Monday, July 31, 2006

Death by a thousand cuts

Or as my wife put it, 'they're going to nickel and dime us to death'.

It was day two and time to head for Cleveland Ohio. We'd already budgeted something like seven hours to drive there, assuming side trips. We hadn't budgeted the extra hour just to get back to the supposed starting point! An interesting drive nonetheless. I quite enjoyed the feeling of driving through the Chicago morning peak[^] and actually coping with it. Even the roadworks were fine. Indeed, they made it easier. If navigating a strange city slower traffic is better; it gives you time to read the signs ahead and decide which lane you need to be in.

Given that we knew we needed to be on I80/I90 East it was just follow the signs and incur the occasional wrath of a local who we inadvertantly cut off. Somewhere in Southern Chicago we saw a sign pointing to a 'skyway' which would eventually bring us to the I80. Little did we know this was the start of an interminable series of tollways.

Yeah, each individual tollway might only be a couple of bucks but there are so many of them through Indiana and into Ohio!

Along the way I was edified to drive an elevated section of the highway, just outside of Gary Indiana. On either side we could see the sewage treatment tanks! Strangely enough, that wasn't the only sewage treatment plant the interstate passes through; I wish I could remember where the second one was.

I'm not sure I should count Indiana as a state I've visited. To be sure we stopped more than once for pee breaks and Starbucks (the two might be related) but if the only parts of Indiana we saw were the travel plazas and the highway itself I have my doubts. But I'll let it count for now. Andrew, he of the little travel, is adamant it counts!

It was almost a disappointment to drive around the edge of Toledo. I was half expecting to see Max Klinger lounging around! Ok, so I'm joking but even when I was a kid I'd heard of Toledo Ohio; all the scales at the butchers, the green grocers and the fish shops seemed to be Toledo branded!

Late that afternoon we arrived in Cleveland just in time to cope with peak hour. Fortunately they don't seem to have much of a peak hour; that or we were heading in toward the city centre while everyone else was heading out.

We parked the car in the hotel car park and headed out to wander the streets in the city centre. I quite enjoyed it. If there's one thing I miss in Phoenix it's a real downtown. We don't have one! Given that I'm an unrepentant city boy you can see what a loss that is.

On the other hand, it was quite the pleasure to be wandering the streets during a downpour! Sonya and Andrew both acted like it was the end of the world and spent what seemed like hours complaining, at the chophouse we ended up in, at such minor inconviences as trickles of water running down their backs! At least it was warm water! I'd like to see them cope with a Melbourne downpour in the middle of winter!

An unmemorable dinner consumed we wandered back the hotel, only to be caught in the rain again. Frantic scurrying for shelter whilst I, made of sterner stuff, :-) walked along at my comfortable pace.

No comments: