drive across Michigan at this time of day getting a chance to leisurely go past the Irish Hills, Moscow, Jonesville (stopped for a coffee refill, no Kool Aid thank you), Quincy, Sturgis, Allen, White Pigeon and all the other towns that are strung together along the U.S. 12 Heritage Trail. Crossing into Indiana remained a pleasant morning drive but although the highway goes through the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore that touches Lake Michigan, you get to see neither from the road. Too bad.

Then the drive became tiring. After a short but nondescript ride through Gary, Indiana, the urban version of U.S 12 turned into a grind, going through Hammond and East Chicago, IN and then around the southern and western regions of Chicago. First there were the steel mills and supporting activities, fuel depots, and extended spider webs of electrical lines and towers. The only good thing about this view was thinking of how beautiful it will be when the sky opens up approaching South Dakota. 12 joins a section of U.S. Route 20 to form a long 90 degree angle from Interstate 90 to U.S. 45 and then they all head straight north to Des Plains past O’Hare International Airport.

This drive reminded me of how much I detest driving in dense urban-suburban sprawl, mile after mile of stopping every ½ mile for lights that seemingly never change in your favor. It kept getting worse until nearly the state line of Wisconsin. I hope the administrative pinhead who designed the timing of the lights from Oak Lawn to Fox Lake, IL has long since been put out to pasture. Landing in Madison, WI for the night has been a pleasant end to the day and we’re ready to charge on to Ortonville, MN on July 2.

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