Park Ridge, IL
I feel like I'm already done. I took a picture in front of the 48th state sign for the trip. I'm back in Chicago - a place that I've possibly spent more weekends than I have in Peoria. The next four days feel almost like a formality - I'm just visiting friends, waiting out the days until I get to 100.
I could have been home today, in fact. I drove about four hours this morning, leaving Green Bay around 8 and driving straight through til I got to Park Ridge a little after noon. I've been sitting at Panera since then, indulging in my latest addiction - Dexter. (I watched the Pilot last night around 9:00pm, and I just finished episode 8.)
To be honest, I'm ready for a break. I'm ready to just sit around for a few days, hang out with friends, and have a good time without worrying about where I'm staying or riding, not worrying if I'm contacting people enough ahead of time or if it's too close to when I'll be there. Not feeling guilty when I sit on the internet for hours. It will be nice to just... relax.
I'm glad there was a time limit though. As much as I would have loved to spend more time in some of the places (and with some of the people), the time limit is part of what made this trip what it was. I said on my couchsurfing profile that "I'd rather spend a week seeing every sight than sitting on the beach doing nothing." And this trip has forced me to do that - that guilt I feel when I spend the day sitting in Panera on the internet is part of what forced me out to do other things like see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or the EMP museum when I might have otherwise just relaxed on my own. Not allowing myself to relax is part of what made this trip as much as it was.
I'll do some more post-mortem analysis when the trip is actually finished, but for now, I'll just say this: I'm ready for it to be done, and I'll miss traveling this way like crazy. I will be looking forward to the next trip I can do like this, wherever I happen to be. Maybe South America... or India... Got any ideas?