This is a photo submitted to the Indianapolis Star by Tyler Merrick. Daylight would find several people homeless and 65,000 people without electricity. Seventy mile an hour winds had toppled trees and injured eighteen people. By Tuesday the damage estimate would be up to $29 million. We didn’t know the full extent of the damage when we went to bed that night or when we left town the next morning, but we knew enough to realize we were very foolish to stand out in the middle of a driving storm for a concert, even if it was Clapton. We felt very lucky…and a little stupid.
We slept in the next morning, exhausted from all the excitement and the drive. We laughed at how old we’re getting and how we just can’t road trip like we used to.
Thelma: “You awake?”
Louise: “I guess you could call it that. My eyes are open.”
We rolled our creaky selves out of bed and onto the highway by 11am, planning a leisurely drive home and a nice meal along the way, the meal we never really got the night before. We quickly got an hour behind because of road construction on the edge of Indianapolis, but grabbed a bite to eat and made it to the Kentucky border in reasonable time. We estimated we had about three and a half hours left to travel. We were wrong. Outside of Louisville, we were flapping our gums and missed an exit that each of us has taken dozens of times. Since we weren’t traveling with a GPS and an automated voice did not shout, “YOU MISSED YOUR TURN!” and all of rural Kentucky looks about the same, we cruised along blissfully for another thirty minutes or so until we saw a sign that said “Horse Cave”. Horse Cave??!! (Insert swearing here.) We also passed a sign that indicated we were pretty close to the Tennessee border. (Insert more swearing.) Immediately we realized our mistake, but we were too far down the interstate to turn around and had no choice but to keep moving forward and figure out how to get back to the mainland.
Louise: “Well, we’re not in the middle of nowhere, but we can see it from here.”
Since we were traveling without a map (I know, I KNOW) we had to stop at the nearest wide spot in the road for directions. That stop ended up being this place.
Yes, Sissy and I went to Mammoth Cave, which is nowhere near where we needed to be. Let me know when you’re finished laughing. Mammoth Cave…it’s right next to Dino-Land and close to absolutely nothing else. We wheeled into the little tourism office, checked out the big map on the wall, took a Kentucky map with us (just in case) and headed off in a new direction. The drive was complicated by the fact that I had promised to take Teen Angel to a very important birthday party when I got home, and what was expected to be a five hour drive when we left Indy was now going to be more like seven and a half. We shall not discuss how many traffic laws we may have broken trying to get home. Let’s just say we were in “s*** and git” mode. We didn’t shoot anybody, but we were as watchful for the law as Thelma & Louise, sliding in between two other cars when we flew past that state trooper. Teen Angel kept texting and calling us, asking if we were close. “Um, no. Not really.” “Why not? Where ARE you?” “It’s a looong story. I’ll explain later,” I said. We finally squealed into the driveway in time to get Teen Angel to her party a fashionable forty minutes late. She wasn’t TOO upset. As Sissy said, no one wants to be the first pea in the dish. We were worn out, embarrassed to share our Mammoth Cave story with the rest of the family and glad to be home. We got plenty of eye rolls and questions about how we could possibly miss a turn we’re very familiar with. But we had a blast. Oh, and we WILL be buying a GPS soon, one that shouts “YOU MISSED YOUR TURN!”
Was it was worth it? Yes! It was worth every raindrop, missed turn and bump along the way. I’m okay with the unexpected. It makes life interesting. Eric Clapton was wonderful, and Sissy and I have some memories we will laugh about for years to come. I can’t think of anyone I’d rather stand out in the rain with.
Thelma: “Louise, no matter what happens, I’m glad I came with you.”