Day 4/Part 1 – I Shoulda Stood In Bed
Cordelia’s Mom was a joy to visit. We would do it again in a heartbeat; in fact we may do so, next year, on a weekend, so that we could also meet Cordelia, her Dad, and her sister. Buffalo is only a two-hour drive, as opposed to four, for Detroit. But the primary goal of this trip was always to meet John Erickson, especially after his recent, uncharacteristic, internet silence.
Online maps said that it was an hour and a half, from our motel to John’s place. Add slowdown because of road construction, and the possibility (Certainty!) of getting lost, and it might take three hours. Allow time for meet and greet, and another four-hour drive to Detroit – it was going to be a lonnng day, so we were up and ready to leave early.
I lamented to the checkout clerk that there was no way to get around the potential traffic jam. “Oh sure there is. Just go to the edge of town and turn north on Ohio 23. It’ll take you right to Newcomerstown.” Sure enough, the flat print map showed a gently curving line, sweeping at a tangent, right to where we wanted to go.
The Map is not the Territory. I’d have done better, both on the car, and on the wife, to have chanced the backup on the Interstate. Any resemblance between Ohio 23, and an actual highway, was purely coincidental. The optimistic hour and a half stretched to well over two hours. Not once in that time did I drive the car faster than 40 MPH.
The Golden Dragon roller-coaster at Six Flags might have had more twists, and stomach-turning, heart-stopping plunges. The only thing that narrow little road didn’t have, was a loop-the-loop, and I’m not entirely certain of that. The poor wife was shaken and rattled in every arthritic joint. She ached!
Miss GPS was having another snit because I insisted on taking the back road. She wouldn’t even RECALCULATE, and kept insisting that I return to the Interstate, so we turned her off. As we slid under I-77, and neared John’s house, I turned her back on again.
“Turn right on Highway 21, and immediately left on County road 49.” Well, that might take us in the back way, but I know that John lives just off Highway 93, so I proceeded further west. Sure enough, in 3 more kilometers, she said, “Turn right on 93, and proceed 7.2 km.” There, she ordered me to, “Turn left on Highway 2.” It was a gravel road, barely wide enough for an Amish wagon, so I proceeded further north – till the paved highway ran out, and I turned onto the far end of “Highway 2.”
If I thought I was lost yesterday, the Hell was just beginning. Already off ‘the paved road’, we soon left gravel again for a dirt road, and finally, in the middle of a ten or twelve mile loop, drove across an acre of grass field, with two ruts in it. If the Amish drive their buggies this way, they have to use mares or geldings, because a stallion would high-center. All I could hear was my new $400 muffler going clang, clang, clang.
We finally reached paved road again, the correct paved road, as it happens. I turned north, and soon reached a church and a cheese factory which I knew were north of John. Turn around and head south again, soon we finally reached John’s little cluster of houses.
After three hours without a rest stop, both of us had to go – badly. There’s no There, there. I pulled in, and asked the lady who runs the two-pump gas station/convenience store/bait, tackle, and hunting shop, about a public washroom. She just looked at me strangely, until the bearded stunt co-ordinator for Duck Dynasty explained to her that, “Some peoples is got they privies inside t’ buildin’s.”
With the possible exception of BrainRants, I swear never to turn off the paved road again. These folks are so off the beaten track, that Friday the thirteenth doesn’t occur until Sunday. A lot of them are happy when they reach 21 – because not just everyone’s IQ goes that high out there. When John and his wife moved in, the average rose considerably, but the same could be said about a load of pumpkins.
After the pit stop, we met John and his wife at their impressive country mansion, and were warmly welcomed, but that, again, is a story for another day. We left John’s place and turned south on 93. It did not, at all, resemble the road we’d driven north on. It did resemble the Highway 93 I’d used Google Street-View to research.
When we popped back out onto the east/west feeder highway, I turned back east and, only a couple of miles up the road, I found County Road 93. This was the one that Evil Ethel Snitfit had led me astray on. Way to go, Ohio, put two roads, both numbered 93, right beside each other. No wonder Rants badmouths Nohio. 😦