Saturday, January 17, 2009

Live from Bloomington?!?

Even though I'm about ready to head back to Kent, I thought I'd blog from Indiana. I'm visiting with my friends Rochelle and Ben Mathews and their one year old son Grant. I knew both Rochelle and Ben when I was at BYU-Idaho and haven't seen them since early 2007 (right before I left BYU-Idaho). Ben is doing graduate work at Indiana University, so I figured now would be a great time to make a road trip down here as it's only a 6-hour trip and I've been itching to get away from Kent for a few days. This is the first road trip I've gone on since last March when Katie and I went to Washington, DC for my Spring Break, so I totally need it. Now, if only I could find a way for Katie to get some time for a quick trip...I think she needs a break from us and home for a few days more than I did!

This is my car in front of the Mathews' yard (foreground) in Bloomington. Virtually all of the white stuff is from salt on the roads! Time for a car wash!

I have enjoyed my visit here. Can't say I did a whole lot, but in all honesty, I really didn't come here to sightsee (hello? I'm in Bloomington, Indiana!); I came here for a break and that's what I'm getting. I've had a great time catching up with Rochelle and Ben while finally meeting Grant, who has to be one of the happiest kids I have ever met. He always seems to have a smile and when he doesn't, it's pretty easy to get one out of him. He has a great laugh too! And let's not forget how awesomely cool Ben and Rochelle are. I am continually amazed how much we agree on things! Oh and I also saw the movie "Across the Universe"on Friday...very interesting. If you like the Beatles, you'll love this movie as it uses arrangements of I think 23 Beatles songs as the soundtrack, most of which are sung by the characters in the movie. I found the arrangement of "Let it Be" to be pretty cool.

Left, Grant with his mom getting attacked by an orange orangutan; at right, it appears the orangutan lost!

Left, Grant always seems to have a smile. If he doesn't it's easy to get one (sorry for the blur...he moved his head as I was taking it and I didn't use a flash because he kept closing his eyes)! On right, me with the awesome Mathews family: Grant, Rochelle, and Ben!

Left: me with Grant after the third try with him actually looking at the camera! Right, Grant vacuuming the kitchen...he really loves that toy, which his mother got for him so he wouldn't be so scared of the real vacuum. Good call Rochelle!

The trip down here was somewhat eventful as the morning I left (Thursday) it was near zero degrees Fahrenheit (-18 C) and while some snow had fallen the previous night, it had ended fairly early. The problem was that since the temperature was so cold, the salt being used on the roads was largely ineffective in eliminating the ice so there was still quite a bit of black ice on the roads and people were going slow (I saw several cars along the sides of the road along the way), not to mention typical rush hour going into Akron. It took me about 30 minutes to get through Akron (usually takes about 10) and then had to take it slower even along I-71 on my way to Columbus as parts of the far left lane (much of 71 between Cleveland and Columbus is three lanes) weren't even cleared and the cleared lanes still had ice. There were a few times I felt the car start to skid, but luckily nothing happened. I hit a small patch of ice on a bridge of I-70 near Dayton and from then on it was smooth sailing outside of being constantly sprayed with that lovely winter mix of salt and mud and having to clean off the windshield! Wipers don't work as well when you're going 65-70 mph (yes, the speed limit in Indiana on the interstate highways is 70) or when they get ice on them (even with winter wipers)!

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