Every time we drive across the country we try to hit at least one new state high point along the way. Needless to say, some are more glorious than others... This time we were driving through Indiana on our way to Tucson, so we stopped to visit Hoosier Hill.
While this state high point left something to be desired, a more interesting and unrelated story did transpire over the next few days....
On January 3rd we were continuing our drive west toward Taum Sauk Mountain, when Karrie received a phone call from Saguaro National Park, where she was slated to start work the following week. Her to-be boss informed her that the newly elected President of the U.S.A. was about to put a hiring freeze in place, and Saguaro needed her fingerprints and paperwork immediately. Tomorrow at the very latest. If the paperwork wasn't submitted before the freeze went into effect Karrie would be jobless and all of our winter plans would fly out the window.
To further complicate the problem, Saguaro had sent the paperwork to Pennsylvania and it had arrived after we'd already left. After much confusion and discussion a solution finally presented itself. We could stop at some other National Park Service site and they could process the fingerprints and paperwork there.
We pulled off the highway in St. Louis and began calling every NPS site in the area to see if they could help us with our predicament. The St. Louis Arch seemed like an obvious choice, but everyone we talked to there was clueless. We tried more obscure sites and fanned out further and further west searching for help. Some places had the paperwork but no one on staff who was authorized to take fingerprints, other sites had staff that could do fingerprints, but they were out of the official fingerprinting cards. Karrie's future boss called back and said he found someone who could help us in Guadalupe Peak National Park, but at over 16 hours away we doubted we could make it before close of business on the 4th.
Finally, we connected with someone at Chickasaw National Recreation Area. They had everything we needed there and were willing to help us. It was over 8 hours away, and would divert us from our original plans, but we could make it work! We drove a few more hours that night and then woke up early the next morning and quickly boogied down to Oklahoma. (As we hurried along I couldn't help but wonder if anyone other than us has ever been in such a rush to get to Sulphur, OK.) We made it with a few hours to spare, and the staff there were incredibly kind and helpful.
We celebrated, and then realized that we were now totally off of our planned route and itinerary. We considered our options, and decided to keep driving toward Tucson since we still had daylight. I checked in on a friend who was also driving across the country to see where he was and learned that he was driving through Dallas! We decided to meet up in a random small town in north Texas and split an Airbnb for the night. We had a great evening catching up and sharing tales from our road trips thus far.
So, I guess when life gives you lemons keep driving, and meet up with friends in a nowhere town that none of you have ever been to.