Sepia Saturday – Count the Exits

Sepia Saturday provides bloggers with an opportunity to share their history through the medium of photographs. Historical photographs of any age or kind become the launchpad for explorations of family history, local history and social history in fact or fiction, poetry or prose, words or further images. If you want to play along, sign up to the link, try to visit as many of the other participants as possible, and have fun.

The transportation prompts have me thinking about some childhood travels.

One summer, when I visited my Dad(Jerry), he planned for us to take a trip to Chicago. This would have been the early to mid 1960s. Curious about what route we might have taken, I asked a cousin who lives in Chicago.

The time period you are talking about is right during the time that both I88 and I80 were being built. I80 was built between 1957 and 1968. The first part of I88 was opened in 1958. It was first called US30-Toll, then it was called the East-West Tollway. Both go essentially from the quad cities to Chicago. If you were going to the north side of Chicago, I88 might be the better candidate, but it goes through more cities on the way. I80 goes closer to the heart of the city

Google maps confirms her suggestions, mapping a five hour drive from Hedrick, Iowa either on I-80 or I-88.

In my previous two posts about traveling with my dad(Jerry), I made note of two things:
he entertained me on long drives by coming up with his own spin on travel games
sometimes traveling with my dad made a lasting impression – but probably not the impression intended. I often don’t remember a lot of details, but there are memories.

And so it is with this trip as well.

We drove along for a few hours with nothing out of the ordinary happening. Then we must have driven around a barricade, although I don’t have a specific memory of that. What happened next, was my dad telling me to count exits.

We were the only vehicle on this road. There was no greenery along the side of the road – just brown dirt. There were exits, but no signage that named the exit. I don’t know how long it took me to realize that we were on a part of highway that was not yet open, so it really was important to count the exits in case we needed to turn around and find our way back to where we entered. I was a little nervous and took my job seriously. I’m not sure if Dad knew exactly how far we could travel this newly constructed section of highway. It must have looked a bit like the photo below, but without anyone else in sight.

As we approached the “completed” section of highway, we could see a car parked in front of barriers. We were greeted by a highway patrol officer who had been awaiting our arrival. Besides a scolding and instructions to get back on an open highway to continue our drive to Chicago, I’ll bet there was a hefty fine.

I wish I could remember more about our trip to Chicago. I’m sure we visited the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry, but I don’t remember what we saw there.

I looked through some old images to see if anything triggered a memory. Unfortunately, no. I’ll share a few anyway. Several fit with our recent transportation theme for Sepia Saturday.

Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois, souvenir booklet. circa 1967
Wikimedia Commons
Large model train layout on the main floor of the Museum of Science and Industry, circa July 1962. Edmund Kirsten, a maintenance man, kneels in the middle of the scene to make adjustment to one of the rail cars. (Chicago Tribune historical photo)
The captured German submarine U-505 is an exhibit outside the Museum of Science and Industry in Jackson Park on May 6, 1964. (Chicago Tribune historical photo)
Ready to take flight 25 feet up in the calm air of the museum, the fragile craft stretches its wings beneath a U.S. Air Force F104 Starfighter on March 4, 1980, at the Museum of Science and Industry. (Carl Hugare / Chicago Tribune)
People look over an Astronaut Space Suit exhibit at The Museum of Science and Industry in 1961. (Arnold Tolchin, Chicago Tribune)
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois, souvenir booklet., circa 1967
Wikimedia Commons
Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago, Illinois, souvenir booklet. circa 1967
Wikimedia Commons

My grandmother collected souvenir plates and tea cups. I always liked to bring one home to her when we traveled. Maybe I picked up one similar to this one.

Needless to say, we returned home by a different route.

This is my very late (again!) contribution to Sepia Saturday. Ride along with other participants by clicking here: Sepia Saturday.

4 thoughts on “Sepia Saturday – Count the Exits

  1. I too have just one memory of the Science Museum in Chicago…some kind of ride into a coal mine reconstruction. Fortunately it wasn’t dusty. We visited from FL in mid-70s. Loved these old photos from the 60s! The route you all took sounded interesting, and brave.

  2. I laughed at you and your dad mistakenly driving along an unfinished interstate. I don’t think that ever happens too often in the present day. All I remember of long trips in the Midwest was the seemingly endless corn fields and lines of telephone poles. Last year on the start of a long roadtrip my wife gave me faulty instructions and after two hours I realized we were going in the wrong direction. Even with GPS you still need to count the exits.

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