Today, Rach and I drove from Beaver Falls to Chicago with Norah in the back seat. I'm pretty sure it was the best drive I've ever had. Even when I count up all those fabulous road trips I took in college, this was just something different. We listened to Sufjan Steven's Christmas Album, or just had the radio off, and drove the four hundred miles from Beaver Falls to Chicago. We decided to leave early, and take farm roads in order to skip long lines at the tolls on the state borders. We didn't leave as early as we wanted, so we missed alpenglow (when the sun just barely comes over the horizon), but when we got on the farm roads in PA it was magic hour, and the sunlight was digging into the clods of dirt and broken corn stalks. I only had to say "How pretty!" to Norah a few times before she started in on her own. For about twenty minutes, every little bump we crested Norah would say "So pretty!" (Or "Careful!") It was awesome.
When we got onto the turnpike in Ohio, I zonked out for a while and woke up somewhere on the other side of Toledo. We took a pit stop, and I took over driving for a while. When we got close to the Ohio border I decided to take the farm roads again, and man am I glad I did. It was just so nice to drive down those side roads watching the cows graze in the rain next to shattered remains of soggy brown barns. When we got back onto the highway in Indiana, Rach fell asleep and Norah just sat in her chair in the back singing quietly to herself and I kept the radio off. The rain kicked up a notch and Norah started laughing when the trucks passed.
Then, she shouted "Josh!"
and I responded: "Norah... I'm daddy."
"No Norah, Daddy."
"JOSH! JOSH! JOSH!"
That woke Rachel up, and she said "Norah, all done. No! Stop picking!"
Then Norah giggled, and Rach squeezed a dollop of lotion onto Norah's finger.
The rest of the drive consisted of increasing Chicago traffic and a breif screaming interlude. But even with the fifteen minutes of screaming baby, it still goes down as one of my favorite road trips of all time. I'm still not sure what it was about the drive, but it was a really fun day for me.