It was one of those rare occasions where Chris and I both had the same day off work, so we made plans to meet up. Of course, as is always the case, his free day was rapidly trimmed from all day to just a few hours mid-afternoon, but as I have not talk to him more than a total of 10 minutes over the last two months, I grabbed at the chance to spend a few hours together.
The weather was gorgeous when I left around noon. Chris called to say that he had finished his 65 mile (!!!) bike race and we made plans to meet in about an hour. 30 minutes down the road, I pass a sign. "Freeway closed ahead."
They weren't kidding.
Suddenly, traffic was diverted from the 3 lane highway to a 1 lane, narrow country road that was heading south. The perpendicular direction of where I wanted to be heading. No matter, I'd take one of the east-west routes... only big signs were plastered that those roads were closed further on.
I drove on. And on. And on. And eventually made it out to another highway, where I discovered that I was now as far away from Madison as when I started out.
It took me 3 hours to get to Madison. THREE HOURS.
By the time I got there, found my way downtown (missed a turn, ended up in Oregon), argued about where to meet for lunch, got lost, etc, etc, my afternoon visit turned into a mere hour. We met with a couple of his friends, started to eat lunch.... and then it started to downpour. "Lunch" was spent huddled under an awning, and after the rains slowed, I drove them to their cars, and said goodbye, because they all had to get ready for a dinner that night.
I did manage to get a map this time and we plotted the way back (where I once again missed a major turn). The adventures on the way back were almost as fun. The road I was taking had a washed out bridge...something not mentioned until you were there at the bridge, so I had to back track. At one point, it started dropping torrential rain and hail, so heavy I could barely see the road and the wind was gusting hard enough it almost pulled me off. I did manage to pull over and wait some of it out, but I was concerned that if I waited too long, those rains would cause further washouts, so I crept my way forward, until I made it to the freeway. The east bound freeway was open and I drove it the rest of the way home. There was water from the overflowing rivers on the west side, so really, I'm a little glad that they closed it, although I certainly wasn't feeling that way driving out.
All in all, I put 220 miles on my car, drove over 5 hours, for a hour lunch that got soggy. Somehow, I think it was worth it.
I've missed my friend so much, I don't think I could ever find the words. For four years, he was such a part of my life, that this... "acquaintance"ship where we talk once every couple of months for 20 minutes and don't share anything important is killing me (Sidenote to all of my friends out there who I talk to once a month--it's different. You and I get on the phone and gab for hours. We really catch up on everything. You aren't flitting off to your real life within minutes of getting the update that I'm alive). We do great when we get together in person, that old camaraderie is felt in full force--we tease each other and laugh and it's great. So I'll take any chance I've got to get that back, if even for an hour on a random afternoon.
(More pictures that I took during the trip can be found here. I unfortunately was not able to get the really cool pictures of the rain storm as I was gripping my steering wheel in fear of my life. Just take my word that it was awesome.)