Summer Travel Woes

Chicago is not a city that I am very fond of. It lies between me and my family along the I-90 corridor. For the last 23 years, I’ve lived in Wisconsin. My parents, sister, sister-in-law, and in-laws (when they lived) are all in Western New York spread out between the western suburbs of Rochester and several Buffalo suburbs. It is a sum total of 938 miles between my house and my parents, according to google maps.

Image by 350543 from Pixabay

The drive is easy but hard all at the same time. Basically, it’s one road – the I-90. But, that road goes through one of the most populous and congested (in my opinion) cities in the United States. Chicago.

We cannot remember a time that traveling through Chicago did not involve construction or delays or both (in most cases). It is a time killer. It is a patience tester. It is a rage inducer. A grace reminder.

Image by DaModernDaVinci from Pixabay

This trip we were making great time until we hit the windy city. We took the express lanes since we were going through the city on the “90” and that was a mistake. It was a mistake because eventually the express has to merge back into the main lines of traffice and there is a long wait caused by a bottleneck. Other drivers raced up to the left side of us, which was supposedly an exit only lane. These “seasoned” drivers were not exiting however, they were speeding up past the mile of cars in which we sat only to budge in line. And, once someone puts the nose of their car between your hood and the tail of the car in front of you, you really don’t have a choice but to let the budgers in. There are some very agressive drivers out there. Me first, seems to be the rule of the roads around Chicago.

The result? We lost an hour to an hour an a half of travel time and became frustrated.

Now we are stuck with trying to plan our trip back to Wisconsin, hopefully avoiding these time-chewing bottlenecks. Unless we want to add a great deal of time and mileage to the trip, going through the city on the I-90 still seems to be the best best. We are planning go through late at night. We’ve done it this way before and it’s been okay.

Have we tried other ways to avoid the traffic in Chicago?

Of course! We’ve taken I-80 to I-39. We’ve gone on I-294. And, we’ve gone up through Michigan’s upper pennisula through Sudbury, Canada back into Niagara Falls Ontario and then into Niagara Falls New York across the Rainbow Bridge. But, there are still some COVID precautions in place and proof of vaccination and a negative test is still required. One needs their passport too. None of that presents a problem for us so perhaps on our next trip to New York, we’ll go up and over through Canada.

It’s frustrating to try and plan around unknown – the density of the traffic, the timing of our travel, the chance of construction, and the always unknown chance of accidents boggind down traffic flow. At least when you’re sitting in the traffic, you know you are not alone in the experience!

Drive safe on your summer travels!

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