U.S. 31 Highway Hypnosis

A Love/Hate Relationship

When I was an undergraduate at Butler, I would routinely make the trip from Indianapolis to South Bend (and back) on US 31 to visit my parents. The trip was made dozens of times in either my Jeep Wrangler, non-kid friendly brown Astro van, or my sister’s turquoise Grand Am (equipped with additional flair-like “I heart cheerleading” license plate holder).  After comparing notes with friends who had to drive to Wisconsin and Michigan, my two and half hour straight shot home really wasn’t that bad. Granted, I dreaded driving through Kokomo, particularly after the now defunct Kenny Roger’s Roasters gave me food poisoning.  Additionally, having to slow to 35 mph through Lakeville and LaPaz is no picnic, particularly when you have to use the restroom and you think you are close enough to home to hold it (mums the word on the time I didn’t make it)! All in all it was pretty easy to insert a CD of illegally downloaded tunes, put the car in cruise control, and drive straight.

What are some of your favorite driving songs? Ebony loves a good mix of Stone Temple Pilots, Dr. Dre, and The Supremes.

Those pre-Kokomo bypass days weren’t without their adventures. The water pump in the Jeep exploding in Peru was a fun one…… I think I’m still Facebook friends with the tow truck driver from that experience. Even better was the Jeep’s passenger side cloth door flying open on Erin every time she rode in it. And I’ll never forget being able to watch the continuous display of fireworks driving back to Indy on 4th of July with the top down on the Jeep. Erin and I had some memorable drives on 31 when we were dating and in the past couple of years we’ve had some interesting ones as well. Numerous trips with U-Haul trailers (one of which included hauling the MG), snow storms, road construction, and countless trips with the dogs.

We’re Going To Need A Bigger Boat

Boat in this instance, meaning car if you didn’t get my little Jaws movie reference. I don’t know anyone that looks forward to traveling with children and pets. So with that being said, I’ll try to keep my complaining of traveling with three greyhounds to a minimum. However, the last couple of months with Callie, Six Pack, and Ebony crammed into our SUV for two hours has been a test of Erin’s and my patience. You would think that by making the trip about seven or eight times in the past four months, we would be pros by now at it. Well, you obviously don’t know Erin and me that well! If someone were to perform a risk analysis (a technique used to identify and assess factors that may jeopardize the success of a project or achieving a goal) of how we organize and plan for road trips with the dogs, there is an obvious number one risk factor. I’ll give you some clues. He is black, he is fat, and he can’t control his body or his gas. The biggest stress factor on our road trips is none other than Six Pack!

He thinks he’s navigating.

The problem isn’t necessarily his size….well, I take that back, his size has a whole lot to do with it. He literally takes up as much space as Callie and Ebony combined. It just doesn’t help that he likes to stand up and look out the front window the entire trip. And heaven forbid that when he finally does lay down that one of the other dogs accidentally touches his ass! All of his walking around the back of the car gives Callie tremendous anxiety (which we have been trying to treat with some meds before we leave) and makes Ebony very uncomfortable.

It can be hard to concentrate on the road when she acts this cute.

I think Six, Callie, Ebony, Erin and I would be much happier if we could just put Six in a crate and attach him to the roof of the car, but I read that might be illegal. Maybe I should run for office next year on the “Dogs-In-Crates-On-Top-Of-Cars” campaign.

Holland Michigan and Everything In Between

He’s like a little brother to me.

All kidding aside about traveling with the dogs, it’s still really nice to drive somewhere without them. And to counteract all the trips we’ve had to take with the dogs, we’ve gone on a few adventures the last couple of months by ourselves. The Columbus Ohio/Wheeling West Virginia trip was a blast. We were able to see friends and visit two places we’ve never really been. Notre Dame vs. Wisconsin football at Soldier Field in Chicago was a great experience.  We thought the trip was made all the better because the Irish won. It was actually was made better because Erin and I were able to see two of our best friends from college as well as my cousin and his family.

You want to know a way to lift your spirits? Surround yourself with friends and family, and when that doesn’t work just get drunk with them like you think you’re twenty two again.

We were supposed to go out for dinner…..but ended up staying in. The rest is history.

Sticking with our “driving U.S. 31” theme, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Erin and I’s trip to Holland Michigan sans the greyhounds. There are lot of things I don’t care for when it comes to the state of Michigan. I don’t like Michigan football (pro or college), the wine is too sweet, the landscape is flat, and I believe the fishing license fee is too high. One thing Michigan got right though, is north of where US 31 dead ends into I-94, around the Saugatuck/Holland area. Nothing brings a smile to Erin’s face more then a nice beach on a hot day. And for her first time being in Lake Michigan, she tolerated the water pretty well. I think I heard another beach goer say “Yea, it’s warm……..for Lake Michigan.”


Obligatory Restaurant Selfie

Obligatory Restaurant Selfie

We had a great time being tourists and doing touristy things. Checking out the windmill, the local restaurants and bars, and a pretty epic sunset was exactly what the doctor ordered. Ironically, it wasn’t our first time to Holland. We had also made the trek up before to drop off a giant greyhound to his forever family. A couple of years ago, Erin and I brought a dog named Tuker to his forever home near Holland. He seemed to enjoy it so much, we had to come back to see what all the fuss was about. I don’t know what it is about giant greyhounds riding in cars on US 31. Maybe it’s how smooth the road is (ha!). It could be the road side scenery (what’s up Mega Pet billboard), or maybe it’s Erin’s true crime podcasts (the first one interviewed always did it!). Either way, Tuker didn’t sit the entire car ride to Michigan, much like Six Pack. So remember friends that have large dogs, especially large greyhounds, vote Ryan Jesswein next fall on the “Dogs-In-Crates-On-Top-Of-Cars”  2022 campaign. Let me help you make room for petite, female greyhounds, who, lets be honest, love us more anyways.


This article has 1 comments

  1. Charlene Eubanks Reply

    As always Ryan. I was laughing through your blog as I could picture in my mind the scenes that you described. You two are the best.

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