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This is where it all started to go bad, the other shoe dropped, and all of our worst fears materialized. The trip back was so horrible that it stands as a travel epic. There were sections of highway where we were literally at a stand still for an hour or more. There were small towns we thought we would never leave, with crowds of traffic unable to get onto the on ramps. Escaping the Interstate, we detoured through packed county roads surrounded by cornfields, packed city streets, and crowded business districts. There was no escape. At night there were torrential rainstorms, where we could barely see the road in front of us. We left around one in the afternoon, and made Chicago by rush hour around 7 AM. The Chicago rush hour actually seemed a relief after the drive up from Carbondale. Never have I been so happy to see Chicago traffic. I took few photos, and felt little enjoyment from the trip back. For the rest of my life, I will be immune to road rage, highway hypnosis, and traffic frustration - I survived the drive, from Eclipse 2017.
It took us an hour just to get out of the park, but worse was to come.

Unable to drive without a short rest, and finally out of the standstill traffic (though still in pretty heavy traffic) we pullout at the Green Creek rest area. It is packed with cars and people. There is no place to park, so we park in a non spot on the ramp, though even the ramps were full.
A remembrance garden graces the front entrance of the stop. It is a peaceful and relaxing place after hours of hectic and stressful driving. It is very late at night, and this stop, as well as all of the surrounding roads and the Interstate, are very busy.
Heading towards the entrance, we can already see crowds of people and lines for the restroom. I have never seen these stops this busy at so late an hour.
It is the wee hours of the morning, probably 2 or 3 AM, out in the countryside, and yet there are people and lines everywhere.
More people and more lines. In particular, the line to the ladies room is ridiculous.
My brother and his son in a pretty good mood. Eventually, you just reach a point where things get so bad they become laughable and silly. Then it becomes an adventure, with each additional mishap adding to the challenge.
Another rest stop, and our final one. This is the Prairie View stop, not too far from Chicago. We are now away from most of the eclipse traffic, and this stop, as well as the freeways, are at about normal usage. It is probably about 5 AM.
No lines here, but it is getting late. I am just south of Chicago, and it is around 5 AM. Soon the Chicago rush hour will start. Still, compared to what we have just been through, the Chicago rush hour will almost be trivial.
Bulletin boards, advertisements, tourist brochures, and snack machines - everything you could want in a rest stop. Oh yes, there are rest rooms too.
Some local announcements, trivia, and history. For the citizens of Chicago, this is usually the first rest stop they hit once out of the metro area. It is a nice welcome to the road trip world out of the city.
Local pride is a strange thing, and takes many forms. Illinois is proud to confess that it is the birth place of the corn dog. Though far from wholesome, the humble corn dog is a lot less disreputable than most of the politics and many of the other things to get their start here.
This was me after about sixteen straight hours of driving, and about forty hours of being awake. Not pretty, I know, but the world is full of ugly truths. Road trips and travel are an obsession with me, almost an addiction. Yet no addiction is without risk. This is what the road will do to you.