Steno notebook? Check. AP Style Book? Check. Professional grown-up clothes? Check.
Flashback to 8 am last Monday morning and I was psyched for my fourth year working in the National FFA Convention Newsroom in Indianapolis. The National FFA Organization is an agricultural education organization for middle and high school students. I was a member of the Bangor FFA Chapter in high school and going back to national convention is such a refreshing break…
The fun staff I get to work with. The enthusiastic members I get to interview. The 6 hour trip I get to drive.
Well, not so thrilled about the drive. But with some good jams and hot chocolate, I can do anything.
The drive from Madison to Chicago was relatively uneventful. In 3 hours flat, I made it to the doorstep of fellow newsroom crew member Dustin Petty. After we tossed his luggage into my car and walked around the block once, we were on our way.
Instead of taking the direct route on I-65, we decided beforehand that we would be young and adventurous. We’d take 57 and stop in Kankakee (Kanka-what?) to see an Abe Lincoln statue, then go east to Lafayette and stop at the Crescent Moon Cheesecake Co (I found this restaurant on Urban Spoon beforehand). Planning ahead is good, right?
We got lost in K-Town (we stopped trying to pronounce Kankakee after the 7th wrong turn), so we stopped at a gas station to ask where we could find Abe. The woman behind the counter gave me the “You are such a tourist” look proceeded by the “I have no idea what you’re talking about” look.
Girl please. I’m pretty sure there are only so many giant Abe Lincoln statues around here.
But that’s okay. We’ll keep looking. We backtracked on 57 until I whipped my arm out and shouted “Abe Lincoln!”
Worth it? Meh.
But boy were we looking forward to that cheesecake restaurant. Eminem, Backstreet Boys, and TV theme songs kept us entertained as we drove to Lafayette through the backroads of rural America. Time-consuming, yes, but it was a reminder of why we love FFA: we believe in the future of agriculture.
When we got there, we drove around looking for the cheesecake joint. The address led us to a parking lot. We called the phone number. Disconnected. Of course. After 40 minutes of aimless searching, we made the executive decision that the place was nonexistant and somebody made it up just to vex cheesecake aficionados like ourselves. We grumpily settled for frozen custard.
We arrived in Indy 6 hours after we left Chicago (that’s 9 hours after I left Madison). It’s supposed to take 6 hours total.
That’s my national FFA convention travel story. Now I want to hear yours! Leave a comment or tweet me and tell me a funny travel story, where you stopped along the way, or any other national convention-related travel mishaps!
And stay tuned for more national FFA convention posts!