Somewhere south of 95th St. on the Tri-State, we entered purgatory. Mile after mile of stop and go traffic for no apparent reason. (There was a construction zone on the Tri-State. Normally, the traffic gets better after you leave the construction zone. This traffic got worse.)
We got off at 159th St. (U.S. 6) to try to go via overland routes. This was also completely bollixed and included freight trains. We got back on I-94 and rejoined the mess, now on I-80, and found the signs announcing the construction about 2.5 miles into Indiana. We got past that and traffic opened up.
Normally, it takes us an hour to get from Des Plaines to Merrillville. This trip, it took us more than twice that. I took over driving from Gretchen and moved at the (high) speed of traffic down toward Rensselaer where Barry had been waiting since 2:00 PM. After getting off at the wrong exit, we finally got there around 4:00. *gleep*
Fortunately, Barry is a patient sort and had been working out a medley while waiting. I look forward to hearing it. We transferred the gear and headed back north with him to the first exit we'd gotten off at which had actual food, as opposed to the exit he was waiting at which had a Shell station and nothing else.
It was a good chat and a good dinner. We sent Barry back to Sally and headed back north, picking a better set of surface streets to dodge the (assumed) mess going back the other way and made the trip in about 2.5 hours.
Meanwhile, Barry tells us that he'll be at OVFF this year. Yay! (Sally has a conflict. Boo!)