Solo OH trip report - long
Just a quick road trip report:
This weekend I had occasion to visit a friend who lives approximately 20 miles East of Cleveland, Ohio. I don't usually solo road trip, only because I enjoy my significant other's company so much, but she was gone to Maine, so I figured, what they hey!
I left Friday night after work, the car having already been packed. The plan was to travel along I-90 for several hours (until I was tired) and rest for a few hours. I was only able to find a couple of radio stations I was interested in, one DJed by a guy called Mad Dog who sounded more like a toothless octagenarian than any kind of party animal. I travelled until 3 am, and stopped at a highway rest area (Junius Ponds) where a lot of RVs and semis were parked. I bedded down in the back of the car. The temperature was a perfect-for-sleeping 62?F, and I had plenty of room for my 6' 3" frame. I'm glad I bought a wagon!
I woke up around 7 am and had my breakfast of Hostess cupcakes and Gatorade (yummy and nutritious ;0), brushed my teeth in the bathroom and was on my way by 8 o'clock. I arrived at my friends house around 12:30pm, the weather a perfect Summer day at 74?F.
We spend Saturday night and Sunday doing some exploring of Geauga county and just hung out. We went to a couple of local bars, where some of his friends were. They were surprised I had travelled ~530 miles just for two days, but hey, I love this stuff! Knowing I was from Massachusetts, they just had to here it - the alleged accent that ALL Mass residents are supposed to have- so I obliged, even though I usually don't normally say "quartah" for quarter, Western/Central Mass is out of the accent loop, really, but for kicks, whatever. I countered by calling Ohio the "Midwest", which drew some mixed responses. It it doesn't have high peaks and has miles of farms, it's at least Midwestern in character, if not actual geography.
Another friend of his came down on Sunday and we explored some of Cleveland Heights and the Coventry area. After that we had a miniature barbecue.
The way home was more of a road trip proper. I left about 5:45pm and headed East on US 322. About an hour into the trip, my route would be diverted by a fire at a high school or something, so I headed to US 6 and decided to follow some of the road Kerouac found so notable. A couple of times I came upon Amish carriages travelling in the oncoming lane. I had a short detour right before the state line onto OH 85 across the Pymatuning Reservoir and onto PA 285. The reservoir was quite nice, and the near-sunset sky added to the drama of sailboats and fishermen.
At Meadville I was able to rejoin US 6, and followed it up to Corry, where I hopped on PA 957. The change from Ohio's rolling hills to Pennsylvania's steeper ones was quite noticeable. The sun was setting, and I saw flashing yellow lights ahead. It turned out to be another Amish carriage. The sun finally set behind the hills and the road took on a different character. I had considered taking more of US 6 (and probably should have), but I figured I needed to get home to get some sleep before work at 1pm the next day.
The towns I passed through had very little life in them. I considered stopping in a local pub in one of the towns, but then I thought better of it because I knew I had a long drive ahead of me.
By the time I reached US 62 to head up to New York, it was dark. I decided I would see if the Southern Tier Expressway was any better than when I first visited it in 1996 (then "Future I-86"). This was the worst mistake I think I have ever made travelling. The road is a steaming pile of nastiness. An absolute wreck of a road. At one point (near Friendship, NY), it dumped me off onto a state road. After this point, I didn't see another vehicle coming or going for about 20 miles, and there were no lights. It was very eerie. I have NEVER been the only car on an Interstate for this long.
I imagine the drive would have been more tolerable had I been able to see the scenery, but it was pitch black by this time. The road wound back and forth and even cuts into PA for a very short section. I took a rest at 12:30 am West of Binghamton, and settled in for the final stretch home.
I-88 was a welcome respite from the horror that is I-86/NY 17, though the air was by now quite foggy. The ride up to Albany was quite uneventful, as was the ride on I-90. My mind had become fixated on getting home in a timely manner, though in the interest of full disclosure I didn't become some erratic speed-crazed freak. I kept the speed reasonable and prudent and remained aware of my condition throughout. I do remember watching how the crescent moon shifted in relation to the car.
Eventually I made it home at 4:30am, the first signs of light showing over the Eastern horizon, 599 miles and 10 3/4 hours after I had left my friend's house. I slept for about 5 1/2 hours, and though I was tired, I felt great the next day.
And I'd do it again in a second.
Very cool report. Megan is getting ready to do her own solo road trip and will also report on what she finds "out there."
I hope she has a good time!
The solo trip can be quite good to clear the head of any cobwebs.