Sunday, September 1, 2013

It's a Big Country.................Heading West, Day 1

The final timer was set at  2 AM.  It might look like a light show at our house while we're gone. I've got them turning on and turning off in every room of the house, all night long!  The last time we returned from a trip, we liked how we didn't have to turn anything on, and not having to flip those switches, so we just left the timers on. They've been doing their thing ever since.  Now, we have more...............I just keep buying more timers.

We almost had a plan for this road trip, but as with the best laid plans that "gang oft go astray," ours have done just that.

The "plan" was to see the West Coast, visit my college roommates in California and Oregon, and see a high school friend in Washington state.  The fires and smoke have had their way with California, but Oregon might still be a possibility.  So might Canada.  So might Alaska. (Hawaii almost made the list.) We've covered all the bases, and have brought along an entire library of AAA Tour Books.

We told everyone goodbye, locked up the doors and windows, notified the neighbors that if anybody even sneezes towards our house, they are to call the police, got the car repaired and tuned, packed three bags of books and magazines, got the library to agree to let us keep a stack of audio books for five weeks..............(which took a bit of doing.......and involved two library branches.) Once we know we have enough reading material, who cares what we're wearing?

But we DO have a big bag of shoes and enough underwear and tee shirts to outfit an entire classroom of children if need be.................but they'd have to share the pants.  And not match, probably.

It was 10:30 by the time we tossed a bag of lettuce and carton of sour cream into our neighbor's hands, and after only two trips back inside to check the security lights and then to check the door lock, we were on our way.

TO WHERE?  We really had no idea where to go first, or second for that matter.  Knowing we ultimately "plan" to go north and west, we asked Thelma (our GPS unit) to take us that way............and instead of our "normal" route west across Ohio, we went out on Rt. 18, then north to Rt. 20, which turned out to be a nice ride. Farmland!

We're listening to J.K. Rowling's book,  A Casual Vacancy.  Thus far, we're really enjoying it, and have laughed aloud numerous times.  It seems like a good choice.

I won't further elaborate on Day One, since we basically drove. We did have a lovely picnic lunch in a Veterans Park in Fremont, Ohio, next to an interesting fountain that looks as if it needs a Hobbit peeking out of it.  Strange looking thing, don't you think?     
In Sylvania, Ohio, we took a side tour to revisit a building that Randy remodeled in 1998.  It had been a health care supply store then. Today it appears to be a charter school, but it still has Randy's landscape façade and trees he planted!

Small Town America is what we enjoyed the most today: little towns with Ma and Pa restaurants, small grocery stores, and parks with a Civil War Soldier standing his ground.

Once into Indiana, we knew we were in the heart of Amish Country when we saw tell-tale signs of horse droppings to the right of the road.  Lots of horse droppings.  Sunday meeting must have ended, for buggies just kept on coming.  We were humored when we realized that some of those buggies had suitcases on top. The Amish are on vacation, too!  

My cousin, Hugh Warren, is in a retirement home in Granger, Indiana, and we managed to arrive there precisely as he was leaving the dining hall.  He was surprised to see us, and we enjoyed a lively visit with a member of The Greatest Generation.  We expressed to each other how precious our family ties are.  Hugh's mother, Angie Pierce Warren, was one of my father's four sisters. (See last summer's Huron, South Dakota entry for more about my Aunt Angie.)

Tonight we are in Mishawaka, Indiana, at a Comfort Inn, near South Bend.  We finished our picnic lunch for dinner tonight.............I over packed, apparently.

What I loved most about today was no pressure. I really didn't care where we were, as long as we were together on an adventure.  It helps to have no real agenda, no plans, no reservations.  Visiting Hugh, a picnic in a's been a great day!

Copyright: KP Gillenwater 2013