Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News
Kalona, Iowa

Newspaper Article Archive of
The Kalona News

August 2, 2018 Road trip not designed for faint of heart
Article Pages -- as published on the The Kalona News website.

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An opportunity opened for my daughter, Delaney, to meet with the design team at Carter’s headquarters in Atlanta, Ga. Carter’s, founded in 1865 by William Carter, is the leading designer and marketer of infant, toddler, and kid’s apparel in the United States.

Following the tried and true role of “it’s who you know,” I was discussing Delaney’s wish to use her artistic talents in the “real world” with my sister-in-law, and she mentioned that her sister, a creative artist, is the manager of a design team that does the art work for Carter’s baby clothes.

One thing led to another and a job shadow day was created. Delaney and I decided to turn it into a mini mother-daughter vacation before she heads off to college this fall and so our road trip 2018 spontaneously scheduled into our summer plans.

The drive was an experience by itself. We did the 12-and-a-half-hour drive in one day. The good thing about the drive was that it was Sunday so there were no construction delays or rush hour traffic. The terrible thing about the drive was that it was 12-and-a-half hours long.

The traffic was still what I would call heavy from St. Louis all the way to Atlanta. Now granted, I rarely drive in city traffic, living in the country and only occasionally driving to the big city of Iowa City. Driving through St. Louis, Nashville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta, made me realize that in comparison to these metropolises Iowa City is like a tiny pothole in the middle of an eight-lane super highway.

The drive also reinforced what I already knew about myself, that I do not like driving in city traffic. I have a new appreciation for those that must commute every day in these big cities. It takes nerves of steel, iron concentration, a continuous and vociferous prayer monologue, and a crew of at least five guardian angels, one for each side of the vehicle, plus one hovering overhead.

After arriving at our destination and prying my cramped fingers from the death grip I had on the steering wheel, every joint and muscle snapped, crackled, and popped when I slid out of the car. I sounded just like a big box of crispy rice cereal.

I should add a new requirement to those brave enough to face big-city traffic every day. You should be young and feel immortal. That would explain a lot of the death-defying maneuvers made by surrounding motorists. Either that or they are complete imbeciles and since I don’t want to be accused of name-calling I will just say these people are adventurous and completely impervious to the idea of death by horrible carnage.

Delaney spent most of one day with the design team and when finished I had to brave downtown Atlanta traffic to pick her up at their headquarters in Phipps Tower.

They assured me traffic would not be too bad since it was not during rush hour. I honestly don’t know how anyone could tell the difference. To me, it was all horribly congested and rushed. My GPS lady also got confused and kept rerouting me even when I was following her instructions.

When I finally reached my destination, it was a tall beautiful structure outside my left-hand window even as the GPS announced, “Your destination is on the right.” Our hosts said that they use GPS every day on their commute to work due to the number of daily accidents that occur. They also said downtown Atlanta traffic has been cited by numerous sources as being the worst in the nation.

So glad I didn’t know that before planning our trip. Delaney and I were amazed by the engineering marvels of the flyover lanes. At one point we were in eight lanes of traffic and had three more levels of highway crisscrossing above us and two more levels snaking around below us. This was the section the locals referred to as Spaghetti Junction. My personal nickname for it was the “Sweaty Hands, Clenched Muscles, Prayer Breathing, Interweaving Highway of Terror.”

Somehow, we survived Atlanta, and the following day made a tourist stop at Ruby Falls in Chattanooga, Tenn., which was beautiful and worth the pitstop. After finding out what state we were from, one of the guides remarked, “I didn’t think Iowa had any actual towns, just corn fields.”

The third day of our road trip we stopped off in St. Louis to see the Gateway Arch and take the tram ride to the top. With the view from 630 feet in the air, we were able to see the beautiful structures of St. Louis.

In addition, I could see the tangled congested streets of traffic that I would soon be navigating out of the city. Early afternoon on a Wednesday proved to be a light traffic time of day for St. Louis and in no time at all we were clear of the city and on our way. Delaney drove most of our route home to get more experience with interstate driving.

Our family and animals were happy to have us home again after four days away. I found myself happy to be back in the land of gravel roads and farm traffic. Our trip confirmed I have always been and always will be a country girl and while it is fun to visit a large city, I think next time I will fly there.

Copyright @ 2018 Jana Miller.

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