Ponca Road Trip 2011: One Family's Journey to Washington, D.C. - Part 2
The Upton family -- Talia, Harley T, Zonte and Kokoa -- during a pitstop on their road trip to the museum. Harley Upton (not pictured) is chronicling his family's journey to D.C. for this weekend's Ponca Festival. (Photo by Harley Upton).
Harley Upton, a member of the Ponca tribe, is driving across the country with his wife and three sons to be a part of this weekend's Ponca Festival. The Upton family has graciously agreed to chronicle their road trip and what it means to them to be making this journey. After yesterday afternoon's post from Omaha, Harley writes to us from Illinois:
We pass through to the state of Illinois over the Mississippi river at 3:30 p.m. The boys saw the sign and mentioned that they had learned about the Mississippi river in history. So my boy Kakoa gave me a history lesson. LOL! He is such a intelligent kid. I love him! We can see the autumn taking its full affect alongside the road. It is a beautiful site to see.
Now we have stopped in in Morris, IL for a pitstop. My eyes are starting to get tired so I am grabbing some coffee and a bite to eat. My wife had prepared some fried chicken and ribs the night before, so we are going to feast in the car. I just wish I had some fry bread! We are about 60 miles from CHI-Town….
About 6:30 p.m. we drove on I-80 through Chi-Town ... This is when I thought I was on a race track, the driving is so different here. I had to be a bit more aggressive with my driving, or would get bumped off the interstate. By this time the family was busy watching a movie. The sun was slowly setting to the west. My eyes began to adjust to the night.
Around 8:30 p.m., we drove through South Bend, Indiana. I start to hear chanting from the back of the SUV, "RUDY!"……"RUDY!" I began to laugh, I was like what? Then it dawn on me: the movie "Rudy." I thought that was so cool that my boys remembered Notre Dame.
It was around 10:30 when we entered the state of Ohio. At this time the family begin to fall asleep, the little one Kakoa was still watching his movies, resting his head on a pillow against the window. I sipped on some coffee, then I saw a sign saying Cleveland 110 miles, we were getting to closer.
At 12:30 a.m. we entered Cleveland from the west, this was the furthest I've gone in my life. I wondered what my forefathers before me thought once they got deeper east, more and more away from home. I sang a prayer song to myself as the family was sleeping, I was hitting the side of the steering wheel, as if it was a hand drum. Many songs come to mind when I am driving -- old powwow songs, ceremony songs, flag songs and many more. Then I looked up at my GPS. It said that I was 400 miles away from D.C. I had driven 750 miles, I thank the Creator for keeping my travel safe.