Do I have to Pay for All of Those Potholes?


On our trek to the West this past summer, we briefly traveled through the state of Illinois. My hat is off to all Illinoisans (I hope that is how we call you)! Your patience must be outstanding! It should have taken us less than two hours to cross your state, but instead, it took us more than four!

It all started like this. We were happily rolling down Highway 94, minding our own business, when we were suddenly brought to an abrupt halt. When we finally started to move, it was at a snail's pace. It seemed we had found a traffic jam. After half an hour of driving at less than 10 miles an hour, we consulted with our Roadmate for a way out of this mess. We exited on Kennedy Avenue, and many red lights and a major storm later, we finally reached I- 90. We were happy to see that we were able to drive at the indicated speed limit here. In fact, there were hardly any cars on the road at all! We were just wondering why when we hit our first tollgate.

"You have three axles," noticed the toll collector rather matter-of-factly.

My wife nodded her head towards our tent trailer. "Is that what you call that thing that keeps following us?" She joked.

The toll price was almost triple than that of a regular car. I almost fell off my seat from the shock. "At least that's over!" I said, trying to be positive. "We shouldn't have to pay toll again until we are outside of Chicago!"

I was wrong. I'm used to it! Again the fare was hardly fair for a three-axle vehicle.

Then, suddenly, we struck gold. We were joined by the rest of the traffic from I-94, and once again we found ourselves crawling at indecently slow speeds, trying to avoid hitting the cars that kept cutting in on us, trying to avoid the driving rain, and finally, trying to avoid - potholes!

Oh, the potholes! They were enough to put the potholes in Newfoundland to shame! In fact, it looked like Chicago's highways had been bombed! It seemed that the city was trying to calm the people about the bombing, however, by putting up "road construction" signs everywhere!

It was four hours before we finally exited the I-90, turning north on the I-39 towards Janesville, Wisconsin. By that time we had gone through seven different tollbooths, some of which made us pay tolls as high as $5.50. And to make it worse, the road the entire way continued to be far from ideal, due to the many unrepaired "bomb craters".

"Do we have to pay for all of your potholes?" We wondered.

The tollbooth tax collectors were unimpressed.

"Could we at least have a discount?"

Still not impressed.

We were almost out of gas as well, but when we noticed the war-zoned gas prices ($.30 higher than any other state we went through!) We decided to take our chances in Wisconsin. Finally a wise decision!

In the end, we decided to bypass Illinois as much as possible on our way back home. Iowa, here we come! If you have any potholes, please repair them within 4 weeks.

Life isn't always easy. We are constantly assaulted with unsuspected ill-tasting surprises. Often those are very costly, both money-wise and otherwise. One wonders how one can survive in such a war-like environment. The answer is our attitude. We can go on declaring that life stinks, complaining all of the time, or we can be thankful in all things we do have, thus allowing ourselves to experience God's inner peace in our heart. Remember Phil 4:6-7: "Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.' NIV

How will you be remembered? Join me with the apostle Paul and let us Col 3:15 "be thankful." In all things.

Watch out! More potholes ahead!

Rob Chaffart

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