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"Central America" - Mid-West and Great Lakes States


Day 10:  Monday, October 14, 2002

Starting Location:  Sturgis, Michigan Stopping Location:  Sharonville, Ohio
Weather There:  Clear and frosty, 24F Weather Here:  Partly cloudy, 58F
Starting Time:  6:52 am Eastern Time Stopping Time:  4:21 pm Eastern Time
Starting Mileage:  269,773 miles Stopping Mileage:  270,291 miles
Total Miles Today:  518 miles   Missed Capitals:  1 - Columbus, Ohio
Total Travel Time:  8 hours, 4 minutes Cute Pop Cans:  The 8 oz. Coke cans

The day began with the thawing of the car.  The overnight low was 23F according to the thermometer we've got tucked away outside the car, but at 24.4F at 6:40am, it wasn't much of an improvement.  We tried checking out, but there was no clerk to be found, so after 10 minutes, we left the key, a note, and hit the road.  Enough is enough, already, and if you've rung the bell that many times without success, there's an issue, I'd say.  I didn't care much what the issue was, though.

We headed out Highway 20 toward Toledo, in a toll road-avoiding manner, and crossed into Ohio about 7:42am.  Perhaps five minutes later, we passed by a church just sitting alongside the road... but the image of it with the morning lights in the background compelled me to make the boy stop (well, compromised on slowing down) to take the picture.

About 8:15am, we hit Fayette, Ohio, and had a look see around the place.  There was the standard water tower, but we threw in a fire house and a church for good measure (particularly as we didn't see any yesterday to photograph, largely for a lack of determined looking, though).  Of course, the whole town was maybe six blocks long, four wide, so about the only thing we didn't grab was the houses... don't even recall seeing a gas station, come to think of it.

Call it 9am.  Toledo.  Boring.  Got back on the interstate.  The map didn't list any magical out-of-the-way places we forgot existed in Toledo.  And several hours later, we've yet to say, "Holy... that place - we missed something!"

We jumped off the highway briefly for a look-see of Lake Erie, although didn't realize it was a privately held lake... must have missed the national press releases, I guess.  So, we trespassed (if you subscribe to a person being able to own a large lake) and took a picture of me looking west, and east.  And figured at least the kids weren't going to go run and tell their mom they heard someone out front, trespassing.

Maybe 11:30am or so marked Cleveland on our journey as the place to be (at 11:30am, anyway).  (Yes, you get a skyline and not a sign... it's that big city syndrome, they don't do many signs beyond the interstate, and those are hard to pose with.)  Cleveland allowed us to see the Cleveland Browns stadium (apparently some sort of sports team), and looked at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.  My lethargy wasn't keen on standing up, and I'm tone deaf, so we settled on that one picture out front and of the sign, although the window washer guys on the slanted windows were kinda cool, too.  We also got a picture of a catholic church, whose name escapes me.  Saint-something, I'd wager.

Right around 12 noon, we drove through Akron.  Sure, we could have stopped, but nothing looked interesting to me worthy of stopping, and the boy seemed perfectly happy inching closer to whatever final destination we have for the moment.  Creepy fellow, he is.  We did stop outside of Akron for food and gas, though, both seemed necessary.  He didn't eat much, which worked out well enough for me, as I like McDonalds fries.

We stopped in Columbus, largely to see how disappointed I could be with a single city.  While we found many buildings, the ones that were relative to where the map said the state capital building was located was no where to be found.  But, just think -- you get to see City Hall, the Ohio Department of State, and a Columbus Police Department building.  And my favorite bank of the day is the Fifth Third Bank.  We've run out of names and are resorting to fractions?  And who wants 1.667 of a bank, anyway?  Having one is usually enough to ensure you're being squeeze by fees and bank charges, in my estimation.

The search for the Simpson's Springfield continued here in Ohio.  We set foot in Springfield during the 3pm hour, and found that while there is no route 401 here, we were traveling on state route 40, which is a start.  There is no neighboring Shelbyville, though, and the police cars are a different color.  No nuclear power plant, either.  But they do have a place to purchase flooring, a newspaper house, and who could forget the water tower?

About 45 minutes later, we rolled into Sharonville, Ohio, the designated lodging for the night.  Why?  Why not.  It's outside of Cincinnati, although in having glanced at the map, short of shopping malls, nothing grabs me of interest to go see.  As for the boy, nothing has proven to be of great interest these last few days.  Sort of like traveling with the walking dead, a zombie if you will, although I understand zombies prefer to be called "living impaired."  Whatever, zombie.

And, as I sit here writing this up, it seems that the rate of the room is based on human occupancy.  Of course, I've long since known that ducks are free, but it seems the little half-inch insects are also able to stay without charge.  I don't know enough to call them cockroaches or something else, but if you're in the neighborhood and looking for a place to stay, I'd suggest something other than room 134 at the Motel 6 on East Kemper, Sharonville, Ohio.  Just a suggestion, of course; you're free to do as you wish or as your travel plans dictate.

So, we venture out just to see what the world holds in this neck of the woods -- beyond shopping malls.  I'm sure its coincidence, but it was a short trip.  We skipped the malls altogether, and instead started with the usual Wal-Mart, where we stumbled across some adorable 8-ounce cans of Coke (I don't like Coke, but they're cute cans.)  We head over and top off the gas tank, and the boy muttered something obscene.  Curious, but he says nothing else.  Then, we're back at Wal-Mart, and he's inquiring about an oil change.  Odd, I thought, as there's one scheduled for tomorrow.  It seems he's having thoughts of calling the balance of the tour suspended and returning home, so I'm cutting this short to see if I can't figure out what's gone broken in his noggin. 

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